The Fashion Designer Survival Guide: An Insider’s Look at Starting and Running Your Own Fashion Business
If you could sell good ideas, many of us would be rich. It’s getting the idea into object or working project that’s the trick. And when it comes to making a fashion business out of your unique aesthetic and clever sketches or even the one-of-a-kind dresses you sew at the kitchen table, you need more than a few tricks up your sleeve.
Imagine a business where a supplier refuses to sell to you, a factory agrees to make your product but shunts it aside repeatedly in favor of larger orders, and the retailer to whom you’ve sold your product charges you for all kinds of transgressions including delivering product early (!) or late, or hanging it on the wrong hangers. That’s the ugly side of the glamorous business of fashion.
For anyone who has dreamed of making a fashion business, a book like Mary Gehlhar’s The Fashion Designer Survival Guide, is more than a guidebook, it’s a critical wakeup call. Are you willing to do what it takes to take that brilliant little dress of yours through production? Are you prepared for the roadblocks you’ll face from the very vendors who are supposed to be working for you? And are you ready for the reality that less than 5-10% of your working time will be spent actually designing?
Gehlhar is so thorough—from financing, product development, production, marketing, press, and sales—that this book is being recommended by many as, yes, required reading for the aspiring independent designer. The text is filled with real-world examples and mini case studies. More importantly, it features feedback from top buyers like those at Saks and Barney’s. And important points are broken down clearly.
In an industry that’s so heavy on image. It’s easy to forget that the bottom line is the dollar. By digging deeply into the business of fashion, Gehlhar will likely intimidate and scare off many aspiring independent designers, but those who assimilate the information and act on this book’s recommendations are going to be the designers who will not only “survive” as the title suggests but succeed at the business of fashion.