On fabric sourcing and starting small
We've spent the past few months researching and sourcing fabrics for our new designs. It has come with its fair share of struggles and we are learning so much along the way. It has also brought up a lot of questions that has us reflecting on our brand, our products and really, our lifestyle. Needless to say, it has been a slow journey but an integral part of the process.
Even though our brand has been evolving for years, we have grown our apparel collection slowly. Our first pattern, the Martina dress, was designed and sampled a year and half before we had a few quantities to sell. We struggled with finding the fabric we wanted at the price point we needed, since we could not order the minimums required by most fabric companies. After many trips to several fabric shops in Miami, we found a local, family run fabric store in Fort Lauderdale. We loved the convenience of the location and the idea of supporting a local, family run business. Our mom had bought fabric from them for years and pointed us to them.
Fabric shopping can be difficult. We were looking for natural fabrics, and while there were a lot of linens, we couldn't find the weight or colors we wanted in their inventory. Ordering fabric through the store was again, a commitment to meet the minimums. We came across a polyester in a color we liked and the price point we needed. We were really hesitant to go with this fabric, as it went against our intention to use natural or eco friendly fabrics. They told us these were discontinued fabrics, which made us hesitate even more. What would we do if we needed more to make the quantities? Eventually, we went with it since it was at the right price point and we just wanted to start.
Now as we have done more research on fabrics, we've found more sources for eco friendly fabrics and natural fibers. We've come across a few companies that require smaller minimums for ordering. This is exciting and I wonder if it means that there is more awareness on the impact of fabric making process, as well as more of a market for independent designers. We still buy a portion from our local store, linens and fabrics considered deadstock, a term we recently learned. It helps that our collection is currently small, and adds a more personal touch to the process of making clothes. This may change in the future, but for now, it works for us.