Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The designer hat

 I  got in love with textile design since the first time I heard about it. Since I was a little girl, I have been in love with clothing and fashion and when I had the chance to actually choose my career path I knew I wanted to design prints.

My life as an in house designer:
The first 8 years of my professional career were as an in house designer, including the art director position which I holed last before I move to the business side of textiles and fashion.

During my time as in-house designer ,I worked in different companies in Mexico, mainly dedicated to woman's, and children market. I also did a bit of men's and home decor.

I think being an in-house designer was one of the most amazing professional experiences I ever had, because I learned how to work with deadlines but you also learn how to interpret the trends and to create designs that were applied in to a commercial fabric.
The first time I saw my designs was pretty amazing! was so great to see rolls and rolls of fabrics being lined up in the warehouse of the company to be ready to ship.
Was also pretty exciting see the garments in people walking in the street , but my biggest moment of all is when I saw my own baby niece dressed up in a lovely dress of a print I designed.

I was lucky to work in companies where resources where dedicated to send their designers to absorb and buy inspiration in the fashionable cities, and to get magazines , fabrics, garments, stickers, ribbons  and everything that can give the design team ideas and inspiration.
I got experience as a designer and also learned about production and the commercialization process. Once I even had to be a witness in a copyright dispute; that was a shock of adrenaline!
Because I went to the authorities in Mexico to "identify" my design as a result of another company that had copied a design I created for my employeer and was actually selling it in a fabric store.

Being an in-house designer is one of my best working experiences and  I certainly enjoyed and learned a lot.

Developing my own collection
I moved to the business side of textiles and fashion for a while and then I restarted my design career in 2011. After registering my business I officially became Believe creative studio
Since the beginning I knew I wanted to focus in children designs because it suits better my style and personality.
It actually didn't took a lot, because I just undusted my painting stuff and sitted at home in our kitchen table for almost 4 months; I hand painted around 80 designs. 
I also signed for Indigo-PV for the september of that year. 
I didn't made any mood boards, not trend research, no big plans, I just wanted to design, so I did.

I enjoyed the process so much, that the more I painted the more ideas I got, it was so difficult to keep up with so many  ideas flowing, that I needed and extra set of hands and eyes.
Then Indigo came and reality hitted on me: both for good and for bad, there I was finally making my dream true, but when I looked around there was some many amazing work that I honestly felt really insecure.
I did have some sales, but nothing close to my expectations. I received pretty good feedback about my hand painted work but most of my competitors in the children's market and  some customers were asking for digital work; which by the way I didn't knew how to do.
I have to confess I came home a bit disappointed, but I was determined to make it happen; to prepare my self and to be in shape for the next round.
So I enrolled to the vey inspiring and educative course "The art and business of surface pattern design" created by Rachel Taylor and Beth Nichols.
This course was so amazing and helpful that the view of my business changed in a positive way, gave me more confidence and more knowledge but most important it helped me to believe in my work and in my dream. I took the 3 modules to refresh and to actuallize my self on what was happening in the industry.

So I prepare my self for the show this year, with more knowledge and determination. This year I came to the show more prepared, it was way better, yet more stressful. Sales again were not where I expected but my business is definitely growing and my brand is getting recognized in the market in addition to this I had the opportunity to collaborate with my amazing and talented classmates from the ABSPD course. 

I think I still need more preparation in the digital design area, but I realized people do not want the copy-paste-copy-paste work. The market is actually craving for more original and more unique work.
Most of the customers actually do not really care if the designs are hand-painted or digitally created , what they ask is for the hand created feeling.
So if you can master both you are in the right path, if not I invite you to try to learn both. You do not need to be Claude Monet, mastering drawing and painting neither  Steve Jobs master computer science.
Just learn how to do your basics and start from there, if you have money invest in a course, if you don't ,buy a book or make the challenge to learn by yourself. This will give you more tools to create.

Working with an agent.
I have been for almost a year working with a renowned agent here in the Netherlands, I had the chance to have my work exhibited both in Surtex and Indigo Brussels, with no success.
Seeing my style and my agent  style is a complete different thing, so I need to learn how to adjust to their customers, to their style and their products since there are not in fashion but in Home decor, & stationary .

Working with an agent is not an easy thing for me, since I need to get out of my comfort zone, and adjust my style if I want to have any sales.
To me is difficult to create with no direction in trends, colors, etc. Is funny but I need a bit more guidance,which is personal, because I know lots of designers work better in freedom; it depends a lot in your own personality.
Is also difficult to create work and to keep creating with almost no results.
I know how difficult can be for an agent selling work since I just had a bit taste of that experience and I know that as an agent you want to sell, at the end is a win-win situation for both.

My recommendation for those ones looking for an agent, is to really check first what the agent market and style is. Do not send children work to the ones focused in Woman's wear.
When you are applying for a full time work in any area is a must you make a research in the company you are intending to work for. So is a must to research as much as you can about the agents, learn their philosophy, market, style, history, if possible visit a show where they are exhibiting to know them better.

When you actually make an appoitnement with them, make as many questions you need to know .Is better to over ask than assume.
If you work with an agent that you trust and you rely and they have the same feeling for you, the relationship can be very successful.
Is never sure when and how much of your work is going to be sold ,just try to be open minded and have an honest and open chat with the agent before signing a contract.
I was lucky I did, my agent is an open and friendly person, and since the beginning he told me that it will take time.
Choose wise, and remember as any job relationship is not a favor they hire you and is not a favor that you are working for them, is a relationship that have to be based on trust, respect, openness and even fun.

Images property of Believe creative studio

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wearing the hats.

Hello I have been away from blogging for a while. I hope everyone is enjoying the autumn!

During my career I have been very lucky and blessed to have the opportunity to hold the 3 different roles in design commercialization.
I have worn  the different hats needed to understand the commercialization process.
Although I have hold some experiences more time than others, I wanted to share my view with you about the 3 main roles :the buyer, the designer &the agent.

In this post I will focus in the the buyer:

In the very beginning I I worked  as a textile designer,one of my teachers hired me right after college to work in a leader Textile company in Mexico.
I was  doing color ways and designs by hand  along with preparing color cards according to the trends my manager was bringing from Paris & Milan.
To me this was so chic and so exciting; every time that she went to buy designs, magazines and samples I actually felt like a children waiting for X'mas presents, I always looked forward for her to come back and show us all the treasures brought from the "magical land".

With the time this became a little obsession to me, I put into my head that one day I will visit the show and be the one doing the buying the "presents".
After this job I worked in another companies I had the chance to travel to Europe on a personal trip thanks to my daddy and to see the "magical land"
Still no textile show was in my horizon, after few steps I worked with a company that actually provided me the opportunity to attend my first show as a buyer. 

I was doing textile designs for children's, and I had enough seniority to be trusted to go to the world get designs, samples and magazines for them.Woooohooo !!!I think I didn't sleep for weeks before my trip and when I arrived and I saw all the amount of people and all the amount of designs presented there that I was so excited and overwhelmed with joy that words can not described.

At the beginning I wanted of course sit with studio and see their collections and ask as many questions as words I could articulate, since the moment I stepped in the show, I knew one day I will exhibit there (and my dream come true!)

Anyhow with the time and season after season visiting the shows to buy designs  I learned to be a very active and focused buyer. I couldn't afford to spend too much time admiring the amazing designs that were presented.
After a long plain trip, jet lag, hours of walking in the shops to buy samples and inspiration, late dinners, the time I could actually spend admiring designs became very limited.
So I  focused in going directly to my favorite studios, to the ones I was at the time familiar with, that we have successful designs  from and that actually feel connected.

When buying a design you have to think not only in that design but in the potential of that particular piece to use it as inspiration and multiply it into a collection with the in house design team in the company I worked for.

I had to think not only in the trend but also in the market that I was buying for, I had to keep in mind our best sellers and also our own customers requests.
And all of this had to be done while you are watching hundreds of designs not only from one studio but form different ones, so with the time I learned to appreciate that the studio I was buying from, knew well our style and requirements.
I always appreciate courtesy and even the fact it was developing a good personal relationship with them.
I loved when I haven't had the need to go trough tons and tons of designs with the same look but a collections with a good range yet homogeneous themes.
I definitely was not happy to see same motifs repited and repited again in different designs, this can lead to your competitor having the same motif  in a different compositions , that was and is a big NO NO in the industry.

As a buyer I always appreciate the studio taking time for our company rather than to try to provide service to several customers at the time, specially if the space is limited. I always appreciated flexibility but I what I loved the most
was to see when the person in the studio love their own collection , when this was presented with passion and care, when a person is proud to present their work, is one of the things that keep me going back to that studio to do business with.

I hope this part of the experience gives you a little view of what is being of the other side of the table, I think in any successful business relationship, you have to have empathy with the other person and to do your best to understand the opposite role, this can definitely lead you to a win win situation which should be the purpose of any business.

Vintage Indigo Paris Brochure from 2000

Vintage Indigo Map from 2000

Stay tuned for the following post.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The one... great inspiration for the weekend!

I want to share this video with you, just the kind of words I love to hear to get that extra push.
Get inspired & Happy weekend.