The Blog of The Bride of Sesshomaru

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Welcome to my sewing, historical reenactment, and CosPlay blog! Here on this blog you will find all of my random thoughts about sewing, the SCA, manga, anime, CosPlay, costume making, embroidery, sewing historically accurate Japanese costumes, and my fandom of Lord Sesshomaru whom I CrossPlay as.

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

More Info On My Business Plans


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I was just posting a comment on some one else's blog and it got so long that I'm copying it to here:

I have been mulling a similar idea of my own... I even had a blog I started just for randomly posting my "start my business" ideas on, so I could see them on screen and sort out what I did and did not want to do. I think I made like 5 posts on that blog and than never went back! LOL! I need to go back and throw some more ideas around.

Well, I got my own "business" to the point where I had written up a basic business plan, not very detailed though, I need to rewrite it. And I have a portfolio of my designs that I want to do. Plus I have the business name all set up and a logo. But that's as far as I got.

What stopped me? Well, money for one. I had originally planned on opening a shop and selling direct to the public, of both custom made costumes and the patterns for said costumes to those who wanted to make their own instead of buying ready made, but after doing research into the cost of a shop rental in Portland's theater district, that was going to require a minimum of $200,000 (more if I wanted a shop on Main street instead of a side alley) because rent for a store is so high and they required a 3 year payment up front! So I temp. changed my idea from a store selling costumes and patterns to just selling patterns online, at least until I had enough money to do the store thing.

My next problem, was I had no idea how to get my patterns printed up so I could sell them! I checked with local print shops, but none of them did this sort of thing, and I couldn't find any online either. So I was sunk for a while and have not yet found a way to do this. :( I'm still researching my options though.

While I am stuck on the pattern making part, I've still been working towards my goal in other ways. Firstly I've been researching "my target audience", trying to figure out, who they are (age group, lifestyle, income, etc. etc. etc). For me, my target audience falls into the 18 - 40 age group, and are in the Goth, CosPlay, or Historical Reenactment lifestyles.

Secondly, I've been doing marketing research... where do my target audience types hang out in real life and online? How do I get word of my product out to them? How much are they gonna be willing to pay for my product? Who are my competitors? How are my patterns/designs different from theirs? How are they the same? What can offer my customers that no other patterns comp offers? etc. etc. etc.

I've got a big binder filled with my notes and ideas, and research, and stuff... about 300 pages filled so far. I'm trying to plan out every aspect I can think out, so that I can be prepared once I get started.

(I would love to hear what others, who have started their own pattern comp did to get their patterns printed and envelops made and stuff, like that, if anyone has any tips or links they could share, it'd be a big help. Cause I'm really stuck on that and Google has NOT been helpful at all. Thanks!)

I'm not planning to go big and compete with the likes of Simplicity or those guys. Though I would like to get, say about as big as Folkwear Patterns. I plan to start out with 12 or 15 patterns, and than slowly expand over time, until I have a collection of say 200 designs.

Another aspect of my goal is, I would like to do a line of books with patterns, (aimed at CosPlayers, mostly), plus a couple on embroidery.

Well, lets see what I can answer of your questions:

My proposal:
- Patterns would be in english and french.


great!

- They could be printed as booklets, because the papers never want to go back in the envelopes anyway.


ugh! fighting with paper vs envelope is such a nightmare! I like the booklet idea

- The steps would have to be clearly explained and illustrated.

always good... I often find illustrations easier to understand than the instructions, so the more illustrations the better, I say

What I still don't know:
- Should they be basic designs to be modified by the user, or artsy personal designs?



maybe you could have a line for each? one line of simple "create your own style" patterns, and a second line with the designer originals created by you?

when I'm using a pattern I never stick with the pattern no matter how simple or hoe fancy it may be, cause I like to add my own personal touches to everything.


- Should I focus on styles that are not usually represented by major pattern brands (gothic, lolita, punk, etc.)?


If that is the style design you have a passion for, than: YES! YES! YES! OMG! It is sooooo hard to find patterns for these styles. It's the lack of patterns for these style that resulted in me making my own patterns in the first place! With the "business" I was planning my goal was to design patterns for Gothic, Lolita, and CosPlay because those are the patterns I end up designing because no one sells them.

My advice is, do styles that you would find yourself wearing, sewing, buying, because if you would use it yourself, you'll be more likely to "get behind" your product and really go all out with the sale pitch.

- Should I include a few costumes as well? Historical or fantasy (or else)?

It can't hurt. The more the merrier I say. For me, my focus would be largely costume and fantasy, because I planned the patterns I wanted to sell to be aimed mostly for CosPlayers and LARPers and SCAdians, all of whom are into the whom fantasy costume thing, so those were the target audience I was aiming for.

Again, however, only add these types of things, if it is something you really believe in and feel good about having in your collection. It's no good selling a product that you added just because you thought it would help business, but you didn't really believe in the product yourself.

And most important: do I have any chance of selling any? I'm aware that I do not have any example of my apparel work on the net, but do you think the concept could work?

I don't have any of my apparel work on the net either.

I think it would work (otherwise I wouldn't be planning to do the same thing! LOL!) I think there are enough folks out there who can't find goth type patterns who would love to buy them once you had them listed for sale.



What's your take on this? I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post. Leave a comment and share your views!



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