In the summer before my sophomore year at Moore College of Art and Design, I had two vital sources of experience that were to become greatly beneficial in the coming years. First, I was interning for Autumnlin Atelier, a high-end evening wear line in Philadelphia. And on a lighter note, I decided to experiment with creating a fledgeling business on Etsy.com….
Yes, it was my first taste of both the business and fashion worlds.
With Autumn, I learned, in a broad sense, the amount of work, planning, and organization must go into a fashion show (Steampunk Convention in New Jersey). And specifically, I learned details germane to the functioning of any fashion show such as: how to package/label a garment, how to dress models (this became invaluable later as an assistant dresser for Moore College’s Senior Fashion Show) and how to adapt/react to quickly changing orders and plans.
Etsy was quite a different experience. Having no background with business planning, the problems of pricing, marketing, and shipping were waters uncharted. Nonetheless, my mind was set, and for the remainder of those summer months, I strove to carry out my plans.
My father sells vintage goods online, so to learn about shipping I was luckily able to have him teach me the basics (as well as a few savvy tips). In the area of marketing, I read through countless tutorials (provided by Etsy.com) on the best way to take photos of one’s merchandise, the best times to release your goods to the market, etc. I even went so far as to contact a few popular blogs for advertisement support. One of which (a Japanese street fashion/Lolita blog) offered my store a slot but unfortunately, the price was too high for my experimental endeavor.
The greatest challenge I found, was creating a store policy and a store profile. For the first time, I began questioning who I was designing for, what I wanted to perpetuate as an individual designer, and how I would make potential customers see me as such.
In the end, I made a small, well constructed collection,(examples above), selling but one dress. This experience was a useful exercise in culminating skills, resources, and most importantly, research. Not only did I learn what must be considered for a start-up business, I got a personal glimpse of what would be asked of me in the college semesters to come.
For now, I am keeping this blog, and do plan on eventually placing more recently created items on http://www.etsy.com.