Columbus, Ohio, where I live, has a strong, growing, exciting community of fashion designers. So, this is a heads up to those of you here in Columbus, and, of course, to designers living elsewhere.
Sales and the Pandemic
As we all know, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, retail clothing outlets have had to shut down or open up under social distancing guidelines. Obviously, that seriously decreased in-person sales and made fittings particularly problematic.
Ecommerce as a Solution
One solution is selling online through an ecommerce website, such as this one that I have on Weebly.com. (No, I will not get a referral fee for the mention, I just happen to like their their site templates, pricing, and customer service.) As ResearchandMarket.com reports, there is an increased demand for fashion online, and ecommerce provides designers with the opportunity to expand and reach a global market.
The Growing Global Apparel Market
Again, according to ResearchandMarket.com, the global apparel market is expected to expand from $527.08 billion (US) in 2020 to $635.17 billion (US) in 2021. By 2025, ResearchandMarket.com predicts that the global apparel market will reach $842. 73 billion (US).
One Way to Scale-up Clothing Production to Meet Increased Demand
Being able to reach an expanding market is great news for independent fashion designers, retailers, and manufacturers. But, increased demand means, of course, that you'll likely need to scale-up production, maybe quickly.
One way to ramp-up production of embroidered items is to invest in computer-controlled embroidery machines. You create your embroidery pattern on the computer, or you can use software to turn your digital or scanned photographs or artwork into embroidery patterns. You feed the pattern from the computer to the embroidery machines, and the machines stitch the pattern on the fabric.
You may already know about these machines because home sewing machines that accept embroidery patterns from a home computer via a home Wi-Fi network have been available for years. Manufacturers also produce industrial models of these embroidery machines.
Starting with just one home model of these machines can help increase your production.
The Efficient Features of Digital Embroidery Machines
With just one home embroidery machine, you can produce multiple pieces with the same embroidery design more quickly and inexpensively than you could otherwise. Home sewing machines that accept digital embroidery patterns are usually single-needle machines, but multi-needle, multi-head machines are available.
While you will need to change thread colors manually on a single-needle machine, you can include the sequence for changing thread colors in the pattern for multi-head, multi-needle machines. You thread the appropriate needle with the thread color you've indicated in the pattern. These multi-needle machines then follow the sequence of the needles indicated in your program, and they automatically change to the needle you've indicated in your pattern instructions.
You can start with home machines, and then switch to industrial models and invest in more machines over time as your sales pick up and your business recovers.
If you read the "About Me" page, you already know that I sew, and that I have worked in fabric and craft stores, some with sewing machine departments. In fact, when I graduated from high school, instead of a car, I used the gifts of money I received to purchase one of the first Singer Golden Touch and Sew sewing machines, and it outlasted the cars that others received. (smug smirk)
It drove my mother crazy when I began interchanging skirts, bodices, and sleeves on dress patterns to create something different than what I'd sewn before. I now have sloper software for my computer, so, I think we're kindred spirits. My personal fashion tastes aren't that fashion forward, though, so I'll leave the designing to you, and you can leave your content to me. I would love to help you with your fashion or apparel business.
If you have any tips for other independent fashion designers on how they can scale-up production, please add your suggestions below.
If you have any topics or questions, you would like to see discussed on the Home Arts Blog, please post those as well.
Author -- Elizabeth Ann Roy
With the Home Arts Content and Copywriting Blog, I will blend my favorite hobbies -- sewing, crafts, and gardening -- with my background in vocational home economics and interior design, my training in strategic communication, and my experience as a writer and as a former retail sales person, craft instructor, and manager to follow trends in each of these areas. I do promise, however, to keep the posts organized in intelligently chosen categories.