“Dear I A Samples, could you advise us on how many pieces to include in our new swimwear collection?”
This is a question I have been asked many times and I want to bust the myth that there is a golden rule when it comes to choosing the number of designs within your collection.
Whether you are designing a lingerie collection, swimwear line or a range of jackets the main thing that determines the size of your collection is you, your resources, capabilities and the problem you want to solve.
It is easy to become inspired as a creative designer. Each design idea leads on to several variations and that is before we have even hit the fabric showrooms. In a blink of an eye, you have dozens of designs, which all look fabulous and you cannot bare to remove any styles from the range.
Does that sound like you?
Stop! Put down the pencil and step away from the paper. Designing and developing the prototypes is the easy part (see here for more information on the development process).
However producing the MOQ’s of each design, in each size and colour can amount to several thousands of units, of which, need to be paid for and stored.
As with most investments in life, you will need to consider your budget then reverse engineer the process. A business advisor can help you do this and will probably save you a lot of money and time in the long run.
In addition to the factory costs, you may need to include warehouse fees, shipping charges and, if working with a CMT unit, the sourcing and supplying of fabrics and components.
More on how to source fabrics here.
Do you intend to debut just one collection then return to the day job? I am guessing not.
The first few seasons of a designer’s life can be tough. Wholesale buyers want to see stability and continuation of a brand before they invest in it, and retail customers (as do buyers) have so much choice, that it can take a while for a new label to make an impression on them. Hence why it is absolutely essential, when formulating your business plan, to create a financial forecast for at least the next three years. This will flag up any potential problems and allow you to plan and budget for the following seasons.
As you can see, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ formula when choosing how many pieces to include in your lingerie or swimwear range.
We have developed intimate apparel collections featuring as many as 25 styles in multiple colour ways.
We have also designed and created Tech Packs (more on Tech Packs here) for new designers who launch with only the one piece.
Typically, those brands that launch with just one style have developed an innovative product with a USP, which intends to solve a unique problem for the customer. The creator will then bring out variations of the product as popularity grows and understanding of the customer evolves.
On the flip side, those who have created large collections, often choose to hold back some styles to release at a later date once they learn of all the costs involved during manufacturing.
At I A Samples, alongside the Tech Pack and sample development, we also offer small production runs of lingerie and swimwear to help fashion brands manage their stock levels.
Want to know more about getting your collection produced?
Check out the range of services we offer here.
If you want to read about what we have learnt other the last decade of working with small intimate apparel brands, subscribe to our newsletter to be ‘On the List’.
All the best