Monday, 31 March 2008

Handmade stuff versus department sales

I have taken this email from our teams email chats as this email concentrates on quite a few challenges handmade products face.

"I have designed and made clothing. The biggest problem I have run into is people think that custom designed clothing should be less than retail. As an example, I priced a suit at $150, the client felt that was too much because the customer could get it at department store cheaper on sale. I tried to explain that the suit would be of better fabric, fit and quality. At the time fabric was a lot cheaper than now. Let alone the labor of my time. The price she wanted was $75 for a silk suit. At that I would have made less than $1 an hour. The silk at the time was $12 per yard for narrow goods. The customer was not interested.
On esty's Alchemy there was a custom order for Towel cover ups, they wanted two at $10 a piece. They had specific colors they wanted. I figured to get the towels, of which you need two for each garment and the ribbon for shoulder ties would be between $20 and $22 a piece. The cost of materials was way over what they wanted to pay.

I have tried to figure a way to design clothing but cost is always an issue. The only exception is Wedding gowns. If we can find away I would love to do a collection."

(the original email and grammar were edited)

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Identifying target markets

Target markets
All of us either buy or sell, or do both most of the time. To be a successful seller is an art and science at the same time. When creating and targeting the right market artists / sellers have a lot to think of. Here is a short list of the things to check. Have a read through and think what target market(s) your items belong to and if you do target the market right.

Age This group helps to determine people's buying habits by the life stage they are likely to be going through. Knowing the population numbers within the each age group helps to calculate the size of potential market.
Gender Whom are you creating the items for? Who will be buying them?
Demographics The study of population distribution can track socioeconomic groupings, ethnicity, income levels and use of the leisure time.
Lifestyle How people live and travel affects the items they require. For example, career women require business clothes, separates, classics.
Physical characteristics Size is related to genetic factors that may be dominant in various locations (for example, western population is getting taller and heavier).
Psichographics It is a study of fashion attitudes, whether people are fashion-active and early or late adopters of styles.
Social class People who are seen to belong to a specific level of society and to shop with their peers.
Social behaviour Broad changes in society (divorces, single-parent families, etc).
Values and attitudes Lifestyle indicators that help marketers determine how to fine-tune sales and advertising materials. Generally people's responses on dating, sex, travel, politics, green issues.
Economic circumstances Salary and disposable income. What do people spent money on. High earning middle class family will spent more on children's education then on fashionable clothes or art.
Religion Influences buying in various means. Modest of flamboyant clothing among certain communities, or create demand for expensive wedding outfits. In some neighbourhoods shops are not open on particular days of the week or festivals.

Article prepared by missbubbles according to Sue Jenkyn Jones' "Fashion Design"

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Trend forecasting

Trend forecasting companies employ more designers then fashion houses. Fashion houses and independent designers do not publicly admit using trends forecasters...

They summarise top designer fashion shows and street wear. This specific website lives on the subscription basis (prices start at over £500 per 3 months of full access to the website).

They give a broad overview of trend coverage on colors, materials, clothing, graphics and accessories. They provide inspirational visuals, material for the mood, color boards and images from the catwalk shows and streets.

The TRENDSTOP (click the title to visit their website) is just one example which caught my eye whilst I was browsing the web and there are a lot of them (share the information on this if you found something amazing!).

Many forecasting companies put together style books and specification of prevailing and emerging styles, with predictions, suggestions for the next season.

New trends, according to Sue Jenkyn Jones (the author of "Fashion Design"), are supposed to arise from three main sources: high culture (fine art, classical music, theatre and so on), pop culture (TV, celebrities, music, movies) and low culture (activities pursued locally by special-interest groups, for example skateboarding).

The online Vogue home

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


On 17 March I collected a nice bunch of enthusiasts to join the team which is amazing!
There are so many productive ETSY, there are so much people, looking for what they do best. In a short while I am going to add all of them to our member list and get some fun activities going. I am a newbie still and it all the ideas are still developing.
I would love the team to take a lead and be active and influential example. At the moment I am thinking of SKYPE conversations somehow arranged with the team members, so we can really talk to each other and share the ideas, see what we can do and how we would like the team to get organised. Marketing is an important bit. I am planning to place a link list to all the team members’ shops with short descriptions.