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So I started a clothing company...

DavidLane

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I have been in business for 11 years as a leather worker, making watch straps and various other leather goods. I agree with Derek, if I spent my time making bags or boxes, I would fall behind on the work that really matters and the bags and boxes would not be as good as if I had just bought them from a supplier.

The same can be said for writing blogs, shooting images, making videos ect. Hire a professional, do your research on their work and pay them well. I can't tell you how many times I said, I can do this, I have a nice camera/ideas/experience and my stuff just ended up so so. You can also get an intern from a local college to run your social media accounts, pay them under the table if the internship is unpaid, no one should work for free, or offer them clothes in exchange.

The other recommendation I have is to get an influencer to market your product. There are a bunch on SF. But again do your research and find someone who represents the same aesthetic you are marketing so your message is not lost. I once worked a "social dinner party" monogramming leather wallets. The event was hosted by Esquire and AG Jeans. They brought in the 20+ top style influencers on Instagram and gave them all gifts, dinner, drinks, books, jeans ect. all so they would write or post about AG Jeans and Esquire.

DL-
 

bdavro23

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I think if it's evergreen content, like explaining the basics of how someone can dress better, the information should broken off and made into its own separate section on a site. A blog is a running timeline of content, and once you've written a lot of stuff, the basics end up getting buried where it's never seen again. If you write ten posts on how guys can build a basic wardrobe, that can be its own drop down section for information.

I also think you should have a good reason to start a blog on a website, and Google ranking shouldn't be a consideration. Your Google ranking is a secondary effect of having a good website. There are a million sites out there with daily coffee musings of someone talking about how they brought their kid to school and how they're made at a co-worker. Those don't rank high on Google, despite there being thousands of pages of content, because no one is reading.

It takes a lot more time than you may think to generate content people will read. Maybe ten posts, broken out into their own section as evergreen content, will be useful. But I'm not sure running a semi-regular blog is a good use of a business owner's time. You'd see more returns from generating a broader social media strategy. A blog may or may not be part of that, but writing one yourself is like going out there and trying to shoot your own lookbook.
This is great feedback and you make a good point about making it a separate section. Definitely something to think about. Thanks for sharing your considerable experience.
 

bdavro23

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Apologies for the long absence in posting, things have been a bit busy around here. Between my day job, family, $30,000 of concrete work being done at my house, and my little business, I havent had too much time to come up with much worth posting here.

I did want to take a moment to talk about commitment. It was brought up to me recently that this business of mine is and will remain a hobby unless I commit to it, and also get some enthusiastic partons to commit to me. This is absolutely true. The largest factor holding back my sales has been my inability to commit the time required to appointments with customers. The truth is that I'm not ready to leave my day job, and I want to see my wife and kid at night and on weekends. At present, the time I'm willing to commit to this endeavor means that growth will be slow, and I'm ok with that for the moment.

With that being said, it does require that I temper my expectations and keep a firm control on not getting ahead of myself. This is harder to do than it seems and the timing of things complicates the process. To that point, I am making a couple of jackets for clients for the Kentucky Derby. In a conversation with my Loro Piana rep, it came up that there was some Cashmere Cloud (93% Cashmere 7% silk) stock available at a significant discount from the normal $600/ yard price. I actually told some friends about the offer to share the good news, but then I learned there was a catch: The catch is that I would have to order 10 yards to get the pricing. Now, if my business was more mature or if I were willing to devote more time to recruiting clients, I would gleefully order 20 yards, maybe more. The reality is that while a phenomenal deal, this isnt a deal that makes sense for me to do right now. It would be really easy to get ahead of myself and jump on this because the numbers look so attractive, but I'm not there yet.

There will be other deals and opportunities that come up. Hopefully, as I slowly build this business, I can take advantage of them as they come along. For now, I need to focus on being as efficient as I can be with the time I commit to this, and delivering the best experience for the clients I work with. And while I'm at it, I get to make some fun Derby jackets.
 

Sam Hober

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Actually, there is a lot to be said for going slowly - you will learn along the way and gradually grow with little or no financial risk.

Being with family should be your 1st, 2nd and 3rd goals.

We try as much as possible to do everything in-house and never advertise - we rely on word of mouth for new customers. Sure making shipping boxes is not something we do and it has been a while since time allowed us to grow and weave our own silk but we plan to get back into weaving.

Being vertically integrated can be very good for quality control.

In our case, we make very little money but our workshop and offices are a short walk from our home. And I still have fun everyday.

So I think that you are doing very well and should stay on course.
 

bdavro23

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Actually, there is a lot to be said for going slowly - you will learn along the way and gradually grow with little or no financial risk.

Being with family should be your 1st, 2nd and 3rd goals.

We try as much as possible to do everything in-house and never advertise - we rely on word of mouth for new customers. Sure making shipping boxes is not something we do and it has been a while since time allowed us to grow and weave our own silk but we plan to get back into weaving.

Being vertically integrated can be very good for quality control.

In our case, we make very little money but our workshop and offices are a short walk from our home. And I still have fun everyday.

So I think that you are doing very well and should stay on course.
David,

Thanks for posting this and sharing your experience. I'm going to keep plugging away and build things up slowly.
 

bdavro23

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Over the next week or so, I'll post a longer message that I've been meaning to do for some time. I felt like a lot of what I was posting was pictures of completed orders for customers, and it just didnt seem to me that it was very interesting content. The short version of where things stand is as follows:

  • I'm still in business and orders are relatively consistent for a part time business.
  • I am working on a website, which is only slightly more difficult than I thought it would be, and I thought it would be really difficult...
  • I've made some new partnerships with other businesses that are starting to pay off.
  • I have expanded into a couple of other cities, and I may end up doing trunk shows eventually if I can get a little traction.
  • The first garment that just didnt fit came in (a shirt, thankfully), so that was an interesting experience.
  • And finally, I am still having a lot of fun...
More details to follow this week, and thanks to @Bromley for reminding me how derelict I've been in posting here.
 

bdavro23

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Cross post from the Extended Shoulder Supremacy thread... Here I am modeling a jacket from a suit I made for a friend. For reference, I am 5'11", 170 pounds. My friend is a legitimate giant with a 56" chest and it has been interesting making things for him.

Extended Shoulders.jpg
 

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