The most surprising revelation to come from my trip to LA is that I’ll be acting as my very own sales rep.
The flight to Los Angeles was quick and painless, quite unlike the turbulent flight back. My flight departed Oakland International Airport at 6:30am and since it was still dark out I managed to get a nice aerial view of the sun rising. I utilized my time by organizing my thoughts and jotting any last minute questions I had for Leah, the sales rep/consultant I’d be meeting at D&A (Designers & Agents). My mission: to find a good sales rep.
As soon as I touched down I drove to my aunt’s house (where I’d be staying during my trip), heartily greeted my relatives and ate breakfast-1/2cup of whole oats, 1 sliced banana and 1/4cup of chopped pecans all dusted with a light coating of cinnamon and nutmeg and splashed with 1cup of hazelnut milk (I know…too much info). I was headed out the door soon after on my way to my fabric supplier so that I could purchase more sample fabric. I managed to score some ultra cool 12oz Italian black coated denim-WOW!! This stuff is extra N-I-C-E; I can’t wait to get busy with that. Anyway…
I was due to meet Leah at 12 noon at one of the eateries inside the California Market Center. I pulled into the parking lot of building, handed my keys over the parking lot attendant, hopped on one of the elevators and began my ascent into the main building. The elevator doors opened to reveal throngs of “beautiful people”, chicly dressed buyers and sellers all scurrying about in order to handle whatever business they had there. I surveyed the scene for a while, checking out the various booths & whatnot before I walked down to the café to meet Leah.
Leah arrived shortly after I sat. I had already seen her photo so I knew who she was as soon as she walked up. Likewise, she was already familiar with my company logo so she knew who I was as soon as she saw my t-shirt. In fact, the first thing she said to me was, “That t-shirt is HOT!” This was a good sign…
Anyway, I gathered my belongings and we headed inside in order to grab a cup of coffee and begin our business. I wanted her to review and critique my collection and my line sheet. Standard line sheets consist of a sketch sheet (w/product info), a swatch card (w/fabric info) and an order form. I’d made my line sheet from scratch based on information I’d gotten from reading books and fashion blogs.
When visiting my blog, keep in mind the fact that with regards to the fashion world I’m an outsider, as I have no formal training/schooling. Up until a few short months ago I didn’t even know what a line sheet was! I’m just a guy with a creative inclination. That’s it. Those are my credentials. Anyway…
Being that this is the case, I needed to know if what I did was correct. I also wanted her unbiased insider opinion of my collection. So after going over a few initial issues and items she asked to see my line. I then began pulling my jeans from my bag, one by one, carefully explaining the design concept and style names of each model. Leah watched silently, taking it all in and allowing me to conduct my presentation. When I was done she told me that she really liked my pieces.
She told me that my only set setback however, is that my four piece collection is simply too tiny to interest any strong sales reps. I was just happy she liked my styles; this was two more “thumbs up“, and from an industry person no less! It simply reinforced my belief that there’s a market for my brand.
We ultimately concluded that it would be most suitable for me to act as my own sales rep for my first season. And to be honest, I very much look forward to the experience. I’m convinced that it’ll serve to make me a stronger designer entrepreneur. Besides, I conceived oneculture so I may very well be the best candidate at this point to communicate the proper understanding of the product to buyers. There are undeniable advantages to having a good sales rep but again, I look forward to thinking my way around the challenges of not having one.
By the way, Leah said that my lines sheets were really good; I applied some personal touches that will hopefully make my line stand out…that’s the oneculture way.
There was more information shared at that table but the whole sales rep issue was the “meat & potatoes“; it was my sole purpose for attending D&A in the first place.
Anyway, I assure you that things will only get more interesting in the coming weeks as I sense lots of hurdles, financing my project for instance. And as always, I’ll do my best to keep you all informed….stay tuned!