Recent interview with our designer featured in Shoutout Atlanta
We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Anderson and we’ve shared our conversation below. Link to full article here
Hi Jessica, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I had been a corporate fashion designer in NY for over a decade and for years had several people coming to me asking for help getting their fashion lines produced. They struggled with how to get their fabrics sourced, prototypes created and didn’t know the first thing about how to find a good quality manufacturers. The demand was there for expert industry knowledge and management so I figured why not take all that knowledge I learned from working in the industry and help those inspiring fashion designers get their own collections developed and manufactured. This is the reason, I launched my design and manufacturing firm, Design to Produce.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My company, Design to Produce is a professional design and manufacturing firm. My clients are startup designers that have no fashion industry experience or knowledge and want to get their unique ideas custom designed and manufactured into actual product they can sell. I help them with the whole process start to finish: technical design, fabric sourcing, create technical packets, prototype development, digital patternmaking and manage the production of their goods with my factory partners. Once their production is complete, the goods are shipped directly to my clients. What is unique about my firm, is while most industry designers only have expert knowledge in designing one category, I have developed and manufactured all categories of ready to wear; swimwear, activewear, sportswear, outerwear, uniforms, childrens apparel, jewelry and accessories.
I now have 40+ clients that I am managing. Having your own business is never easy and I work round the clock as my manufacturers are offshore so I spend late evenings and early mornings communicating with them. The beauty of having my own business is I can mostly work from anywhere and I create my own schedule. I am a very organized person so that has helped a lot over the years while managing so many different clients with unique needs and backgrounds.
I have learned most recently, that I need to better manage client expectations. My experience has been that my clients have preconceived notions about the fashion industry that it is glamorous and easy and quick to launch a collection, they learn throughout the process how much time, technical skills and experience really goes into making a one garment let alone a full collection. They tend to get overwhelmed will all the information that I share with them in the beginning so before I tried not to go too far into technical details until we got to those milestones, but now let them know from the start that development can sometimes take longer due to sourcing, fabric issues or supply chain delays, etc. It’s a process and when you are seeing a unique design in a custom fabric for the first time you have to be sure to test the fabric for shrinkage, colorfastness, fit, design, etc. before ever moving to production.
I am currently working on Design to Produce Academy, a online course where my clients can take all the years of real life fashion industry knowledge in my brain, trade secrets etc. and learn it at their leisure. I have written it all and plan to launch the beginning of 2024. It will be titled something like ‘Learn how to develop and manufacture your own fashion collection in 8 weeks.’ Its something I have been working on the past couple years and the idea came to me after filming a lot of youtube videos and having people ask me for mentorship and also for those leads over the years that haven’t been able to afford my consulting services, this will allow them to try to DIY their own fashion lines. I figured, worst case if they run into a roadblock they can always contact my company for help, right? ;)
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe a lot of my industry knowledge and stamina to a previous industry boss of mine, Dionne Walsh, She was my VP of design back at my days as a Design Director for Liz Claiborne. She taught me to think outside the box, how to find infinite creative inspiration, fashion merchandising and how to run successful brands. Dionne has been a industry leader for years. I most admired her strength with troubleshooting, buyer presentation finesse and strong leadership of design teams. I have since been able to share that knowledge with my clients.
Other: https://www.pinterest.com/designtoproduce/ Pinterest