Sourcing-101 What to Do When You Find Fabric You Like

Happy first day of sourcing at Magic!  Seminars are underway! Booths full of hopeful designers looking to find that perfect fabric for the idea they have been mulling around in their heads for weeks.  

So many ideas.  
       
         So many sketches. 

                  So….many…..booths.

                                     So…….many…..options.

                                 
                                                    Where do I start?
 

Overwhelm taking over…..help!

Don’t worry I have your back!  Remember last week when we discussed splitting up our responsibilities?  I am still here.  I am still with you.  Let’s see what we can do together.

It’s time to take everything we have learned over the past few weeks and implement them.

If you are at the show great!  If you are going to LA next week wonderful (maybe we can meet up).  Or if you are still figuring it out, thats why we are here, to get you started.

I want to talk about what to do when you find something you like when sourcing.

  • When you find fabrics you like, pull the headers from the rack and set aside. Then you can narrow down once you’ve pulled everything you like.

Trick:  Once you receive a *HEADER, write all the info on the header that you’ll need to know prior to placing an order (ie: price, minimum yardage, etc)

*A piece of sample material sent to the designer.  Sometimes these can be small 1″ squares, other times on specialty fabrics or prints they may be the entire width of fabric to see the repeat or design.

Generally the fabric style # will be provided for reference, price per yard, foot, or meter, colors available, fabric content.
 
  • Sit with the sales rep and place your order.o
  • You can order swatches or headers depending on what they provide.
  • You will pay for shipping so will need to give them your shipping courier number.
  • Make sure to follow up with the companies a week after the show to ensure your swatches and/or order is being sent.

Always try to act like you know what you’re talking about.

  • You can also place orders for sample yardage at the time of the show…  Fabric companies love this!
  • If you find what you are looking for, find out their policy on sample yardage minimums. If there is a minimum or a limit keep that in mind when ordering.

 For example, a company may only sell up to 5 yards of a fabric for samples. If this is the case DO NOT USE this fabric until your samples are perfect and ready for cutting. Others may require a 20 yard minimum or 1 roll minimum. You will need to see if it is within your budget to commit to this type of yardage. Always remember you may be able to use the fabric in production at a later date.

  • They will need your company info, ship-to address, shipping account and credit card info, or they may require a wire transfer.
  • ­ Sampling/Lab Dips: What if you want a custom color or trim?

Remember when ordering fabrics from overseas (especially Europe) you will incur high shipping costs and customs charges. Generally it is very hard to determine this cost up front. It is best to over estimate and add 20% to your per yard price to account for these charges. You can ask if the order is FOB Shipping…definition of FOB below:

“FOB is an acronym for “Freight (or Free) On Board”, meaning that the seller pays for transportation of the goods. Specific terms of the agreement can vary widely, in particular which party (buyer or seller) pays for which shipment and loading costs, and/or where responsibility for the goods is transferred. The last distinction is important for determining liability or risk of loss for goods lost or damaged in transit from the seller to the buyer. International shipments typically use “FOB” as defined by the Incoterm standards, where it always stands for “Free On Board”. Domestic shipments within the US or Canada often use a different meaning, specific to North America, which is inconsistent with the Incoterm standards.”

If you are heading to Los Angeles for the LA Textile Show and want to set up a  One-On-One Strategy Session, click here. We can help connect you with the right vendors and make your trip as successful as possible. You will be taken to a link to purchase the session and we will follow up with you to set up a time.  

It is that easy!

Good Luck! 

Stay creative.

Read More →
Sourcing-101: QUESTIONS TO ASK AT A TEXTILE SHOW

Great job!  You have taken that first step and researched the upcoming shows to see which shows, if any, are right for your company.  If you are just starting out and really want to see what is out there I would recommend going to as many trade shows as you can.  As long as it is in your budget.  And as long as it is the right show for you.  The benefit is that you can network, attend seminars, and learn a whole heck of a lot.  Ready?

Shall we take our first business trip together?  

How exciting!  I’ll prep for the show while you book the hotel… deal?

I have prepped some questions so that we can get as much done as we can in the little time we have. Badges on, check.  Notepad and pen, check.  Large coffee in hand, check.  (I do love my coffee in the morning…or all day.)

Remember in our previous post we discussed Fake it till you make it?  Yep that’s right, you need to come off as if you know what you are talking about, even if you don’t.  We want the sales rep to take you SERIOUSLY.  Which means you need to understand industry language and know what you are asking for.

1. WHAT ARE YOUR MINIMUMS?

As a new company you will work with companies that have low minimums usually 20 – 100 yards.

2. ARE THESE FABRICS IN STOCK AND READILY AVAILABLE?

Try to avoid “Jobbers” as they do not produce fabric and usually cannot supply yardage if you get a large order or reorder.

3. DO YOU PROVIDE SAMPLE YARDAGE? WHAT AMOUNT?

You can usually order 5 – 20 yards to start your sample line.

4. ARE THESE FABRICS DOMESTIC, OR IMPORTED?

Domestic mills will have lower minimums, less issues in shipping and late delivery.

5. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SHIP THE ORDER?

Know your production deadlines. If you don’t know, ask the DCC for help.

6. ASK FOR SWATCHES OR HEADERS OF FABRICS YOU ARE INTERESTED IN.

These will be helpful for fabric storyboards and line development.

Tip: Remember to take business cards, take notes, and write down style numbers and color-ways you are interested in.

Tip:Always follow up on orders and sample requests. Fabric Mills are very busy after shows and need to be reminded about new customers.

Worried you won’t remember the questions to ask?

Don’t worry partner, I have you covered!

Click on the GIANT button below to download the script, What to Ask at a Textile Show.

Take this script with you!  Heck, print out 20 copies and write notes based on the vendors you meet.  Isn’t that easy.

Tip:  Bring a mini stapler and staple their business card or PO to the script so you have everything in one spot.

 

Remember, I am here for you.  If you would like to spend some time prepping for the show in a One-On-One Strategy Session, click here.  You will be taken to a link to purchase the session and we will follow up with you to set up a time.  It is that easy!

Next up:  Finding the best materials for your line.  

Read More →
SOURCING FABRIC-101: ATTENDING A FABRIC TRADE SHOW

Yes it is only the beginning of February and we are already juggling so many seasons we don’t know which way to look. We live in the PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE. Wait what season am I sourcing for? What season are we developing? (For your information we are sourcing for Spring Summer 2018 and developing Winter 2017. Oh and wrapping up production for Summer 2017!) Welcome to the Fashion Biz Designers!

I love change! I love knowing the path but not knowing what is around the bend! That is the fashion business for you. The calendar is always the same, we know what season we are designing for and what season we are in production for, but the excitement comes from the newness that is born every season in our studio. And conception starts when a designer is sourcing. Yes we may design before we find fabrics. Or our designs may be inspired by fabrics we find. But do not let anyone fool you, fabric suppliers look to color trends and fashion trends and runways for what type of fabrics to sell. If Greenery is Pantone’s color of the year, you bet there will be elements of that everywhere.

It is that scene out of Devil Wears Prada, Cerulean Blue is worn because color trends and fabric houses “told” designers Cerulean Blue was the color of the season through swatches, and prints, and trims, and so on. Sorry Miranda!

There are some domestic fabric shows coming up that you NEED to know about.

Sourcing at Magic
Apparel Manufacturing, Component, Technology and Service Providers from Around the World
FEBRUARY 20-23, 2017
Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas

LA Textile Show
February 27 – March 1, 2017 // SS18 Collections
The Penthouse | 13th Floor, A, B & C wings
California Market Center (CMC)
Los Angeles CA 

How to Pick the Right Show for You

1) Location – Is the show easy to travel to?

2) Needs – What are you looking for?

3) Budget – How much is your allotted travel budget?

4) Location – How close are you to reps/companies that provide fabrics and trims?

 

Once You’re At the Show

PANIC! OVERWHELM! DELIGHT! EXCITE!

It’s like a kid in a toy store that you just told can PICK ANYTHING HE WANTS!

Tip: Take a breath, take a seat, grab a coffee and create a plan!

 

When You Arrive at a Booth

Fake it till you make know it!

Tip: Have a script – know the right questions to ask, be prepared and appear like you’ve been in the industry for years.

What You Can Source

  • Domestic and International fabric vendors
  • Vendors with low minimums (perfect for new businesses)
  • Vendors with unlimited quantities (for larger businesses)
  • Label and hangtag vendors
  • Trim vendors
  • Contractors
  • Special services/send outs, etc

 

Preparing

Plan of Attack – Make sure you know going in what types of fabrics, trims and accessories are you looking for and what materials are best for your line (more on this later)

If possible, bring garments or fabric swatches to show to vendors if you are looking for something specific or if you do not know how to explain fabrics.

If you already know what fabrics/materials you need make sure to bring a list so you don’t forget anything.

If you are familiar with vendors or know of ones that have what you are looking for make sure to schedule time with them into your day.

All shows are divided into categories. For example, at the LA Textile show one side of the show is all fabrics and the other side is all trims. Start on the side you need the most or do one side a day if you can stay for 2+ days.

International Vendors: Some can make finished products, which have pros and cons.

PROS…..Holy Moly! You can do it all. For Cheap?!

  • Price-point
  • Capabilities
  • Material
  • Availability

 

CONS

  • Timing
  • Minimums
  • Quality control
  • Follow-through

Domestic Vendors: Some can make finished products, which has pros and cons.

PROS….. Made in the USA, bringing back jobs…woot!

  • No duties and less for freight.
  • Communication
  • Availability
  • Timing
  • Minimums

CONS

  • Capabilities
  • Materials
  • Price-point

 

Oh My Gosh! I can’t handle all this. I need the DCC to help me!

 

What to bring

  • Business Cards (many!)
  • Vendors will always ask for a card when you stop in so make sure to have enough for all the vendors you plan to visit.
  • Some designers will create a stamp with their contact info on it that they can stamp onto purchase orders, but business cards are fine.
  • If you need some made quickly you can order on Overnightprints.com or Vistaprints.com. Or go to Staples and buy the “print your own business cards”.
  • Make sure your shipping address, email and phone number are on there.
  • Notepad & pen for taking notes on your findings.
  • Have a shipping account and have the account number available. They may ask for it before they will ship items to you.

If you would like a 60-minute ONE-ON-ONE STRATEGY SESSION, click hereto dig a bit deeper into your needs and how to prepare specifically for the shows we can help.  

Next post will be on Questions to Ask While Sourcing.

To be updated on posts, give-aways, and news make sure to subscribe.



Read More →
Spring Summer 2017 Color Sneak Peak

Oh yes, as designers we all feel it… we are so over our past or even current collections! I mean we have been looking at them for almost a year already and our restless little designer minds are moving on! Well if you are already “over” Fall/Winter 2016, here is a little inspiration for Spring/Summer 2017!ss 17 trend

Read More →
Designer Consulting Co-Op at Magic

Find out what the Designer Consulting Co-Op was up to at Magic in Las Vegas!

 

 

Read More →