Choosing/finding the right people to partner with in your entrepreneurial venture will be most important to the growth and success of you business.
Well, a few words of warning for those of you starting out. When looking to find the right experts in the many different categories of expertise needed to help make your dreams a reality PLEASE do your due diligence and spend the time to check references. Who have they worked for that can give them a testimonial? You should have two at least. Do a web search to check them out.
It is often a challenge to find the connections to the right resources to assist you to create and produce your first line. I have been there and know the power that some of these subcontractors can hold over you and your new business venture.
Recently, I had a couple of new FBI business owners who traveled from Arizona for their one hour free consultation through their FBI membership. I was horrified to hear their story of being ripped off and their patterns, fabrics and samples kidnapped by a certain LA pattern maker. These unfortunate new entrepreneurs had sadly found this service through a listing under the FBI resource members’ page on our website, (which I must inform you I had promptly taken down). It is important to note here that these FBI resource members pay a thousand dollars per year to be part of the organization, to support it, and to have the exposure to our over 18,000 data base we have accumulated in the past ten years of service. It is impossible to personally check them all out and their credibility. We post a warning that we do not endorse any of our resource members and it is important to check references.
We actually had another new member this week go through something similar with the same pattern maker who was charging $150.00 per hour! The second new business owner had paid over $10,000 and never received one pattern or sample! There are now small claims and the police involved as this was a clear case of extortion.
This type of story is all too often heard but not only about pattern makers. Many times I hear horror stories about sales reps. Designer/entrepreneurs get heady when they find a rep who wants to take their line. It is to them an accomplishment, an endorsement of their efforts… but is it? Or is it a scam to get your money?? Granted, finding the right pattern maker who is able to translate your ideas into reality, and then finding a sales rep. who loves your line for 12% commission plus $800.00 month showroom participation (rent money) could be a great find. But again is it? If the pattern maker does not understand your creations due to either your lack of experience in giving the correct direction, or their inability to translate your instructions, how do you know if you are not experienced? Many first time designers really do not know how to give directions and can’t visualize the finished garment with all the many decisions that are needed in creating clothing. Seams, finishes, interlining, sizes are all a small part of what is needed to complete a garment. Then consider the sales rep. who wants showroom participation fees, (rent money) and has another ten lines in their show room ($8,000.00 per month without lifting a finger)! I had a designer have this problem and no sales. After putting out money to a NY rep. for a few months I advised her to get on a plane and go and see for herself the showroom. She did and sure enough her line was nowhere to be seen. It was located in a back store room!! Or, when I had a line and a NY rep wanted to have it and I got no sales I had a friend check and we found that the rep. had cut my label out and put another company’s label in that they had been working with for a number of years. These examples are not typical and sales reps have their own problems with many new designers who give their fantastic new lines to reps but do not have the funds in place when the reps have worked hard to get the orders.
I should also mention the many business consultants who are willing to step up and help you realize your vision. They may seem to have the connection to the right sales reps and to all the other subcontractors, but do they? You should look at all these subcontract consultants as your business partners that you will need to build a successful new business venture. Again, I stress, get recommendations and do some investigation before you start to pay out exorbitant amounts of fees for services. Also, ask for discounts if you are an FBI member. J
It will mean growth, or it could result in failure if those partners are not what they say there are. Getting connected to the right team for your business needs YOU, the owner to take charge and time to find the right people. However, it is unlikely that it will be an instant happening. Sub contractors and consultants could be potential scam artists, or potentially, hopefully a productive long term partner for your business. There is no doubt, that it is very difficult to turn your vision into a profitable business if you don’t have the right team. The right team can make all the difference to your journey. Begin by getting references and referrals.