The Advantages and Disadvantages of Overseas Production

I’m only giving you the point of view of a small business owner. Who learned many of my lesson the hard way. Now common sense prevails!

I remember my FIT professor Michele Lelonde telling me” don’t grow too fast…slow down”. I didn’t heed her warnings. The trapping of possible success turned my head. By not heeding her warnings, I lost my business. I didn’t take the time to allow my knowledge to caught up with where I was in business. In other words … I didn’t know what I was doing! Sometimes in life the best teacher, is other peoples mistakes.

When starting out, get your first few orders, then start putting your house in order. Have a plan! Don’t be swept up in the moment.Figure out what you need and then multiply by 100 times.

Whatever you think you need…you need more! That’s no lie.

Decide where you want to go with manufacturing .

Do you want to setup your own shop ?

Do you want to contract the work to a state side manufacturer or do you want to ship the work overseas?

Manufacturing is like your shopping cart on a website. Everything revolves around it.

I’m a big advocate for the reemergence of manufacturing in the USA. I think our quality is better and I think, you save money in the long run. I believe, that the people that buy your products should also be able to afford it. If I’m selling it here,  it should be made here.

There are many advantages to overseas manufacturing the biggest being a cheaper price. To be truthful that’s the only advantage. In most cases you have to order in fairly large quantities, so you need  fairly large orders. You will need letters of credit verifying payment. Which will be held in escrow until the orders are satisfied.  There can be many uncertainties , manufacturing delays,shipping delays, quality, can all become an issue.

The quality of the material while they look good may not hold up under continues use. I remember a friend of mine had just brought a new designer handbag. It looked great! She paid over $300.00 for the tote. Six months later it was falling apart-fraying around the edges. You really have to stay on top of your quality when working with overseas manufacturing. be especially concerned with the thread used. If the thread is weak, the bag will fall apart.

As I said earlier, in most cases you have to put the money in an account that will guarantee the manufactures payment. Since the chances are that if your going overseas you got a big order!  You will also have to carry that paper up to 120 day net, for the stores that placed the order. The bigger the order the more debt you will need to carry. It will also be about 4-6 months before the manufacture will ship your product. So it could easily be 8-10 months before you see a ROI. Be prepared!

There are many small manufacturers across the United States, they are expense. Many have sub-contractors in Asia, ready and willing to take your order. This could be an advantage for the upstart designer. This allows you to develop a trust  and establish a standard of quality for your products. This could also give you time to develop at your own pace,  allowing your business savvy to grow,  into handling the day to day chores of a business.

Okay that’s all for today c-ya! I’ll finish this tomorrow……


How to Get Your Handbags Into a New York Boutique!

One of the things that limits the exposure of many accessory designers who are just starting out, is getting products to the stores. There are several ways a new accessory designer can start to gain exposure in the marketplace. However there are a few things you will need in place. Consider this!

1. The first and most important is production.  Am I ready to fill an order? After you have come up with an accessory line, How do I get it made? What will it cost? Production will be a concern as long as you are in business. Think about how big do I really want to be? The answers may help you lay the ground work for setting up  production, so that it expands with your needs. Another subject we will talk about later is Overseas Production vs US Production.

Size means more risk, less control, more people, more money, more reward. If… you measure success by the amount of possessions you have.

If you measure success by your happiness index then you may like smaller, profitable fun!

2. Do I have good samples? Samples can be made by you.  The samples you see in my press releases were made by me. That’s what this blog is about, to get you to the point of having a set of samples that you can take to a show. a rep or buyer. If you are fortunate enough to afford manufacturing then the manufacturer will provide you with a set of samples. Patterns have to be made, 1st samples have to be made. You can cut your cost by making the first sample and pattern yourself. Every manufacturer will eventual make their own pattern.

3. Vendors Day or Open Call Day, believe it or not, almost every accessory boutique has a day when you can come in and show your collection or items to a buyer. My first order came for an open call day at Felissimo on 56th and 5th ave. They’re fun. You meet Buyers, other designers and you start to get a sense of the business. It’s fun! You can pretty much walk into any boutique and speak with the buyer. We  got into Patricia Fields on 8 st. in the West Village by simply walking in and asking for the buyer.

4. Getting a Rep! Worth the effort! They know the market, they’re always looking for the next big thing, which could be you. But you have to chose carefully. The wrong rep and your work could sit. Price points are also a consideration when choosing a rep. Don’t have a $300.00 bag with someone who reps $20 items. A $300 buyer is not walking in to that showroom. Ask if they are boutique reps are do they have department store contacts. You may not be ready for a department store!

5. Can I sustain the debt if I strike gold? Big question! It will determine how you market your designs, who you market to and how quickly you can grow. Understand that in almost all cases you will have to have a 30-60-90-120 day net! What does that mean? It means you will have to carry that debt for those amount of days. Only in the smaller boutiques can you get paid on delivery.If you get one department store, that orders $30000 worth of product, can you take the strain of not being paid for 90-120 days! It’s an important question that needs an answer!

6. Create an eye catching collection! Be bold ! Get attention with your designs. Your first designs could be some of your most exciting designs So sketch and sketch some more and save each and everyone for tomorrows inspiration. Boutiques love to buy things that bring the customer through the doors.

The pay off is doing something you love!

Learn design, know design, love design, to design!


Ok found the widget ! You can now sign up to be notified as to when the first “how to make a designer handbag” video tutorial will be up!

Looking forward to hearing comments. It’s the first time I’ve tried to do something of this nature, I hope you like it! Again take a minute to sign up for our announcements. Ok!

Coming Soon!

Welcome to our blog! This blog is really a tutorial on how to make handbags in your kitchen. Not just any handbag, but “Designer Handbags”. Who’s the designer you!

I’m going to teach you a course in handbag design. When you have complete reading the material and studying the video tutorials , you’ll know what I know! I’ve even gotten a patent approved for a bag! Not blowing my own horn, I still know a little bit about making a bag or should I say accessories.

I’ve written a knol on the subject  “how to make a handbag pattern”.  That seems to be getting a nice response so I decided to expand on it and see where it takes me. I went to school at FIT in New York. Here’s my portfolio!

I’m going to teach basic pattern making, soft and constructed handbags and box bag construction. I’ll also try to pass along any design techniques that I have learned over a 15 year period. I’ll give insight to what it takes to get started in the accessory business besides a lot of money. I will answer as many questions as I can from comments.

I’m also putting together a collection of video tutorials that I hope will be ready to go in the coming days.

As soon as I learn how to set up a widget that will allow sign up for a newsletter. Then you’ll be able to sign up for email updates on my progress.

In the meantime, enjoy !