We just wanted to welcome Jia onto our team! In her former life she worked at Macy's, Ralph Lauren and Hanes as a designer and sew director. With over 10 years in the fashion industry, she has developed a passion for luxury mens swimwear and beautiful fabrics. She's launching her own brand at Miami Swimwear Week this year, which we are all super excited about.
Here's a snapshot preview of her upcoming launch!
Jia is based in New York so for anybody looking to produce in the USA, she is your girl to help out with design. She's learned a lot on the way with starting up her own brand and has a lot of wisdom to share in the arena of fashion start-ups.
We just thought we'd ask her a few questions to share with you!
What do you think of the direct-to-consumer fashion startups that are popping up nowadays?
I love it! i think it's a fantastic way for the fashion industry to move forward. It's amazing that nowadays you can use social media to directly reach your consumers instead of having to have your product stocked by another stockist. When its stocked by someone else, you lose control of the way your brand is displayed and you aren't in direct communication with the consumer. You don't know what they like, what they don't like.
Also, it's a pain in the ass to have to chase up boutique stockists for money all the time. Not all good stockists are great accounts, you really have to sometimes ask them to be paid when in fact they should have paid you months ago. If they're struggling, you're the first to feel the pinch and it's quite a time consuming process to have to check up and follow up all the time. Not to mention, awkward. I hate asking people for money!
And if you're working with a large retailer, they can also be very demanding. They have very specific requirements and you always have to deliver on small margins and tiny deadlines. It can be a very difficult relationship to manage sometimes.
Sooo you launched a successful Kickstarter! What tips do you have for us?
Make sure you engage all of your network way in advance of your Kickstarter campaign. You need to be emailing them, calling them, speaking to them about what you're doing and why you're doing it. They need to feel connected to the process, to what you're trying to achieve. You also need to make sure you have a clear brand story to tell to your audience, so they have something to share with the people around them about your brand.
And if you don't know if you're going to hit your target, set the bar lower so you'll definitely get it. Kickstarter for us was to mainly drive brand awareness, so it was a fantastic way to get out there in the open! I would definitely recommend it for anyone.
What's your favourite part of working in the fashion industry?
Design!!! I love designing. Being creative and especially helping people with their projects is one of my favourite parts of work. I really enjoy being able to give back to others all this knowledge I've accumulated through the years, and it's really great to see new brands start up and launch! Being able to guide newcomers through sourcing and sample making is super important. And also, being able to help with really good technical packs and specifications is such a critical part of execution and production that is often over looked when a brand starts out. The front end design process is definitely my favourite part. I really look forward to working with more clients on that!
Well that's it from Jia for today, we hoped you enjoyed getting to know her! You can also check her new upcoming brand out at Jlin Swim or find her on Instagram @jlinswim.
For any more questions, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org