Becoming Designers

Karen came down to Chicago and we gathered at the office of the fashion consulting company V.Mora. There were about 11 of us on the tour, including Jane Hamill and Anna Livermore of V. Mora. We all piled into the van and a driver drove us around to four Chicago manufacturers and introduced us. These places were so hard to find, I understood why we had a driver ! They were all very obliging and very busy. After we were finished with the tour, Karen and I realized not only that we knew nothing about the apparel industry – we knew less than nothing! This was a real eye-opener! It went from ‘ oh let’s make a garment that women can carry in their purse to pull out when they are chilly’ to ‘ holy crap I can’t believe the amount of time and effort it takes to make one piece of clothing!’ It didn’t take us long to make the decision at the end of the tour, that we should hire the consulting services of V.Mora to guide us through this crazy process. We had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for. We signed up for a weekly consultation every Thursday in Chicago.   Written by: Karen I remember well the day Helen and I went on the manufacturer’s tour with the Fashion Brain Academy and V. Mora. We met up with approximately 8 other designers (wait! Were we now designers? ) and traveled around in a large white van (!) Everyone in attendance was at different places along their design timeline. One young man was...

Serendipity Strikes Again…

Jane Hamill confirmed that she had two places left for the tour and the tickets were ours! Little did we know that this would be the best business decision we could make… Later on this week we decided to sew yet another pouch inside the prototype, knowing that we would want to show this to people that were going on the tour and felt we should try to do the best we could with our limited skills. In the week that followed, I spent this time researching online many aspects of the business. We signed up with the Fashion Brain Academy for their online information, which Jane Hamill refers to as the ‘online designer classroom’ where she teaches beginners in the fashion industry how to not make the mistakes that she did when she first started out. All the information was invaluable and helps to set us up for the tour which followed....

Made In Chicago

Still researching, I came across a site called the Fashion Brain Academy run by designer Jane Hamill. Not only was she organizing a paid tour of Chicago apparel manufacturers, it just happened to be coming up on Monday September 24th! BINGO!! I was so excited I called Karen and she agreed that we should take the...

The Search for the Perfect Poppet Fabric Begins….

Today was our first meeting with Ellen Jarl at V.Mora and we started by sourcing fabric through Chicago Wholesale Fabric (CWF), another big decision. Trying to find the right look, feel, weight etc. is just one part of the whole gigantic process. We looked through so many different types of textiles and were happy to have the help of Jay Arbetman at CWF to guide us. When you are starting out as we were, you take all the help and expertise that you can get, whilst at the same time keeping your idea as close to what you originally planned...

Sleepless Nights & Videos

After many hours of sleepless nights and research, we now had to figure out how and where to make our product. I thought hmm… I’ll just start looking online for manufacturers in Chicago and maybe call some places and see what is required. Lesson One: Manufacturers are not only hard to find,but they have no idea who you are and are usually too busy to call you back ! More research…in the meantime I did a domain name search and came up with ‘thepocketpoppet.com’ and created an email account for the business so Karen and I could start branding and using the name right away. Around this time I ran into an old friend up in Williams Bay, Jordan Bradford. I met Jordan when he was 15 and working as a bus boy at Café Calamari! Over the course of the years he had moved out to L.A. where he worked in the film industry and shot commercials and extreme sports documentaries. During the many sleepless nights that followed the Poppet inception, all kinds of ideas had flooded into my head, one of them being a ‘how to ‘video, to show people how the Poppet works so that they would know how to fold and unfold it. Serendipity strikes…Jordan is a videographer and he was in!!...