There was a time, not so long ago, when I had my collections planned out for the entire year ahead. Even if I hadn’t ordered the fabrics, at least knew what I was going to order; saving me hours of time deciding which colour, which design and which print to order. Now I’ve found myself running behind schedule for the winter collection (I’m still ordering my fabrics and will probably have to launch the collection a few weeks later than planned), and since I’ve been spending time focusing on the higher level stuff I’ve let go of a lot of small but important details.
The solution isn’t really to cut out on the higher level stuff- it’s important that I concentrate on the branding and marketing aspect of my business – but I guess I need to manage my time a lot better until I can afford an efficient assistant. I wouldn’t have put so much thought into coming out with a new pricing scheme for my collection (which is I think is paying off by the way) or listened harder to customer feedback about the lack of bright colours if I wasn’t spending the amount of time that I have analyzing past sales and talking to customers at the store. However all the new information that I have now has made me a slower decision maker (translation: indecisive). I think ten times before ordering fabrics now (“will this really be popular and still stand out as different?”) and I spend more time explaining design ideas to my suppliers.
This new process is a little more tedious, I have to admit. When I wasn’t thinking about customer appeal I selected fabrics that were more representative of my taste and my design aesthetic. Now I’m conscious of sales and catering to a wider variety of tastes that my customers have. So rather than nurturing that innate instinct that drew me to a particular fabric I am trying to hone my data analysis skills to choose fabrics that will increase my store popularity. Serves me right for majoring in economics.
All this high level work has resulted in the suffering of other small details (or low level management) that went a long way. I’ve stopped doing my random checks on garments at the production unit and I’m starting to find small errors with finished garments at the store. I’ve stopped my training sessions with my sales staff and I find they are settling into complacency. When do founders of businesses get to leave behind the small stuff to focus only on high level decision making?
Right now I’m ordering ikat fabrics for an ankle length cotton dress for the spring collection. I had originally wanted Uzbekistan ikat inspired designs, but those might be hard to design and replicate in Andhra. So here are some designs from my supplier in Andhra and I’m trying to figure out which ones would work better and what colours I should change. Think of these fabrics made into a thin cotton dress, fitted at the empire line and with a halter neck or a low neck with thin shoulder straps. Thoughts or suggestions?
I really like this one but might have to change a few colours to make it look brighter. Perhaps indigo instead of black or fill the white spaces with indigo.
This has promise but needs a complete colour makeover. I was thinking of going ultra modern with yellow, pink and peacock blue (it will look muted when mixed with the off-white weft yarn).