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Build a Following

Here’s a mistake I see happening in the fashion startup space all. the. dang. time.

The designer spends months sourcing fabric, getting samples / patterns made and interviewing production partners.

Until finally, their supply chain is set up and they’re ready to launch.

Except for one little problem…

They don’t have an audience to launch to.

In all of those months of product development, they forgot to do any pre-launch marketing.

And do you know what happens when you launch a fashion brand without any pre-launch marketing?

You don’t make many sales.

It is imperative that you put in the work, months leading up to your launch, so that you have an audience of customers to sell to.

And that’s what we’re going to cover in this week’s Live Show on Thursday, Sept. 23 at noon ET / 9am PT.

build a following

I always tell my Factory45 entrepreneurs, “You can’t launch to crickets!” Make sure you’re not making this common (and potentially brand ending) mistake yourself.

As always, there are two ways to tune in on Thursday at noon ET / 9am PT:

  1. Join our Facebook group here.
  2. Stream on YouTube here.

See you on Thursday!


Did you miss last week’s episode of Factory45 Live about the five things you need to do after you choose a production partner? You can watch the replay by clicking below!

Negotiate Minimums

Here’s a scenario that happens all too often:

You find the perfect fabric for your product or collection — it has the perfect drape, the perfect weight, it’s made from the perfect fiber…

It’s 100 percent the fabric you want to use until…

The supplier says:

“That fabric has a minimum order quantity of 1,000 yards.”

And even if you haven’t worked out your exact quantities yet, you know that for your first collection, 1,000 yards is too high.

You’re looking for more like, 250 yards…

So does that mean the dream of using this fabric is dead?

Not necessarily.

In this week’s Live Show, I’m going to teach you some creative ways to effectively negotiate high MOQs with fabric suppliers.

negotiate minimums

Every week, there are two ways to watch:

  1. Join our private Facebook group here. (This is also where I send out follow-up resources and continue the discussion online).
  2. You can also stream via YouTube here. (Make sure you’re subscribed to my channel here so you can get notified when we start!)

I can promise you, you’ll want to have these tools in your back pocket the next time you find the fabric you know you want to use but you also know is only available in high quantities. 

So, let’s get you sourcing and negotiating! See you on Thursday : )

 

 


Did you miss last week’s episode of Factory45 Live about sourcing sustainable fabrics? You can watch the replay by clicking below!

Source Sustainable Fabrics

Do you know which part of building a fashion brand takes the longest?

Fabric sourcing.

In some cases, finding the perfect fabric can take six to 12 months.

Why?

Well, not only are there tens of thousands of different fabrics on the market but in some cases, you’re looking for a needle in a haystack.

All of the stars need to align on the quality of the fabric, the fiber, the weight, the price, the functionality, the drape and more… 

This is why I recommend fabric sourcing as one of the very first things you do.

It’s why fabric sourcing is the first module of Factory45 and the first thing we focus on.

And it’s why I recommend prioritizing your fabric search right now — no matter where you are in the process.

And I’m going to help you get started in this week’s Live Show.

source sustainable fabrics

On Thursday at noon ET / 9am PT, I’m going to walk you through the steps of effectively reaching out to fabric suppliers and help you learn more about the sustainable fabrics available to you.

This is such an important topic for any fashion brand, because here’s the truth:

It’s not a fabric supplier’s job to educate you.

You are responsible for writing an email, getting on the phone or going into a meeting armed with the knowledge that will help them help you.

As always, there are two ways to watch on Thursday:

  1. Join our private Facebook group here. (This is also where I send out follow-up resources and continue the discussion online).
  2. You can also stream via YouTube here. (Make sure you’re subscribed to my channel here so you can get notified when we start!)

Don’t miss this week’s opportunity to learn more about the world of wholesales fabric sourcing and how you can set yourself up for success.

See you on Thursday!

 

 


If you missed last week’s Live Show on why you need a unique selling position as a fashion brand, you can watch the replay here:

Unique Selling Position

Can I share something I’ve noticed about fashion startups?

After 10+ years working in this space, there is something different about the startups that succeed and the ones that never really get started.

The fashion brands that launch, make sales and grow those sales, started out with one specific thing:

A clearly defined problem that they solve for their customer.

This could also be described as your “unique selling position” or “competitive advantage.”

When I say this to most aspiring fashion founders, they’ll tell me they can’t find a problem for their customer.

When in reality, a problem can always be found.

The real question is, can you solve it?

And if you can’t, then is there a way to pivot your branding, positioning, design or functionality to fix that?

And this is what I’ll be guiding you through in this week’s Live Show:

I’ll be live on Thursday, August 19th at noon ET / 9am PT to help you define the problem you’re solving for your customer and make sure you have a solution to go with it.

Because truly, in an industry as crowded and competitive as fashion, you must have a unique selling position.

You can’t afford not to.

As always, there are two ways to tune in:

  1. Join our private Facebook group here. (This is also where I send out follow-up resources and continue the discussion online).
  2. You can also stream via YouTube here. (Make sure you’re subscribed to my channel here so you can get notified when we start!)

I’ll make sure to give specific examples of brands that you wouldn’t initially think would solve a problem and how they narrowed it down before launching.

See you on Thursday!

 

P.S. If you missed last week’s Live Show on creating a business plan you’ll actually use, then press play to watch the replay below:

Business Plan

When I was starting my fashion brand do you know one of the first rookie mistakes I made?

I know, it’s hard to narrow it down to one ; ) 

Having no prior experience in entrepreneurship and being very new to the fashion industry, the first mistake I made was writing a 40-page business plan.

Yes, 40 pages!

My then co-founder and I spent months going back and forth writing and rewriting this giant Word document and do you know what happened to it?

Do you know where it ended up?

That’s what I’m sharing during tomorrow’s Live Show…

I’m going to tell you the reasons you don’t need a mega-long business plan to start a fashion brand in 2021 and then, even better:

I’m going to help you write a business plan you’ll actually use.

My goal — by the end of Factory45 Live tomorrow — is for you to have a business plan for your fashion brand that you can use as a jumping off point.

And we’re going to do this with my one-page business plan template that is already created for you and I’m giving away for free. 

Here’s what you need to do before the Live Show starts on Thursday — text me at (760) 274-8577 and I’ll send over a link to your template. 

You can save it and browse through the prompts before we go through everything together on Thursday.

Even if you know you’ll have to wait to watch the replay, go ahead and text me now so you have the template ready when you are.

Sound good?

Can’t wait to see you tomorrow!

 


P.S. If this is your first time joining my Live Show, you can tune in on Thursday at noon ET via our private Facebook group here or on YouTube here (make sure you’re subscribed so you know when I go live). You can also catch up on last week’s episode below!

business model

If you’re in the early stages of building a sustainable fashion brand… 

Or if you’re currently selling, but struggling to manage inventory… 

Then you won’t want to miss tomorrow’s Live Show.

I’m going to be talking specifically about the business model that Fast Company says “could save fashion.”

Not only could this business model save millions of pounds of textile waste from going into landfills, but it could also save money for you as the brand.

If you’ve ever wondered what comes after you launch your brand and how to keep selling without thousands of dollars to invest in inventory, then come join me tomorrow, Thursday, August 5th at 12pm ET / 9am PT.

There are two ways to join: 

  1. Stream live, ask questions and engage in our free Facebook group here.
  2. Or you can simply watch on YouTube here (make sure you Subscribe to the Factory45 channel here so you know when I go live).

If you want to set your brand up for sustainable success in the long-run, then make sure you’re building it that way from the ground up. 

I’ll “see” you tomorrow,

 

 

P.S. If you missed last week’s episode of Factory45 Live, I taught a method of nontraditional goal setting that actually works. You can watch the replay below!

live show

Back in May, I hosted our first free 4-day LIVE workshop to help you start your sustainable fashion brand.

And to be honest, the response lit. me. up.

You all are creating some of the most thoughtful, innovative and problem-solving products to truly challenge the fashion industry’s status quo.

And I want to continue to help you.

Because the truth is: You don’t need to go to fashion school or get an MBA to start a fashion brand. You — as you are — can actually start a successful business from your home office or nearest coffee shop.

Every year, I see how possible that is through the brands that launch through Factory45.

So, how can we come together even more — not only to start your brand but to change the fashion industry for the better?

That’s why I’m here, that’s why I do what I do and that’s why I want to help you launch your brand the right way, from the start.

So, as a continuation to our free workshop event, I’m bringing you a new weekly opportunity called:

Factory45 Live: The Live Show for Fashion Entrepreneurs

Every Thursday at noon ET, you can join me (for free) as I teach via livestream to anyone, anywhere with an internet connection.

You’ll be able to learn from me virtually about fashion manufacturing, ecommerce marketing, raising money, fabric sourcing, building an audience and so much more.

Just like the workshop format, I’ll be livestreaming about one specific topic — no fluff, no off-topic Q+A, no bait and switch.

It will just be me giving you the best I’ve got for 20-30 minutes in one value-packed live show.

So, how do you watch? There are two options:

  1. Join our free Facebook group here. This is where the party’s at if you have questions, want feedback or are looking to engage with other fashion entrepreneurs.
  2. Watch on YouTube here. I know Facebook isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so you can also watch the Live Show on YouTube. If you’re choosing this option make sure to go to my channel now and click Subscribe.

Before I go, here’s the last thing I’ll say: when it comes to any free resource, we often don’t make the time for it. It’s human nature to undervalue the things we don’t necessarily “earn.” 

With that said, put this on your calendar and schedule it! If you can make it live at noon ET every Thursday, then it’s always better to show up live… coordinate it with your lunch break!

If you can’t, though, then schedule a more convenient time to watch the replay and commit to it as if it’s live. That’s exactly what I do when I’m on the Pacific Coast and everything happens before my son if off to school : ) 

So, will I see you tomorrow? I really hope so — and I promise to make it worth your while.

 

 


Earth Day

How many Earth Day emails have you gotten today? Hopefully, a lot! 

But here’s the thing, dedicating a day to the Earth doesn’t mean much without action.

And while fashion isn’t the most obvious choice to associate with “going green,” it is one of the biggest contributors to climate change… 

Which makes our sustainability efforts in the fashion industry that much more important.

Will the small indie brands single-handedly solve the fashion pollution problem? No.

But they will, and have, put pressure on bigger brands while helping to educate consumers on why their purchasing decisions matter.

So, on that note, I asked four Factory45 Alumni to share how they “restore our earth” (the theme of this year’s Earth Day) through their sustainable fashion brands:

IMBUED

Imbued's intention from the very beginning has been to use ‘slow fashion’ to support the restoration of our Earth. By setting high standards to use only organic fabrics grown by small farms, eco-consciously sourced plant dyes for fabric coloring, and offering limited collections, Imbued has made a commitment that almost no fashion brand is making. 

Imbued's botanically hand-dyed bandanas and Intention Setting Dye Kits are small but mighty solutions that support the Slow Fashion + Regenerative Farming movements. It’s a way to create more restorative conversations and actions that support our planet. Imbued’s bandanas and dye kits are for The Earth-Wise Human Who Knows…It’s not just a bandana, but a small act of radical change. 

— Kristin Brown, founder of Imbued

Earth Day


NOVEL SUPPLY CO.

Novel Supply Co creates comfortable, gender neutral apparel that doesn’t pollute the environment or harm the people making it.

We use all natural, organic materials and natural dyes and take our products back at the end of life to ensure they don’t end up in the landfill.

We source undyed, organic cotton and hemp fabrics from a Fairwear Foundation member mill and all apparel is manufactured ethically and locally in our hometown of Vancouver, BC. We only do small batch natural dyeing to ensure we minimize our impact on the planet as much as possible.

— Kaya Dorey, founder of Novel Supply Co.

Earth Day


REPRISE ACTIVEWEAR

Reprise makes plant-based activewear, aimed at reducing the amount of plastics in our workout clothing. Our approach for carbon neutrality is to offset our carbon footprint in our supply chain and have a mix of Reforestation, Renewable Energy and Community projects. We’re based in New York and we produce with local manufacturers. It’s really important for us to build that relationship with them and keep everything local. 

— Mary Bemis, founder of Reprise Activewear

Check out Reprise featured on NBC News this week! Click here.

Earth Day


TRUED APPAREL

We restore the Earth through sustainable fashion by using natural fibers. We ensure that our clothing doesn't contribute to plastic pollution by relying on sustainable and low-impact fabrics like Tencel. We also like to think we lead through example and help heighten awareness around conscious consumer choices.

Many people that are drawn to our aesthetic are also very aware of workers' rights, environmentalism, supporting small business (especially women and BIPOC-led businesses) shopping local, and are willing to go the extra mile to do the right thing.

— Melissa Woods, founder of Trued Apparel

Trued


Happy Earth Day, everyone!

 

 

 


Fashion Background

“I’m not a fashion person,” I remember saying to someone a few years ago.

“Wait, but aren’t you, like, in the fashion industry?” they replied.

“I guess ‘technically’… but I don’t follow trends or the latest styles or fashion week or read biographies about Coco Chanel…”

I also don’t have a fashion background or technical education. I was a journalism major in college.

The truth is, I’m far more interested in what’s off the runway than what’s on it.

And while couture gowns are beautiful to look at, I’m more interested in products that solve a problem or fill a gap in the market.

Even better? Products that help to solve the fast fashion problem or provide a more sustainable alternative.

While having a fashion background can definitely be an advantage when it comes to design, sketching and construction, it’s not a necessary prerequisite to launching a successful brand.

A brand that has purpose.

So, if you’re someone who didn’t go to fashion school or work in retail or considers themselves a “fashion person,” today’s video is for you.

I can tell you from nearly a decade of experience why you don’t need a fashion background to launch a fashion brand.

And just a reminder, for fashion and non-fashion people alike, I’m hosting a free four-day workshop in two weeks to help you Start Your Sustainable Fashion Brand this year.

Register for free here and save your seat >> https://factory45.co

Hope to see you on May 3rd!

 

 

 

 


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New Fashion Brands

Do you know the number one reason that new fashion brands lose money or go out of business in their first year? 

Manufacturing mistakes. 

From over-ordering inventory to garment construction errors, starting production is the most vulnerable time for new fashion brands.

The brand blames the factory…

The factory blames the brand… 

And when all is said and done, only a fraction of the production order is good enough to sell. 

And both parties lose money.

In the case of the new brand, it’s enough of a loss to put them out of business — before they’ve even started. 

The thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way.

And in this episode, I’m going to tell you why it doesn’t have to end up this way for your brand…

New Fashion Brands

I hope this is helpful to you!