Money money money.......
Personally I have a love/ hate relationship with the stuff.
Being a creative arty farty type I have never been a materialistic one and seem to become less so as I age. Maybe it is because the bottomless pit that is my fashion business is draining my hard earned pennies away from me at a rate of knots or maybe it is because I am happy spending no money, eating the fruit and veg from our garden, fishing for mackerel on Pugwash (our put-put boat that dad lovingly restore for 5 years - divorce material) and making my own clothes.
Hmm I think it is a mixture but I need to make the business profitable if:
a) It is to continue
b) I want to move out of mum and dad's (again) before I turn 30
c) I want to remove the 's' from Hostel in my vacationing lifetime
d) My friends can stop receiving cushions covered with scraps of fabric from my latest collection as birthday/ Christmas/ wedding/ anniversary etc presents
e) I can buy my dad the Vintage Bentley I have been promising him since I was 10
So for A/W 2010 as it wraps up and my production arrives I begin to add up all the bills. To gage my costs at the beginning of production I did a plan where I priced every single thing that went into each garment so I could price them correctly and make a profit.
There are of course things that you don't account for for some reason or another and my conclusion has been that I need to reign in my costs and make more profit.
BUT how do I do this...?
I think that it has to go hand in hand with being clever about your product. As I previously said, it is so important to take on feedback and to know what sells. What does the customer want? What niche products can I sell that other designers have not thought of? or which designers are dominating the market with their clever promotional, quirky products?
Maximizing profit = increasing sales and decreasing costs...SIMPLE
I sound like one of those promotional "Positive mental attitude" tapes that my folks used to listen to when we were young...my apologies.
- Increasing orders means you can order in bulk, decreasing your costs. Careful not to go ahead of yourself though as you don't want to be left with unused stock.
- Be selective in what you do. Do you need a PR agent, a sales agent, to be in a showroom, to show in Paris and London and to have a mega glossy lookbook sent to hundreds of people. NO. I have been trying to weigh up in £££££'s whether for example, the £500 I spend on exhibiting my collection in a showroom or the extra £200 it will cost to print bound lookbooks will generate me that money back and more.
As many people have said to me on my journey so far.... Do not run before you can walk....If you spend all your money in season 1 and have a budget looking season 2 you'll look daft.
- Try and be clever with your pattern cutting. Minimize the amount of fabric in each garment. One size fits all means you don't have to get things graded. Genius.
- Interns are good, free labour and we all did and learnt from our experiences.
- Call in favours from friends. You never know someones great uncle might own a wool mill in Yorkshire who will give you Cashmere at cost...it can happen.
- Barter. Marrakesh in Morocco is good training ground.
I WILL grow and nurture my (CHARLOTTE TAYLOR fashion label) money tree and my dad will get his Bentley very soon. I promise pop.