Posts tagged “Business

Growing a Fashion Label…Learnings

Hello beautiful people!

It’s been a little while but I’m back!

So much has happened since my last post; finally got sample 1 of my collection completed! Huge Yeah!!!

It’s a dress – that’s all I’m saying at the moment :). I love it and I’ve had really good feedback from those who’ve seen it – so encouraging. Now we need to complete the collection and start some serious marketing and hopefully sales.

So you know this blog is about my journey from the idea to your wardrobe right? I’ll let you in on a couple of my learnings in the recent weeks.

Reality over dreams

Surfboard on beach

Creating the sample creation can be quite a tedious process and that’s just sourcing the fabric and trimmings. I learnt the hard way with sample 1, found a fabric I loved for the design but then realised there wasnt enough of it for the sample; a blessing in disguise as the fabric couldn’t be sourced quickly enough for spontaneous orders. So whilst I’d oomed and arrhed at this particular fabric, there was no point going ahead with it knowing “Department Store S” on Bond street could require 100 pieces with a 6 week turn round and half of that time spent would be just waiting for fabric to arrive; that was a no-no! So it was off to source a similar fabric, asked for 300 mtrs within a week – if the fabric store is confident enough to get you that quantity, then you’re on the right path to finding a fabric you can be confident to use. And that my dear friends is what I did to find the fabric that made the cut for our sample 1. It is possible that I probably would have known this as part of a 3 year fashion design course but as we’re learning on the go, I take this as part of my lot :). Lesson learnt, so we move on!

Keep your Business Plan dynamic

Close-up of rolled up Indian banknotes on a chessboard with chess pieces Horizontal

In all my learnings whether in Marketing or as part of my degree, one thing I always heard was that the business plan is a moving document. I had not realised how true that statement was; I can definitely attest to it now.

I have a friend who’s launching her own business also and we serve as accountability partners to each other – the business we’re running now have developed compared to the ideas we started with. With more research comes more understanding of the product and the environment our businesses will operate in and it therefore makes absolute sense to be fluid enough to ensure that the business plan adjusts accordingly otherwise, our projects might never see the light of day or even last no longer than a season – no one wants that.

So any fashion entrepreneurs out there with similar experiences to mine or something I havent even mentioned that we could benefit from? Please share.

I’m off now and will come back before the end of the week with some fashion related (as opposed to business focused) post.

Be good and have a fruitful week ahead!

Much love

T

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Setbacks and set forwards

Hello lovely people!

I hope you had a lovely weekend and now enjoying the week?

I sincerely apologise I wasnt able to update the blog end of last week as I previously said – things turned a little mad last week; totally unexpected!

Disappointments

I had hoped to have a couple of samples ready by last Friday but all of that went into thin air last Monday when it appeared I couldn’t work with one of my contractors any longer. It threw my plans into disarray and for a couple of days, stressed me out a lot.

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I work with timelines and I do not like it when those timelines change for ‘unforeseen’ reasons! I guess I’ve always been in ‘controlled environments’ where I was pretty much aware of most of the issues that could arise and therefore mentally prepared for them. Last week, I wasnt prepared for what happened, nonetheless I have learnt from it including the following:

  • When one door closes, remember another will always open
  • Everything happens for a reason, even the so called dissapointments. Just dont lose focus on your goal, you’ll look back and be thankful for most setbacks
  • In life, do good and you will attract goodness even if it doesn’t always seem like it – Good will always win
  • One person with a belief is equal to force of ninety-nine who have only interests (thanks to @Zedeye’s dad)
  • In my humble opinion, when God has blessed you with a gift and an idea and you put in the work, He’ll open doors to gold paved roads for you
  • If you havent tried something, dont close your mind to it and finally for today
  • Always have options B, C , D (unless in marriage of course!)

Fingers Crossed

So it’s a new week, I’m back to my old very happy self and guess what I have a new  team in place and keeping everything crossed with a lot of prayers that all goes well this week.

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Gotta get me some lunch now so I’ll catch you later!

Please leave a comment as I enjoy reading from you.

Mucha love

T


The Slow days…

Hello!

I trust you’re having a lovely week so far? My Monday was rather slow. You know those days you have to wait on people to get back to you before you move on to the next stage? Yes? Well one of those.

We are now very close to creating initial samples by my preferred manufacturer! Yeah!

They also have very good links with other suppliers e.g. Pattern Cutter, grader etc who are as professional yet competitively priced too. I’m a very happy girl today.

Before I get cracking with developing samples, one key thing I’ve had to pull together is a ‘confidential agreement’ which I know can make working relationships go from relaxed to very formal. They (my suppliers) probably have to get their legal team to check it too before signing it. I’ll be surprised if that’s not something they have to do regularly though-it just makes absolute business sense! My sketches are my intellectual property at the end of the day, so I must protect them.

So there we go, so close yet a little too far until we can clear the legal stages. Until then, I have to wait (impatiently if I may add) for my samples to be made!

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I’ll be here again in the next couple of days/end of the week with a progress update on the samples. Keeping everything crossed till then.

Have a beautiful day ahead!

T


Time to get our Ducks in a row…

Hello!!!

It feels like ages since I last updated the blog. I trust you’re well and week going good so far?

So what have I been up to? Last week felt like I was running against bricks and it wasnt very nice. I guess that’s business for you, infact, that’s life really. Nonetheless, I remained and continue to remain positive.

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Time seems to be running away!

Not sure if I’ve mentioned previously but we are looking to launch the label in Spring/Summer 2011 and that my friends is not far away at all. According to my industry veterans, I should have agreed orders by now and be working on deliveries to Stockists in time for Jan…If that’s the case, I was late even before the label was created :S.

It’s a little (very little) worrying but when did ‘customary’ ever put me off anything? Never! Every Drapers (trade magazine) edition I have read since my Subscription started in Summer has mentioned the increasing flexibility of buyers to purchase outside of the normal buying periods. However, I am fully aware that as we (Toni Bonoj) get bigger, volume of production will require that we work close with industry time tables to ensure we can meet order requests and ensure customer satisfaction which I am thoroughly passionate about.

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Headache Moment

So that said, where am I in the production cycle? Point zero; creating samples. Fun (NOT) of a new starter is searching for a production team to work with. It makes absolute sense that the team that creates the samples get the work for production also as you will have established a working relationship and ironed out any possible issues with production. Number one problem arises as not all clothing manufacturers work on samples because it’s often more work than they can charge for; many see it as loss leading activity. So even if a manufacturer’s price sounds good, without them creating samples initially, one has to take the risk and go ahead with production and keep fingers crossed. The other thing I have found is manufacturers are often unable to give an exact quote on production cost. I understand why this might be, but how does that help with my planning? So, as its difficult to pen costs down to an exact amount, best thing to do is to allow yourself a range to work with.

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Business Accounts – Snooze button

Today, I went about trying to set up a business account. No kidding, some women could have had babies in the time it took me to b e interviewed by a certain High Street bank and no, I still dont have a business account yet. It was a painful experience but as I try to learn from everything, here are my tips for anyone trying to set a business account up:

  • Your time is important, set a time limit for the meeting and let the Business account manager know this
  • Know what you want from the bank account
  • Dont be persuaded by any additional fancy products, you will find that many of these are available on the internet for free or at a lower price
  • Dont make any decision under duress, take away literature so you can read and make a decision later
  • I know it wasn’t their intention, but I felt they wore me out so I could just say yes to everything 🙂
  • Finally, do compare offers from different banks. You’ll be surprised at how many different offerings and propositions there are out there!

On that note, I’m signing out.

Have a fantastic week ahead!

T


What do you wear to work?

Hello beautiful people!

You may have picked up from my first post that I do have something for formal wear. With a full-time job, most people spend more time at work than at home so if I am going to splash a little on clothes, work wear comes on top for me.

I am a firm believer in dressing for the role you’re aiming for not for where you are – so I can’t see any reason why any woman’s formal wardrobe should be dowdy.

We all know clothes speaks volumes about us and in some circumstances it could affect our demeanour. If you’re wearing an outfit that accentuates the right parts of your figure, you feel confident and your walk speaks the same language. And if you feel good about yourself, then you’ll attract that from other people.

So am I alone in feeling this way? Would you put much effort into your work wear? Are there particular pieces that work for you more than other?

For me, I love my soft tops and fitted shirts with smart tailored trousers or skirts. I might have been in a cut throat environment but I am still a woman and want to be sexy 🙂

Peter Jensen Helena Frill Blouse
Peter Jensen Helena Frill blouse – this top is fantastic for all shapes – I love the detail

I  would love to hear from you, so tell me about your favourite pieces of clothing for work.

Cheers

T


Who is Toni Bonoj?

First things first, I cannot believe this is happening to me! The last few months have been nothing less than amazing, a rollercoaster ride and begging God daily – we cannot stop this ride now, please.

Lets get to a better introduction, my name is Tosin (toes-in), I am youngish years old, and a budding International fashion designer and label owner. I guess the fact I have a business makes me a business woman too? Nothing sounds sexier than that; Entrepreneur, nice.

I don’t have the same background as most fashion designers because I spent a long time using the left side of my brain doing non creative stuff like completing A’ levels in Physics, Maths and Computing Studies, followed by a degree in Information Engineering and Technology Management then 10 years working with blue chip companies gaining experience in IT, Management Information and Marketing as well as accumulating several certificates to help me perform my job better. So you see what I mean when I say ‘I’m not your usual fashion designer’? So how did I end up where I am today?

Well, earlier this year I lost my job in the city, I was very ill and for the first time since I was 17 years old, I had time to think of what I would really LOVE to do next. When you’ve had a job since you were legally allowed to, and suddenly lose your job (which I later found out was very central to me), there is an initial feeling of shock and despair (well there was for me), add denial too. I wanted to go find a new role immediately but I couldn’t. Whilst I got myself better, I had a light bulb moment of styling my own work wear, usually these thoughts come and disappear as soon as they arrive because my busy life wouldn’t have allowed it; I was always rushing from one thing to the other. In my previous job, commuting to London meant very long days, so having time to think outside of my job, role as a wife and Sunday school teacher was a luxury!

Back to my light bulb moment, well I had more time on my hands so I began to enquire about tailors I could work with to design my outfits. Soon enough I wondered to myself why I couldn’t make these clothes and sell them. I had a niche idea (which I will tell you more about later) and was certain there would be many people who would want to buy these outfits. That was it, I started drawing and loved my drawings even as amateurish as they looked. I prayed about it and trusted God to make things work alright.

I slept on the idea for a few more months but was lucky to speak to a fashion designer friend of a friend – that was fantastic! She suggested I attend a short course at one of London’s art colleges and contact my local college re: Sewing or garment construction. This was the best advice ever and if you’re like me, coming into the Fashion Industry with little knowledge of it and would like to pursue a fashion designing career, I would really advocate this route. Sewing courses can be really cheap or even free at your local college so unless you want to major as a seamstress, the most important knowledge worth paying for is how the industry works; releasing collections, understanding the customer, trend research, the fashion calendar and important people who make the industry tick just to mention a few.

If you are young or not in a hurry to run your business as I was, then go ahead and get a degree from a University; find one that is very respected worldwide and whose students have gone on to successful careers. In London, I can suggest London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins College of arts; they are both renowned colleges worldwide. Do your research, competition will be high for entry places – good luck!

So there we go, a little introduction about me. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment, it would be nice to know your thoughts, did you find any of the information useful? Or maybe you have questions, let me know.

I will be back in a few days, until then I will leave you with this thought:

You only have one life, live it to its fullest. It sounds corny but it is true. Follow your passion and when you do, you’ll never have to work again because everyday will be like enjoying your hobby!

Catch you later!

Much love

T

xxx