Job Title: Co-Owner Of Small Business
Type of Company: My business partner and I currently design and consult with other companies and are in the process of re-launching our manufacturing line.
Education: BA, Fashion Design, Drexel University
Previous Experience: I worked as a fashion designer for eight years before starting a children's wear manufacturing company.
Job Tasks: We have 4 clients that we design for which means we wear a lot of different hats during the day. On any given day we can be working for any or all of our clients depending on their needs. We might be sourcing fabric for a particular collection for our coat line and an hour later be reviewing some samples submitted to another client. Also, we simultaneously work on designing for several different seasons. Right now, for example, we are designing a sportswear line that is coming out for Spring 2010 as well as designing our Fall 2010 coat collection. We also need to constantly evaluate present and past sales and apply this knowledge to what we are currently working on. If last year, for example, we designed a black fur coat that did very well, we need to make sure that we design another black coat for the current year to capitalize on potential sales. After we sketch and review fabrics we work with someone who takes our sketch and turns it into a first prototype. We then review that garment and either make changes and redo it or keep it as a final sample to be sent to a sales force for selling. And finally, depending on the client, we oversee production of the garments we designed. Sometimes that involves working with factories overseas and other times it involves working with factories in Philadelphia.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Taking an idea and turning it into a first garment is the most enjoyable part of our job. Troubleshooting problems for production is our least favorite. We often have to search for solutions to a problem that are far from ideal.
Additional Thoughts: When starting out in fashion design you need to choose a company that best exemplifies your area of interest. For example, if you are looking to work for an expensive designer label don't start by working for a moderate mainstream company. Also, if you are looking to design children's clothing, do not start out in menswear. The companies you work for will serve as your launching pad and a company looking for a menswear designer is less likely to take a chance on a designer with a children's wear background.
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