It’s tough living in the present when you always have to think about the future. We all need to look ahead, but when designing a fashion collection, it’s a must.
When I started MAJAMAS, I designed four collections a year. That meant spotting trends, seeking the latest colors and applying all this to a clothing line that would sell one year later. Sound glamorous? It was constant stress and very expensive and just like life, this model has changed.
Maybe it’s the onset of fast-fashion, maybe it’s the internet, but we’re finding fewer and fewer retailers are buying ahead. Producing a full collection for them to view 8 months in advance seems pointless. In the past, our retailers would work with us at “markets” or big trade shows across the country to view our latest and greatest additions. Today, most of these retailers are buying in the season. They aren’t able to look ahead because predicting sell thru in the garment business isn’t what it used to be.
Customers have changed their buying habits and, in my experience, they’re not loyal to one retailer the way they used to be. More than ever, these retailers have to grab the interest of their customers so stocking up heavily in one particular style, even a great seller, could be a risk. The garment business has always been challenging but this latest wrinkle is making it really difficult.
As the supplier, we must make a style our retailers don’t pre-order because there’s still a very good chance they will want it in season. If we don’t have the stock, we don’t have the sales, so not producing some of these styles could really hurt us. On the other hand, producing a bunch of stock just to have it sit in our warehouse and not sell hurts us too.
No matter how you look at it, it’s risky business.
So what’s a clothing company to do? Don’t say quit because that’s always tempting but this year, I have decided to live in the present. We’re focusing on our best silhouettes like our soft, beautiful loungewear, our versatile activewear and our amazingly comfortable bras. For those who look for what’s new in our collection, we plan to keep you busy by introducing new pieces month to month.
My dad used to say, “Once you stop moving, you’re dead.” As simple as that sounds, it’s true in so many ways. If we stop creating collections, our buyers will lose interest and look somewhere else. If we put all our money into one assortment, we risk losing it on inventory that never gets ordered.
We are going big and going season-less!
Season-less fashion? I guess that’s where we’re headed here at MAJAMAS. I am going to take the risk. Yeah, I’ll still create a Fall 2017 collection for my best Mama retailers, but I’m making it smaller. For our ESSENTIALS customers I’m going to focus on the present, creating whimsical, basic styles that no wardrobe is complete without.
Author: Germaine Caprio (Executive Member – FGI Chicago)
Owner and designer of Majamas, I designed and patented the first nursing tank for new mommas back in 1999 and Nordstrom bought it. That jumped started me into the garment business and now Majamas produces four labels that sell all over the world. When I started Majamas, I gave little thought to the environment but now I realize how important it is to run a clean clothing company so our planet isn’t sacrificed for fashion. I am passionate about making beautiful, eco-friendly clothing and I believe we really can change the world one garment at a time.