You are hereStart a Clothing Line-where are the roses and the champagne?
Start a Clothing Line-where are the roses and the champagne?
Start a Clothing Line was just the first step..
I started my journey in March 2008 after getting worried emails from family and friends all wondering what I was up to during my adventures traveling through Asia. I needed a place where everyone that (bothered:-) could follow me, a place where they could see how the clothes slowly came to life (my own collection that is) and of course say hello if they felt like it.
As my travels slowed down and I settled happily in New Zealand I wanted to make this Blog in to something more then just "I'm in Delhi, making a Tunic, what are you up to?"..so after some brainstorming and basic 'gut feelings' I turned it into what I desire the most, a place where I write about my 'must haves' and general desires, I have long Wish list. I also like to squeeze in some personal notes while connecting with fellow fashionistas and sharing my ever on-going projects..so that's me, Alice & Hot Cake..
Below is more of a Story about the whole journey. From turning 28, falling in love, buying a one way ticket to Thailand and the adventures that followed, bare in mind, I wrote this almost 2 years ago and feel as if I have improved a bit since then (I'm Swedish and writing in English has been a bit of a challenge but I tend to excel and broaden my vocabulary, specially since I've recently married a Kiwi and don't plan to use Swedish that much:) Warm Welcome! Hugs/Alice
First a plane ride to Bangkok, Thailand where I mainly had a lookout for Wholesalers, then Malaysia for a quick stop, and after that Indonesia where I ended up finding everything except the Manufacturers. A flight to China, Shenzhen and famous Guangzhou for more sourching. Got some help from a local sourching agent called Bill (they find the Manufacturers and will act as a qlty controller and manage the deals on spot, he would have costed 7% of the order) but China is big, almost to big specially if your looking towards making a qnty of 25 pcs per design. A lot of "no" and rejections from Factories or the price simply got to steap. Went from Shenzhen to Beijing and then Vietnam.
Me and Bill in China, Senzhen having a look at the many WholesellersWith new energy from beeing a member at Alibaba trade service I got finally got some better contacts I started emailing other Vendors. In Vietnam I found it easy to buy fabrics and finding local tailors that could make my 1 Samples and with better facilities, eventhough it's a lot of gesturings and simple English (sometimes crazy mishaps)at least the collection started to look better with so much inspiration from China, it's a great platform for all trends and the young generation is soo trendy!
After some what okay sampling I still needed a better set up and went to Cambodia. There I trough (local tailor ) made some samples, but this time in a bigger qnty, about 6-18 pcs of each, mixing it up in sizes according to my measurements. But after weeks of going back and front, printing labels at 3 different Print Houses and making hangtags and necklabels with the qlty not up to standard I still wanted to experiment with different ideas, how to find a small enough but still bigger vendor?.
Shopping for coconut buttons in the "Russian Market" in
With a Swedish contact I finally sent over 40 samples to Stockholm to try them out in a Clothing Store. This turned out to be a big misstake, the central post office was part of a scam, asking me to pay for Airmail with a 2 week delivery time, instead the samples where sent through boat wich ment 1-3 months arrival, big delay for my Autumn Collection and when they finally arrived I got complaints of smell, the boat was probably a dark, oily and moist place.
The silk screen print shop I found in Phnom Penh Cambodia, made 100 labels with the help of my memory card.
Then more complaints of my samples, the washing instructions and country of origin must be placed on each sample, all clothes have to have washinstructions, that was the most important thing..being handtailored they didn't (and me being so proud of finally getting "made in Cambodia" labels on them).
The clothes was instead giving me a lot of trouble and I felt like just booking that flight home, surrender and get back to selling jeans in the store instead..I tried to remind myself that this was not an easy task and my dream. A phone call home would probably cheer me up, but according to my mom "over 90 percent of the 'up and comming' designers parish during the first 3 years, the small 10 percent that do survive can work for at least 10 years if they are lucky". Not good odds for an already faithless backpacker...
So there I was, towards Bangkok again when the samples started to arrive, my first collection sent and they didn't even like it. Either the price where to steap or the buttons where loose, fit wasn't ok..oh it felt like such a waste of time and money.
When arriving in Bangkok I started working with wholsale brands and kept on sketching but lost a bit of heart in Cambodia. With a final flight booked to India I gave it one more go..
The first collection before sending it, 9 pcs per parcel with a handmade packing list..Theese samples ended up on a Boat instead of a Airplane with a 2 months delay..
India was a crowded and busy place. I found a guy through Alibaba trade site and he met me up at the airport in Delhi. Lucky I'll say for the parking lot outside was wild! After getting a room in Kalkaji he met me up the second day, me naive and pretty tired of managing the deals and all the talk got ensured that he was going to help me get my sketches into reality. He talked a lot, bragging about his career as a factory manager in Africa and all his other factories placed both in India and China. I never gave it a thought that he might be something else than the actual owner of the factory. Days went by, he arranged visits 2 factories where I showed my designs and talked about pricing. One of the factories offered about 15 US Dollar per pcs, just simple cotton designs while the other alternative had a problem keeping the prices under 40 US Dollar. So now with all information in my hands I would have done it differently. To save time I should have had at least 3 factory meetings, leaving sketches with them..making the exact same garments for all three to then negotiate price and compare workmanship and qlty, check if the mouth is where the hands are..well something like that.
A special technique made of wax painting to make a reversed print,Indonesia Bali
Instead there was a lot of time waisted by talking, driving around and not actually getting any results. After a few meetings with the cheaper Vendor I wasn't to happy about the garments, thinking about the mess in Cambodia, buttons falling off and still not that torned vintage look that I was after. Why was it so hard to make it exactly the way I wanted it?
Finally a label attached, 250 printed texts on one whole black strip
The guy that so eagerly helped me out now confessed that he was an Agent, wanting a share of the order, now a bigger mess. Why didn't I ask sooner, why didn't he say anything as well? Tired of people trying to cheat and lie, I turned (by my own surprise) to an angry monster. After a quick meeting with his collegue she confessed that I also need to pay for sampling and that sampling prices are really high due to small qnty, so I was going to pay for the the half crappy first samples that was made by the cheaper vendor. I turned red, why is this information brought to me now! I don't like not knowing and being lied to, I growled. Parts of my budget was already spent on mocking around in Delhi and I didn't want any more losses, I simply had enough. How much, I asked with steam comming out of my ears. His collegue turned quiet, it can be a lot becouse sampling is so much harder and in a single addition, mabye 3000 rupies a pcs, she looked down at her shoea? That might not seem extreme but for the amount of samplesthat I had pree made I was furiuous, the whole visit was a charade and I seemed to be the clown...
Slamming a phone on the supposeably friendly but untrusty "agent" I was free. No more long car trips to different fabric shops and more time spent on creating and thinking on more projects to come..I had yelled my way out of this mess..
Me in one of my first Autumn Collection Samples-Okt 2008
The Story about me..Alice
When I was 20 I went to Italy, Accademia Italiana Moda e Design School in Firenze, Florence. It was an intense year and I experienced everything from a daily desire to take that next flight home to loving the collection work and wearing gloves and knitted cardigans to bed since the small gas source never seemed to warm up the dorm. But then again a great platform that has taken me a few miles on the way to where I am today..
My name is Alice and I am now 32... So how do you go about chasing a desirable goal? I quit my job as a sales assistant at a Fashion Store and in March 2008 I set off with my backpack and pantone pencils with the plan to do some travelling around South East Asia and find that magic place where all your garments on paper becomes reality. Mainly due to the high labour costs in Sweden (where I'm from) South East Asia looked like a good place to put some of my ideas into actual items. I have had a wonderful trip so far, started off in the heat of Bangkok, went from crowded city strips to remote islands and white beaches, just as seen in all the travel magazines I read dreaming off during short breaks when I was at work. I also had a secret motto (except just making a label and try to make a name in the fashion market) and that is do everything before thirty. It's contains doing stuff that I, the chicken would normally stay away from. It’s easier in my comfort zone, drawing and dressing up. So off with all the makeup, the flat ironer was packed but not used and then ready for some sports. I started with a 18 meter dive and open water certificate at Koh Tao, Thailand, then brave enough for slippery surf boards in Bali, Indonesia and then to climb and walk the Great Wall of China, some muddy trekking in the north of Vietnam and Kite Surfing at windy beaches in Mui Ne. In between I've manage to create and create, motorbikes in monsoon rain protecting samples from local tailors and learning quickly the different currency rates and how the anguage barriers get more difficult the further remote you are, was signing and waving around a lot in the small fishing village of Phan Thiet and made last minutes orders resulting in nerve wrecking wait in Phom Pehn, Cambodia (with just 5 minutes before the bus leaving to Angkor Wat) the tailor came running as the bus driver was waiting.
Kitesurfing in Mui Ne, Vietnam
Surfs up at Kuta Beach in Bali, Indonesia
Climbing the Great Wall of China, Beijing
I have really been there and done it during my now 15 month’s long trip throughout Asian countries and North Island of New Zealand. Still travelling at the moment exploring the home of the Kiwis in an old Bedford Ambulance.
The testing and somewhat clumsy sampling by using local tailors in S.E-Asia is a memory, I am now really excited with what I have designed/produced in Delhi, India. So now it's just touching up the labels and the order will arrive soon, I am out to make my dream come true,the Holy Grail (worth chasing) you might call it since it's not far from the truth...
I will be posting as often as I can so that you can follow my missions, packed with all the "know how’s" and "what not's" in starting a women’s clothing label. The ups and downs and I hope that you take something away and learn from my experience, and by all means have a good laugh and share some thoughts with me and others in the forum. If you have any questions about how to start your own clothing label or anything fashion, please feel free to ask in my fashion forum.. Rgds! Alice
To watch my journeys on YOUTUBE.COM click here my Fashion Videos
Strapless corsets | Victorian Corsets | Buy A corset | Satin Corset | New Fashion Designers
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