Go Big Or Go Home? Not The Case With A Debut Line

When ideas are flowing thick and fast, it can be tempting to jump on every single one to execute, but not always viable: either for your business plan or for a cohesive collection. While scaling back can be a blow to designers from a creative perspective, it’s often also key in ensuring a strong line that doesn’t overreach and come up short.

By narrowing down your collection to 5 – 10 pieces, you’ll be able to pour more energy (and save on crucial finances) into each piece to make them truly stand out. With the money reserved, you’ll then have an automatic leg up when you’re creating the next season. And while the draw of showing all of your ideas at once is strong, you need to work with the early momentum to first get buyers on side – which often takes more than one season. Once you’ve built healthy rapport with buyers, you’re in a more stable position to invest your financial resources into a larger collection.

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In order to determine the most cohesive vision for your first season, it’s worthwhile to roughly plan 2 – 3 seasons from the start. From here, you can determine which concepts to spotlight first, and you’ll have a sense of how the line will change and grow from season to season. In this time, consider working with strong silhouettes as the building blocks of future seasons, that only need minor tweaks and enable a quickly-moving process to satisfy the possibility of high demand.

If it’s e-commerce you’re looking to branch into, it’s still recommended that you tread carefully. Jennifer Diana of JLD Studios advises that “it’s better to sell out five pieces and generate some demand than have 30 pieces sitting stale on your website for a year waiting to sell through.  Break your season into 5 piece mini-collections that deliver on a 6-8 week rotation.  It will allow you to keep your marketing fresh and stay current with quick moving online traffic.”

With these considerations in mind, you should also adopt an early planning approach for both your budget and your design calendar. Both should be doubled: however your budget is mapped out, ensure you have access to twice those funds. Similarly, no matter how down-to-the-minute your calendar is, allow yourself twice the amount of time to account for potential delays and roadblocks, and to ensure a stronger collection that resonates with the season.

This post was inspired by an earlier Maker’s Row article by Jennifer Diana.


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  • Chrisblackusa

    So true…in 2006 I came with a street collection and booked $50million in orders my 1st 10months…but my back end couldn’t deliver but 9million.