Friday, May 27, 2011

Super Cool - Our First Fashion Shoot!

We did our first fashion photoshoot today with the advanced prototypes of the clothes. There have been a number of contexts in which the ability to show our clothes would be a help, and so we need a preliminary set of prints before we finalize the production look.

I found a great studio in Quebec City called Focus One ( - they're actually a combination of a photo studio and a modeling agency. This is a great concept that gives them a lot of flexibility. They are located just down the hill from where I live. The founder-photographer, Jocelyn Bernier, is a guy who obviously has vision. We got to talking about the fashion business in Quebec City, which is not as strong as it could and should be. Like, focus1 is aiming for the international market and is seeking to act as a catalyst for the region. Although there are a lot of young designers in the city, many are organized into small boutiques which sell locally only. There is so much potential to do more with this talent. From my perspective, the stronger the fashion industry in Quebec City, the easier it is for to find good talent to support our business, Since we are aiming for the international market, we are not necessarily in direct or heavy competition with other designers in the area - rather, they help to solidify the Quebec branding.

This was my first photoshoot ever, never mind that the model was trying on MY CLOTHES! What an awesome experience. And, even though I say this myself, the clothes looked absolutely fabulous! It was great to see the different variations of our g-zip line and notice how the look of the garment, even the way in which it moves, changes through its different tranformations. The models and stylist were also quite taken with the garments. We found several new ways to wear the clothes that even I hadn't thought about before, as an added bonus.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fashion start-up : The Light at the End of the Tunnel

After five months of intense work to get the business under way and the g-zip garment line in production, there is a light visible at the end of the tunnel! On Friday (two days ago), I signed a lease for commercial office space for the company - so from June 1st, we will have what the French call "pignon sur rue", that is, a street address and a home base for the company that is different from my house. Although a commitment, this is a huge step forward for setting the company on its feet. Production is finally ramping up after having vetted the patterns by a specialist and producing versions of the pattern for all three targeted sizes - small, medium and large. We have a confirmed date for the company's official launching (August 25, 2011), and the online store is scheduled to go live by July 31st. So all the hard work is coming to fruition. The only major source of uncertainty (I say that with my tongue in my cheek, however!) is how well our products will sell! (And hence whether we shall still be in business this time next year!)

Still, starting a company bears with it the risk of failing, and it is a risk I understand and accept. If it fails, it fails - it won't be because we did anything less than we could have, because we have put months of hard work and effort into getting it ready!

This is interesting, and I think a comment on the nature of the stress I've been dealing with. The stress doesn't come from risk of failure. The stress comes from needing to be sure that if it fails, it doesn't do so as a result of anything I could have done differently. And likewise, if it succeeds, it does so as a result of the effort we've put into it. Anything less, and I would feel disappointed in myself.

So the light at the end of the tunnel is not necessarily the light of success, but the light that indicates when the success or failure of the business is no longer strictly within my own hands. Once the public weighs in, we move forward with a different spirit, or not at all. I am confident we WILL move forward, that our product WILL be a success. Through our current efforts, the product is not only innovative, it is also of high quality manufacturing. I am also confident we have done our best to position the product well in terms of marketing, and recognize that we will continue to need to do this, especially after we launch the product line.

We are already at work on designs for the second, and possibly third, garment lines, as well as extensions to the first, so there will be no difficulty fueling the development of the company and its product sales from the production end. It is the sales that will be the determining factor, and the launch date is fast approaching!