Congratulations, you’ve done you first collection! While the first collection is out you pretty quickly have to start thinking and sketching on the new one. Before starting all over again it’s vital to pause and reflect. Ask yourself all these questions, and give yourself time to think and answer them as honestly as you can.
- How did it actually go? Go through all the steps and think about the process.
- What went bad and what went smooth and what can you improve?
- What is worth changing now?
- What should your priority be?
- Through the design and concept phase, did you have enough time for sketching?
Rushing through the most important starting phase is never a good idea. Make sure you give yourself time for inspiration. This is where it all starts and without a great concept and inspiration point your collection will be pretty naff.
- How is the relationship with the suppliers and factories?
- Do you have good communication?
- Did they deliver what was agreed and on time?
- Is the quality what you have paid for?
- Are they transparent and easy to talk to regarding prices?
- The fairs you have visited, where they worth it?
- The distributors and agents you have, are they good?
- The shops that represent your brand, how does it all look?
- Are they going for it full speed or did they tuck your brand away in the corner?
Reflecting and looking backwards is important. Examine the information at hand, evaluate it, and implement it in a new strategy for the future. Yep, the strategy.
- Do you have any?
- What are your plans for the next coming years?
- How much do you want to increase your brand?
- What’s the way to go, to increase your collection?
- How many more shops do you want to retail your brand?
- If you only sell through your own e-com site, what’s your plan for increasing traffic, selling more products and getting your brand out there?
- Are you happy with your existing customers?
- What has the feedback been on your collection and the brand? The bad and the good, take that in consideration when planning the layout for your new collection.
So many questions, and you could probably come up with even more. The best person to answer these, is you. Remember there are no right or wrong answers. Don’t get stuck on what could have been or why things weren’t done. Focus on how you can do it better moving forward.
As mentioned previously, the collections overlap. The fall collections start in September with the research and design, and finish with deliveries and receiving payments in September the year after. 1 year for the full process. The spring collection starts in March with research and design and ends also in March, the year after, with receiving payments and deliveries. Unfortunately there is never a “down” period where you can just put your feet up and reflect quietly and roll your thumbs. With the collections overlapping you really have to keep your eye on the deadlines and when everything needs to be ready. This is a schedule for 2 collections/year, a fall-winter and a spring-summer collection and keep in mind, some companies do 4 collection a year.
Resort (as it’s called) is added to bridge the gap between fall/winter and spring/summer and lands in stores in November and Pre-Fall (as it’s called) bridges the gap between spring/summer and fall/winter, hitting the stores in May. It is a strategy for companies that don’t want their customers to wait that long in between the collections. You could actually have this effect even with 2 collections a year, but by making different “drop” periods. Instead of having all your collection ready for the stores in September – for a fall/winter collection you can have a certain % of it dropped in end of October, early November. The shops will have more from you to display and your collection will have a newness to it. Your customers will never get a chance to get bored.
Having finished and come out the other end of a collection is great, you have learned so much along the way. Reflecting and wanting to improve is vital, if you never take in the feedback and give the customers what they want, you will never be in business for long.