Three years after teaching myself to sew and learning the process of designing clothes, and I am now ready for the next step : launching my own designer brand business! I have spent the past four months developing prototypes for two garment lines, which I will be launching in the spring of 2011 as my first collection in production, and I am now in the process of working out the steps and the focus of the business that will market these products! I have a very savvy businesswoman friend who is coaching me through the steps… I am so, so excited, as my new career as a designer enters a whole new stage! And if it weren’t for BurdaStyle and the BurdaStyle community, I wouldn’t even be here! I’ll let you all know how this progresses as I move along.

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    Oct 27, 2010, 10.46 PMby gwynhug

    Wow – that IS exciting! Congratulations and the best of luck! I’ll look forward to hearing updates. :)

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    Oct 28, 2010, 09.02 AMby anajan

    Great news! Good luck with your business, and keep us informed of the progress!

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    Oct 28, 2010, 02.18 PMby sew4my3

    Congratulations! I am so thrilled for you! Let us know when and where we can get first sight of your labour of love.

    Wishing you the best!

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    Oct 28, 2010, 03.59 PMby Ralf Schmitz

    congrats from me too! this is really great news and i am very very curious to see your first few outfits! all the best from me……….

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    Oct 29, 2010, 04.51 PMby rachelnyc

    Congratulations, what exciting news! We are so happy to hear when the community is an empowering resource. :)

    -Rachel @ BurdaStyle

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    Oct 29, 2010, 05.00 PMby nora

    This is great news, I am so happy for your and so glad that BurdaStyle could help:)

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    Nov 26, 2010, 10.47 PMby magdamagda

    well, it’s been one month…I’m curious! :D

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    Nov 27, 2010, 02.44 AMby mlssfshn

    Good Luck, want to know how it’s going. I didn’t sell one piece of my first collection, but the economy is making buyers leary of new lines. I hope I can sell some pieces on line and am gearing up for FW 2011. Keep us posted!

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    Dec 3, 2010, 06.28 PMby gedwoods

    Well, here is an update on how things are progressing! My company has a name – we’re g.moda. “g” for me, “moda” for fashion and the dot for bridging worlds – the world of design and the world of production, the world of art and design and the world of science and engineering, the world of academia and of business, etc. I also have a website, it’s at www.gdotmoda.com – I call it a “placeholder” website because it doesn’t actually show you anything, but it does give you an idea of what is coming. I won’t be revealing details until the inauguration event which will happen late March/early April, live in Quebec City, and shortly afterward in a web-launching event. The bank has agreed to finance the start-up, so I’m good to go.

    I am finalizing the designs for my first two garment lines, in preparation to develop them in production quantities starting in January. The first line will be manufactured in relatively large quantities – the garments have been “pre-tested” for sales potential and the prospective looks good for reasonably strong sales, but of course I shall have to see how this develops! The second line is being developed in partnership with other businesses, in particular jewelers, and the numbers involved will be lower as these garments will be, to some extent, “one-of-a-kind” within a common design look. So my business will be more along the lines of “ready to wear” than tailored or unique DIY creations, but will incorporate unique elements.

    Besides finalizing the designs and gearing up for production, I have also been spending my time finding out what stores in town might carry my clothes, identifying local events within which g.moda might participate, and developing partnerships to carry the business forward. Busy times!

    I’ll certainly let BurdaStyle folk know about the launching events when dates firm up a bit! You can also sign up on our website to get updates directly.

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    Dec 4, 2010, 05.30 AMby Lauren Morgan

    I’m really happy for you! Also, thank you for posting all the steps you’re going through (banks, shops, partners). I like having some idea of what it might take to start this as a real business. _

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    Dec 4, 2010, 05.37 PMby gedwoods

    I’ve realized one of the things I have to do to put my business on the rails is to change my personal look! I have to put all that knowledge about fabrics and garments to work to create a new me! When I meet prospective partners or business contacts, the first thing they do is “look” at me. And what they see is a fairly ordinary looking, somewhat older man with nothing to shake your booties at in terms of grooming – well dressed perhaps, but nothing to single me out as a “designer type”. This has got to change if I am to be effective! So I’ve begun thinking about what I need to develop for my own wardrobe to give me a distinctive look and still be “me”. Since my garments are, so far, more black and white, my look has to be also black and white – and more black than white, I think. I am working on the idea of a custom tailored black men’s corset along the styles of one I saw when researching corsets on the web, black pants that are elegant but comfortable, and, since I need them anyway, a pair of glasses that makes me stand out from the crowd as well!

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    Dec 5, 2010, 03.40 AMby allygally

    Congratulations! I cannot wait to see your success. Please keep us informed, and I would love to be on your mailing list! :-)

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    Dec 5, 2010, 10.00 AMby katexxxxxx

    Oh, well done, Ged! Happy that this is all going so well.

    I’m setting out on a new adventure myself, but keeping the hat on it until everything is sorted out…

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    Dec 18, 2010, 02.38 PMby ejlamontm

    Getting a LOOK is very important for a designer. Have fun with it and post a picture soon.

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    Dec 21, 2010, 09.45 PMby Testosterone

    Did you get the glasses yet? Hopefully youll find frames that don’t scream “Dior wanna-be”, but still give you the thinking man’s look, with an artistic flair. Maybe something wear the frames and the temples (what hooks over your ears) are different, but work together to make that statement of fashion forward gent.

    Good luck in your endeavors!

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    Dec 22, 2010, 09.41 PMby spacey09

    Congradulations! I just hope you can make it and that your fashion line becomes a true hit with the crowds! Me, I tried, (on EBay and Etsy) and noone in the U.S.A. ever seems to want to buy stuff online! The best thing to do to be successful (if your selling online that is) is to also sell your stuff to the European Union as well!

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    Dec 23, 2010, 02.53 AMby sew4my3

    This is all so exciting! I keep checking back to see if I can get a peek at what you are up to. Thanks for keeping us all updated!

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    Jan 1, 2011, 07.01 PMby gedwoods

    My company was officially incorporated yesterday (December 31st, 2010) under Canadian law, so I’m set for 2011. I collected lots of advice over the hols.I have to say, everyone seems to have an opinion about starting a business and about the fashion industry and what’s hot and what isn’t – even people who know nothing about these things! I treat all comments as a “sponge” however, as I have so much to learn, I think any advice is worth listening to – it’s up to me to separate out what is chaff from what is good.

    I am finding out that many of my instincts as an academic are not to be trusted. As an academic, I’m used to “revealing all” (i.e. “publish or perish”), but in business this is NOT a good strategy and I am having trouble learning to sit on my impulse to “tell all”. Also, in life I’m a bit of a philanthropist – always looking for ways to help other people who are harder off than I am. I’m learning that I have to put my business first if I want it to be successful – this is not an easy behavior to modify. I need to find a new balance between doing things for the common good in ways that make my business more successful, rather than doing things that may impact negatively on the business, because I’ve always done things this way. Important lessons.

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    Jan 4, 2011, 05.56 PMby badkitty-1

    HI Ged, I am really delighted that you have stuck out into the scary business world. I wish you every success and will be checking back to see how you are getting on. It really is too exciting :) The best thing that I was ever told is that “there is no sentiment in business”. Pretty good advice for someone with philanthropic tendencies, wish that I could take it on board. Wishig you every success for 2011!! K x

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    Feb 2, 2011, 04.14 AMby gedwoods

    Here’s an update on progress, in case anyone was wondering! Although my start-up funding was approved by the bank on January 5th, the account is still not completely finalized, although we’re down to the very last details at this point. Also, despite my best intentions, January was a “slow” month, in terms of getting the designs finished. I now have several designs ready to move forward into the early stages of production, but it has taken me longer than I expected (well, I was sick with a cold for a week, and I do have commitments on my time at the university, as well).

    I’m now attempting to plan my production steps… I realized that the combinatorics can quickly lead to chaos – i.e. producing clothes in four sizes with different color/texture combos can lead to hundreds of variants before you know it – so I have to limit production to the primary color/texture choices to keep the number of variants down, at least to begin with.

    I’ve also been building my company’s website so that it attracts a clientele via a fashion blog that offers solid information to its readership (see www.gdotmoda.com/blog for details). The idea is to develop an online community of afficionados so that when the shop goes online, there’s a ready-made clientele already frequenting the premises!

    (I’ve wondered whether I should reveal all these details, but I don’t think it hurts me, or my company, to have them public and it might be useful to someone else, some day! There are some things that I am keeping “under the hat” until they are ready!) I’ve also been “pre-announcing” my business to several of my local communities to build up some level of preparedness locally… of course, now that expectations are raised, I have to deliver, and in a timely manner! There is a fine balance between saying too much, too early, and not enough, too late!

    There won’t be much more to say for a couple of months or more, until the first production batch is nearing completion and I’m gearing up for the launch event! I shall report back, then!

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    Apr 28, 2011, 03.08 PMby gedwoods

    It’s probably time to provide another update on the development of my company, for interested parties. Note that I have written extensively on the process and challenges of starting a fashion business both in my personal blog (chameleongods.blogspot.com) and also in my company blog (www.gdotmoda.com). I have to say, it’s been a real ride – I have a completely new respect for people who manage to launch a successful business. There are so many issues to deal with, it’s insane!

    Here is a general outline of progress to date : The protototypes are in the final stages of being vetted for production. This part of the process took waaaaaaay longer than I expected or planned – part of the difficulty is finding good experienced seamstresses/tailors who are flexible and open to trying new things and who get engaged in the process of developing the garments. In addition, there have been difficulties identifying the right people to help overcome the difficulties. The fashion business is a curious mixture of people who go out of their way to be helpful, and others who are highly competitive and not fully trustworthy, along with those who do sewing part-time and are not in any rush to get the job done. I’m not saying there aren’t competent people, I’m just saying these are harder to find than you might think.

    So, production isn’t, yet, finalized, but I think it is realistic that we shall have a first batch of garments made by the end of June. At the same time, we’re having an online store “built” for us. This also turned out to be a major effort, as initial submissions by companies were in the 25K$ to 30K$ for a site – way too expensive for our budget. I am now working with three different companies to do pieces of the task for a more modest total cost. The online store should be finished about the same time as the first production lot comes off the assembly line. So we should be “in business” (that is, with products for sale on the website) by mid summer. The long lead times needed to develop all of this are a lesson for people interested in starting a fashion business – don’t count on getting everything up and running in less than six to eight months. I think with a fashion degree you’d have a better chance at doing this than I did, but many of the challenges are simply “business” challenges that anyone would have to deal with.

    Ordering the fabric was a major challenge also. The trick is finding a source which guarantees repeatability. In addition, although I did know this ahead of time, we had to buy a minimum of 1000 meters per fabric, which means a rather hefty initial outlay. Although the fibre comes from China, the fabric we bought was knitted in Canada, and we had to wait while it was knitted (more than a month). Once the fabric arrived (2600 meters in my basement garage!), it became urgent to find a commercial space for warehousing the fabric snf the garments once made. In addition to warehousing, we need office space that we can also use to support the internet sales when the online shop goes live. This has also been a challenge – I’m not sure if its the time of year, the state of the economy, or what, but there just don’t seem to be that many commercial spaces available of the size we need (that is, a modest size to begin with). We’re in the process of signing a lease this week for a space which is suitable.

    Throughout all this effort, the actual time I spend “designing” and sewing is significantly less than it was last year, when I complained about lack of time to do this! On the other hand, there is a huge satisfaction in bringing the whole project forward. I am still working on my own “look”, but I know where I’m going with this now, and already I’ve changed the way I present myself to the public.

    Starting a fashion business is a true adventure – every day brings a new set of challenges. I have no regrets – the perks outweigh the difficulties. I have discovered reserves of energy, motivation and stamina I didn’t know I had. And the adventure is by no means over. I shall provide more news as we move into the next stage.

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    Nov 9, 2011, 10.08 PMby gedwoods

    Well, as those who’ve been watching my posts will know, my company has gone “live” and we have finally launched our online boutique. It took 14 months between the first prototypes in September 2010 to the opening of the online boutique, and during that time I had to learn to run a business as well as how to manufacture clothes.

    I won’t say I made no mistakes – indeed, I made several! If I were starting out today, I would do a certain number of things differently. However, you cannot progress in this life with a perfect slate – making mistakes is essentially how we learn and move forward. I don’t think I’ve made any “fatal” mistakes, although marketing the garments that are now on sale is now the most important challenge, and by no means obvious! Indeed, I seem to have underestimated the difficulty of the marketing and sales stages of the business. However, I am learning quickly!

    I did want to make a note, however, in this post, how much a debt of gratitude I owe to the BurdaStyle community. I believe that I progressed from a neophyte to an active and successful designer in a rather short 5 year period in large part due to the help and encouragement I received from other BurdaStyle members and the BurdaStyle management team. For example, being selected as a Featured Member allowed me to consolidate a sense of progression and development that was still emerging. When I was working on making a corset in the spring and summer of 2010, I met with KateXXXXXX in London and her comments and feedback helped me realize that I had moved beyond neophyte into the territory of an accomplished sewer. KateXXXXXX also suggested the course at the London College of Fashion I took in the summer of 2010, that allowed me to move into the full role of designer. The feedback I got on several of my early designs was invaluable to moving me forward into gaining greater confidence as a designer. Also, the inspirational stories of many members who had switched from other areas of activity into a greater role for sewing and design in their lives have been instrumental in helping me rethink my life. I’m thinking of Peter Lappin as one example, but Alison Kelly’s progress developing a business in and around the BurdaStyle community has also been an inspiration.

    Although I recognize all the hard work I’ve put into making my fashion label, g.moda, into a viable business, I also think that gdotmoda is a BurdaStyle success story, and one that is not banal. So here’s to BurdaStyle, and to our community’s ability to inspire, nurture and encourage sewers and designers!

    1 Reply
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      Nov 10, 2011, 02.27 AMby katexxxxxx

      Raises glass to Geoff and Burdastyle.

      Well done and thank you.

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    Nov 27, 2011, 03.42 AMby mlssfshn

    Thanks, for keeping us updated! Glad to see your doing well.

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    Jul 17, 2014, 01.20 PMby kasigrzyb

    And how your busines working today ?

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    Aug 25, 2014, 09.52 AMby gruszacz

    I’m interested to about your busines ;)

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    Sep 12, 2014, 09.12 AMby srula

    I want to have same luck as you and start own busines

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