Friday, March 26, 2010

CRAFTernoon tomorrow!

We got a mention in TimeOut Magazine's "Things to do in NYC this weekend" -- check out the third paragraph:

Should be a good time -- hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How to make a wedding dress - Part 2a - more sketches

Here are a couple more sketches I left off the last post -- the second might be closer to what the dress will look like.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lessons Learned From Two Retailers - A case study by the WSJ

Photo credit: Reuters

I subscribe to a number of fashion blogs, including Business of Fashion, to keep up with the industry. On BoF, I came across this WSJ article, which compared the fates of Inditex (best known for the Zara chain), and French Connection. Inditex is doing incredibly well -

His 4,600 stores made a net profit of €1.31 billion for the year to Jan. 31.
While French Connection --

Mr. Marks, however, now sits atop a business that had a loss of €27.4 million for the same 12 month period and is being forced to cut back its ambitions. It is parting with its upmarket Nicole Farhi brand, closing stores in Japan and the U.S. and planning to focus on the 123 stores and concessions it operates in the U.K. and Ireland.
The bullet points:

- Inditex has maintained tight control over the business -- Zara is renowned (esp among business analysts) for quick response to customer demand (and lack thereof). On the other hand, French Connection has expanded via licensing (where you sell the use of your brand to others) and franchising (where you sell the right to open a store of your brand) -- diluting brand image and quality.

- French Connection has used shocking advertisements to market the brand whereas Zara/Inditex has used minimal advertising, instead using shop windows and store presence as a marketing tool.

- Inditex has had constant investment to its company, along with steady expansion.

The bottom line, according to the WSJ:

Get the right product in the right place and at the right price and customers will be induced to buy without the need of gimmicky advertising.

How to make a wedding dress - Part 2 - more sketches and inspiration

Katrin sent me some photos of clippings she liked. This first photo showed volume in the skirt with a tulle/organza layer peeking out underneath.

She wanted an earthy tone for the contrasting organza that would be wrapped around the dress.

She wanted a sheer neckline at the top of the dress.

I came up with a couple more sketches, which are below, to try to figure out how the organza layer would work on the dress in an organic sort of way. I wasn't 100% sold on the sketch, so I told her I would begin draping the dress and show her photos.

Which I will hopefully get to in the next week or so.

Kell on Earth - aka my new favorite show

My friend Kellan recommended the Bravo reality show, "Kell on Earth" to me recently. I started watching the episodes I could find online this past weekend and I love it. The show follows Kelly Cutrone, the owner of People's Revolution, which is a big PR firm that represents some big clients (and not so big ones), such as Vivienne Westwood (according to Wikipedia, theydon't list their clients on their site). The most interesting episodes to me were the ones that showed what happened behind the scenes of the shows Cutrone's firm produced during Fashion Week.

Cutrone is abrasive and there are times when the work environment at People's Revolution appears to be hostile, but you can tell under that bitchy exterior, she really cares about her employees and her clients. It's also interesting to hear her break down what she does -- PR and sales are parts of the business that I have been trying to figure out since I began my journey in fashion, and watching a seasoned veteran navigate those territories is intriguing.

In sum, if you want to understand the industry better (and be entertained along the way), this is a good one to watch.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Spend a CRAFTernoon with Graey!

On Saturday, March 27, 2010, Graey will be doing its first CRAFTernoon to benefit The Father's Heart Ministries. We will be teaching you how to reverse appliqué, to transform old t-shirts into handcrafted headbands and wristbands.

I got together a few days ago with my friend Diana, who has been helping me with business strategy over the past several months, and we made a couple of samples to show you:

I made this headband with a swirl and star shapes. The swirl is a cream color and the star is a pale blue, contrasting with the grey jersey of the band. All the fabric was cut from my brother's old t-shirts.

Di made this blue wristband with a cream colored star, also from my brother's old t-shirts.

The paper we used to sketch our ideas.

So bring yourself, friends, old t-shirts (you can share with your friends and trade different colors) or fabric scraps, a sharp pair of scissors, and needle and thread and we'll teach you how to do the rest.

My friend Dawn, who owns Whoopsi Daisy Bakery (see link below) will be baking yummy cupcakes for the event.

There is a suggested donation of $20, the proceeds of which will benefit The Father's Heart Ministries, "a faith-based 501(c)3 not-for-profit ministry created to demonstrate God's love through practical expressions of compassion. Through a unique blend of programs, practical training and classroom instruction we are addressing the special needs of the elderly, the working poor, the unemployed, at-risk youth, immigrants and those without social or family support. Our programs include hunger prevention, food stamps access, gang-prevention/youth development, parenting and anger management classes, ESL classes and Alphabet Scoop, our job training/mentoring program for teens. Our goal is to empower individuals to become self-sufficient, to see families healed and restored and to see them move from dependency to dignity; from poverty to prosperity."

Whoopsi Daisy Bakery:

Click here to register for the event.