The Entrepreneurial Process: A Glimpse Behind Glitter and Lace
Changes in consumer behaviour and economic trends are changing the landscape of the world of retail. While some giant retailers close their doors, others grasp the opportunity to showcase their talent and introduce their products. So much has changed in the world of fashion and retail — yet one hurdle remains: shifting mindsets (though we’ve come a long way)!
In trying to enter the fashion/clothing market, many local entrepreneurs face a fairly common problem — pricing their products and having to justify those prices to consumers like you and I!
What do we really know about the process of creating a product? How are ideas brought to life? Is there such a thing as overnight success?
I got my answers from two awesome brands that let me into their entrepreneurial lives and showed me where the magic all happens. And let me tell you — it definitely isn’t in their wallets!
Nida Khan Baig started Hayah Collection due to its need in the community. Since the age of 13, she felt that less and less options were available that provided both modesty and style. My favourite part of Nida’s vision is that she kept three types of women in mind when designing her products: the woman who prefers pants, the one who likes her skirts and the one who rocks her abayas and long dresses.
While Hayah launched lots of great pieces since she started last year, my favourite piece (the boho lace/crochet cardigan) is one of her best yet — and the one piece that possibly also drove her partially crazy!
Here’s a little inside scoop on all the steps it took to just launch that one piece (and this can be generally applied to most of her pieces):
- Come up with new ideas (this can go on forever at times).
- Draw out your design (and hope that manufacturers can understand your 3 am drawings sketched in the dark).
- Find fabric samples, design samples, images, colours…anything to help your manufacturer understand EXACTLY what you want.
- Receive first sample-EPIC fail! It did not meet her standards. It was all crochet and way too heavy.(you pay for each sample)
- Communicate with manufacturer on the other side of the world
- Receive second sample- It was mostly made of net fabric with pleats all around which made the sleeveless cardigan too dressy.
- Received third sample…slowly coming together…meanwhile still paying for each sample!
- From the third to the fifth and final sample…AT LAST! It is exactly the quality, design and color Nida had envisioned. Five samples, endless communication, shipping and customs, clothing labels, wash labels, packaging, social media promotion through bloggers, product giveaways and loads of online research later…from start to finish, this cardigan took 6 months to complete. Currently, this cardigan retails for only $59.99 on her Etsy store!
Binish Khan is the face and brain behind Miss.Nova. Inspired by her daughter to create eastern clothing for toddlers that are safe, stylish and representative of her dual roots, (Canadian & Pakistani) Binish is a woman on a mission!
More often than not, new businesses emerge due to a lack of options or the ability to do something better. This is certainly the case for Miss.Nova as she realized that moms of her generation are looking for something new, something different but most importantly, something that still connects them to their roots. From over embellished clothes for toddlers to fabrics that may not necessarily be comfortable, Miss.Nova hoped to resolve these concerns…and she did!
Often times we look at clothes for exactly what they are…clothes. We forget however that they have the ability to tell stories, carry history and help us build bonds. Miss.Nova aims to create eastern clothing for toddlers that helps maintain her culture without compromising our western identities in the most respectful of ways.
Here’s how all those pretty dresses are REALLY made:
- Get inspired and put thoughts on paper (with toddlers in other hand)
- Sketch designs
- Create color palette
- Create size chart from scratch
- Fabric sourcing-go to fabric stores to get swatches of fabric for color and fabric accuracy
- Mail swatches and sketches to manufacturer (across the globe)
- Skype dates/phone calls, pictures & messages with manufacturer
- Received pictures of products, go through approval/dismissal process
- Receive packages (pay shipping, customs…all the fun stuff!)
- Marketing, social media, packaging, and branding of product
- List product online to be sold!
The popular dress worn in this picture took 4 months to make from start to finish…and it retails for $60.00 via her Facebook store!
As you can see, many local entrepreneurs start their journey without paying themselves…for a long time! They may cover costs, make a profit but they never truly compensate themselves for the days, nights and coffees that have gone into turning their ideas into a reality.
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