Challenges and Perks
"I have done everything from hand sewing the garments myself, to using home sewers, to manufacturing. Each one has had its own set of challenges and perks."
Did you go to school for this?
One of the most common questions people ask me. The answer is yes, I did study Fashion Design in college. The perks to being able to sew and draft patterns is that, I could do it myself. This comes in handy when dealing with sewers and manufacturers. A lot of them will assume you don't know what they're talking about, and this can easily lead to them taking advantage of you. If you have the knowledge on how long something will take, or what is the proper technique, it can save you a lot of headaches, and a LOT of money.
However, do I think you need to go that route? No. Absolutely not. If you are planning to own a company, and not work for someone else, then no one is ever going to care if you went to school. What I would suggest is taking a course on sewing and pattern drafting. Intern for a manufacturer or a designer, and gain the experience that way.
When I decided to stop sewing everything myself, I put an ad on Indeed for a home sewer. Before finding the PERFECT person, I found a lot of "not so perfect" candidates. The first person lived about an hour outside of the city and literally tried to sue me for not paying compensation for driving to an interview. The second person broke one of my machines while sewing a sample, and the list goes on and on. Long story short, I found the perfect person and we worked together while I had a shop in Halifax. Miss you Pam!
When I decided to move on from home sewers, and start manufacturing, I was living in Vancouver. I saw a lot of not so great manufacturers there, and was really discouraged. How could I manufacture in these types of places and not feel bad? I started looking into social sustainability, and how/where things were made became the most important component of Cassandra Elizabeth. After about a year I found a manufacturer that I still use today. Im glad I did not give up! There are really great, ethical places to work with in Canada, but not many. This creates high price points and the overused question of " Should I make in Canada?"
Tune in next time to find out my real thoughts on production overseas!
Shop local, Get years of wear. Donate to a friend.