PLANNING YOUR FASHION DESIGN, PRODUCTION & SALES CALENDAR
For new designers, trying to figure out the design, production and sales cycle for your first collection can be a long and daunting process. Melody decided that it was time to lend the young blood a hand, and with the help of our friends over at NYNE and Shikoba, Designer Direction brings you part one of a two-part guide on the in’s and out’s of a Fashion Design & Production Calendar.
FDPC – the heart of your design business
At the heart of every fashion design business lies a calendar of events that is as crucial as fabric, cotton and garment labels. One of the foundation elements to any designers enterprise, this calendar outlines when to design, produce and sell your collection season by season. We call it the Fashion Design & Production Calendar or FDPC for short.
Why do I need an FDPC calendar?
Like a heart, this baby is a major organ and if not looked after it may flatline. In business terms this means – if you don’t plan your FDPC and business processes properly you may run into problems that could have been easily avoided.
It’s tough getting started and there are a lot of areas that require hard work and attention, but planning and implementing your month to month FDPC will give you a clear outline of what needs to be done and at what stage of the year. It will help to keep you focussed, on track and organised.
The need to know list, Part 1
The FDPC is a cycle of events and each part is equally as important as the next. We have listed the four of the eight FDPC essentials along with some pertinent reasons why they are necessary.
You need to know at what stage you should;
1. Design your collection, for the appropriate season and at the right time of year
Designing is the lifeblood of your business and sets the wheels in motion for every successive step in the FDPC cycle. It is important to know at what time of the year you need to have your collection designed by so you can research trends, work on your inspiration, mood board, direction and also start thinking about what kind of fabrics you might like to use.
2. View, sample, buy and reorder fabric for your collection
Textile viewing and buying is an exciting exercise but if not organised at the appropriate time of year it can be stressful and fraught with disappointment.
Many textile wholesalers, and especially those that don’t hold stock fabric, operate in a very strict manner and in a lot of cases if you are not first in, you are last served. This means that if you book a viewing appointment too late you will be put at the back of the list behind hundreds of other people.
If you are tardy in ordering fabric you may miss out on the first order shipment and have to wait weeks (or months) for the next shipment to come through and that is only if the fabric is re-ordered. If the fabric you want is not re-ordered you will miss out altogether.
The lesson? Call and book your seasonal viewing appointments as early as you possibly can and that the wholesaler will allow.
3. Have your garment patterns drafted, cut, altered and completed
Like all the parts to your FDPC, getting your patterns sorted is an obvious must. If you are looking after the patterns yourself, organize a timeline in your FDPC when you plan to have them drafted, garment toiles made and then the final patterns completed.
Alternatively if you are outsourcing any pattern making or grading, ensure that you book this in with your supplier or contractor well in advance to avoid missing out.
4. Have your garment pricing finalized
An absolute must. There is nothing more unprofessional than going to a retail stockist with ‘ballpark’ figures. Cost your garments accurately so that you have pricing structures and recommended retail markup prices prepared before you go out to sell.
From an accounting perspective you need to know at what point you will break even, turn a profit and how much you will need to spend to get there. Garment calculations are essential for this purpose and to help forecast your income and expenditure.
There you have the first part of our #101 guide on planning your FDPC. Come back next Thursday to get part 2 and the last four areas you need to include in your FDPC, plus we have a little surprise from NYNE to help get you started.
Download the printer friendly version of this article – Part 1_Planning Your Fashion Design Production Sales Calendar_DesignerDirection
Posted by nzfashion
Written by: Melody Wehipeihana
Images from top: Roxycraft (hearts), Caroline Shaw/Vogue (mood board), unknown (fabric), Gauthiier (bodice).