Monday, 28 December 2009
But re the akabi shoot...well the photographer is not the problem at all..we have a few options but the models...we have a girl who has worked with Exopa in Ghana previously and has an African look but commercial....i could see her in Arise magazine or something, though not dark enough for my liking but she is professional and on time...which (as a brit) is important, then we have another girl who has the most beautiful maroon skin smooth as chocolate, dark thick eyebrows and an innnocent look and who I feel looks great in the pictures but is not as experienced or professional. Its hard to choose.
We have decided against Cape Coast and have located an equally good location as advised by the photographer who did a shoot their previously. It has history, rough buildings, slightly eerie in a way but the look I am seeking - so new years day will find us down there.
The one thing I that disappoints me trying to do business in Ghana as a Brit is that even though my skin is just like theirs - as a fellow black person - all they see is English and think being English comes with money so you can imagine the haggle...
I am not innocent to this - I have travelled alot and get that in many places and it is normal in market areas for some level of bartering or haggling to take place but for business we all need to work together to help each other but....hey life....and reality....resonates through my head.
SO i will stop
Overall Accra is a bustling city that has some secret beauties that I will soon post ..... so wait and see.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
The annoyances of 'life' have stepped in to frustrate me. I had everything in place..picked up my woven pieces from Heba and I am happy - yes some minor issues but they are first samples and there are ways to hide the bad points in the photoshoot so I am not worried about that...and when it comes to making clothing I am a perfectionist but try to be a realist too. But the frustrating thing is the Plan B seamstress (who annoyingly has my first name...maybe the name made me work with her!) I cancelled going to another factory in south london as i thought it would be difficult for me to be going back and forth with work hours etc so I went with this seamstress as she is also based in east london. When i called she acted confident but wanted to meet so we met last monday and i brought 3 of the 6 pieces i needed sown. She admittedly was a bit weird in the sense that i didnt quite get her but she again 'acted' confident and said she will get her friend who shares her studio to sew with her. That that week she had a deadline for the thurs/fri but sunday they will get all those 3 done between them and if i cut out the last 3 styles they could do them for me to collect on wednesday. I wanted it for tuesday but agreed on the wednesday.
SO why oh why has it take two people 4 days to only do 3 of the 6 pieces???? This is crazy and I am not a happy bunny.
One thing my jamaican mum told me that resonates even more now is 'if ya spirit nah tek dem dont go wid dem' and i must go with my mind and my first instinct. In retrospect (oh the joys of hindsight - dont you just hate hindsight and the lessons she teaches....)
I had cancelled using the other factory but now regret it...they had a better set up too and more professional. But hey i still have today though it means running out of work at lunch to get to bethnal green to get back to work, get to the bank, fix my sunglasses and get home to pick up my two suitcases and large carry on bag - GIA please dont be silly with weights now - but thank God i did book with Ghana International rather than BA! How depressing would that be with all the strikes.
Overall God is good - as I said I am an organiser and I always have another plan - Plan C are the workshop in Ghana who are also sewing for me for my bridal business - Ruth can sew up any pieces not finished.
Okay so I have had my rant...now in with anger out with love - breeeeeaaaaatttthhhheeee - all shall be well....sunshine I am looking forward to being covered by you!
Ghana here I come!
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
SO much creativity out there and proves recycling can be contemporary.
I know that i have missed dates to get the summer range in stores and they are cutting back on their budgets for that season and preparing for winter 2010 AND sticking to who they know so it seems i will have to sell via other means direct to customer and online which also means my costs wont have to be so high as i thought they would be as i am cutting out the middle man.
I also brought one of the parachute jackets, 4 of the eco print bamboo tees and an african cotton vest dress style to the meeting and the response i got was quite positive. At the moment its been family giving their opinions and the odd close friend who has passed by my studio/bedroom :) and commented on how they liked particular styles. Quite promising really and helps to boost my confidence too.
So i have two suitcases packed - one with my stuff and the other with akabi clothing (and the little teddies too!!) I can only carry 23kg in each suitcases so i am trying to be careful not to overload and am deciding on putting some stuff back.
I must admit i am getting evern more excited but also very nervous too. This is an important trip for both businesses and for personal so lots of emotions going on at once but things are looking good on all counts and i truly thank God for opening doors.
What is positive also is that though the mentorship programme finishes in jan 2010 that David will continue it for at least another 6 months as there is more funding coming from europe! That will really help. Oh and he also said i must have at least one sale before end of march 2010. Better get moving!
Monday, 14 December 2009
Samples from Kenya are confirmed will be with me today and tomorrow and looking at the invoice though a significant price is actually not as bad as i though it would be including delivery etc so very pleased as it means though my woven styles would be pricey due to materials and workmanship...that my knit/jersey styles will be reasonable price to wholesale and retail.
My leotard all in one style has been named as my 'lady gaga' outfit.... not as outrageous as she would dress but interesting enough and I would like to send some of them to particular music artists to wear as I think that style in particular has the X-factor (how rubbish was the result last night...i am persuaded that its old ladies that vote these days as Joe did not deserve to win....i seriously give up on that show) but 'Small Island' on BBC1 (adaptation of Andrea Levy book) was fantastic (and a good version of the book - not too much dramatic license in there) and highlighted to me another aspect of my parents and grandparents when they came over to London from the Caribbean. Great costumes too - well done beeb!
ANYWAY back to important things :) seamstress in London should be finished by Wednesday (the day BEFORE i leave!) and so will the factory in London too. SO I think Wednesday will be a run around day. Good thing i started packing my clothes last night - so just to sort out shoes, toiletries, accessories - stuff for photoshoot......
Things are going well in Ghana - photographer, model, venue in place - its all very very exciting and I am a little overwhelmed.
So getting one more new suitcase as my old ones have been around the world to a point that they are screaming to be laid to rest (good ol' faithful...you shall be highly missed...but 4-wheelers are the way to go especially when you have to carry two suitcases AND a carry on bag...my poor back). Once i get that then will pack all my samples ready to fly oh and all the little gifts....you cant travel to stay with people and not bring a 'lickle' (jamaican style) something for the 'aunties' (african style) et al.
Therefore nearly there but not too much more to do!
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Bright orange on khaki green recycled ripstop....it looks amazing!
I am very excited.
I will go to see the seamstress (option B as the factory wont be able to finish all samples) i see her this weekend and will take out all pieces that I will cut out and prepare for her so she just has to sew.
I cant wait to see them all too.
Oh and Kenya factory have finished my samples too and they will be on their way to me via switzerland (dont ask!!) so i pray i pray i pray ... they come to me by monday evening...
how much is fed ex switz to uk?????
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
I attempted to hand dye some organic trimmings and though they came out kinda alright (a few tie dye looking parts !!) but the colour match to the fabric is a little trial and error...what to do what to do :)
but they match the drawcords anyway.
But yet another annoyance (private scream!!) one of two seamstresses I have found has subsequently hurt her back the day I am to come over and bring her the pieces and cannot sew for me....aaaagggghhhhhhh (public scream). Good thing i had another one though she is obviously not a phone person so i do have to chase her a little bit. I just hope that she can do them all - 3 all in ones, 2 pants, 2 jackets in less than a week
I will pray pray pray....it shall get done
(oh wow she just now text me back....good good)
Either way I am happy to get my fabric, the factory in london are actually nearly done so i will visit them a few times over the next 7 days. Its just very intense and very difficult to get around to do these things when you work but i cant afford not to work. Got my credit card bill this week and screamed out loud (yep i am tending to scream quite a bit recently - stress, panic, stress, panic) but once the funding comes through i will be able to recoup the debt on that which will bring me back to zero.
slowly slowly but i am getting there
lots more psotings to come over the next week...enjoy the ride...its gonna be bumpy
Monday, 7 December 2009
Asos will firstly be opening up an Ethical part to the site 'The Green Room' supporting and showcase ethical brands AND more interestingly will be starting an Asos Africa Range
Asos is seeking new brands for the site and said its criteria was brands or labels that “promote people and the planet”.
To support The Green Room, Asos is to launch an ethical own-brand range called Asos Africa selling clothes sourced from community projects across Africa. The etailer will also team up with fashion bloggers who will create organic T-shirt designs.
I will certainly be on their case to showcase Akabi...watch this space.
i will get the first embroideries early this week but need to complete all designs to take back to him to embroider the logos before i travel to Ghana next week.
One week to go!
I admit last weekend i did kinda panic a little after i came back from the factory as they are going slower than hoped and i was unsure they would complete in time. But thank God i have two seamstresses in place to take over to make sure i can get all done i time.
The only thing that is strange is my impression of everything as i get closer to completion...im not sure i am happy with the designs, some of the samples, the logo, the print ideas.....but as a designer by trade i know that is what tends to happen when you look at something over and over again. But i will focus focus focus
On a positive my boyfr (who is being a sweet sweet guy and a great support) has tracked down another 2 photographers in Ghana for the photoshoot...as the photography tutor we were to work with had a bad motorcycle accident some months back. So we have that in place, model and make up artist to be confirmed but options there. I am hoping to do a video shoot alongside the real shoot to go on you tube...i am getting excited btu will feel better once all 'my babies' are in my arms :)
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
But for now its a little bit of panic stations...the workshop in London are on a bit of a go slow. In two weeks they have made 4 pieces and they are not completely finished...there are 3 other styles in 2 or 3 colour ways and they cant promise to have them done for me to take to Ghana for the fashion shoot.
Whatever happens i will have my sample babies...
There is an option B but they are based in south london and i am east so it can be a issue getting to them and they charge twice as much but i guess i will learn from this first range how to get things done on time.
I am even considering not having a winter range but producing only a summer SS11 to give me time to get things in place as the winter season will only be rushed. Plus with my initial concept to use Batik and Kente within the range it may be better for summer...though Kente would be better for winter...oh my brains .. too much thinking :)
So now i have 3 more styles to get done and one that iwll have to wait until i am in Ghana as I will work with the batiker to do an all over print and get it made int he workshop i am working with there.
I do see it going well and I do see the clothing photographed in the locations i am thinkig of there and it being a great shoot. (though the photography tutor who would be doing the shoot is still recovering from a motorcycle accident so may not be well enough...BUT according to my Boyfr his students may be available and able to do the shoot.
Either way i am keeping calm... not thinking of the christmas presents i need to buy for my 9 nieces nephews and God-children, for my mum, boyfr mum and dad and aunty in Ghana...or the things i need for my trip OR the business stuff to sort out before i go OR the uni work i have to do in the next 10 days...mmmh i am not panicking but keeping calm and leaving it in Gods hands...let him worry about it....and me....welll i am off to bed...resting my head. Tomorrow is another day!
As quoted on their about us page
Could be one to donate a percentage of profits to
Wow - what a statement
Now its not so new - but it is relatively new for me as i have only started to read this mag for the last two issues and i admit i got them discounted at a trade event so.....okay im late.... but i must say its a good educational read and this months issue with live aid initiator Claire Bertchinger had some interesting words of wisdom.
Firstly the butterfly effect and how the movements, flutterings of a butterfly can effect and cause chaos in the elements on another side of the world...chaos theory that is and she relates it to us being people who make a difference or small movements in one place in t he world that can help people and cause a BIG change in another side of the world.
Plus loving the quote, which is my personal mantra for the last 3 months admittedly stolen from Mahatma Gandhi, to be the change you want to see....so powerful so meaningful and so important...so that is what i am aiming with the business and what i do in sustainability.
Feel like i have been in church!
But for me reading up on sustainability, and studying Ethical Fashion at present, and with the Copenhagen Climate Summit just around the corner, more and more makes me consider life in a new way. i imagine earth as it must have been in the day of Adam and Eve and look at how it is now and people so so sooooo concerned with materialism and the NEED to have the latest gadget.
I have been told that i really should have a blackberry and my colleagues at work (yep i work too as well as doing my masters AND establishing two businesses...i mean who do i think i am....crazy!!) and i think in my room at work i am the only one without either an iPod Touch or an iPhone...the peer pressure to give in.
I do love those objects of desire and have been a fan and user of apple product for nearly 10 years now but i am aiming to simplify my life and not to have too much things around me....country living thats my aim...as my close friends know the quiet parts of Canada and the Caribbean is my settling pad...watch this space :)
Sunday, 29 November 2009
I just spotted her The Freestyle Eco-Block Ring colab with Good Wood.
Toofly was inspired by her favorite tunes as well as the graphic ethnic shapes native to her home country of Ecuador to create the Eco-Block ring. The rings are beautiful neon colored wooden pieces that were hand crafted in Ecuador and hand painted by Toofly and her sister Joanne Marie. (http://www.missomnimedia.com/categories/news/fashion/)
NOW these are fly!
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Firstly - i contemplated converting to conventional printing for my tee shirt graphics as the supplier i was going to use could not do the printing on the bright colours i wanted with their eco-dyes
But thank God whilst researching for the Eco Design Fair happening this weekend I came across another eco-friendly screen printing company!
Second issue - not so good - the lovely Emily is now working two full time jobs (dont ask me how) but she wont be able to work for me in the capacity that she has. I feel Emily is a great patterncutter and a professional and am afraid to let her go but i dont want to force her to overwork to include me in her busy timetable... its a crying crying shame and i will now have to seek a replacement...begrudgingly
oh and...3 weeks and counting to get all my stuff together...still yet to call David my mentor...embarrassed, busy, ashamed, i dont know but i need to speak with him for a catch up soon.
Lastly forgot to add....my bridal business Latibeau is now Ltd!! It is officially registered as a social enterprise not for profit business and exciting start to what I believe will be a great empire in the near future...watch this space!
Saturday, 21 November 2009
I made some very interesting new contacts and thave to get networking even more as I plan to connect more with Cool Ideas and to visit Phenix when i travel to Uganda next year. Aura Textiles was also good and so I now have a supplier I have been seeking for gift products for Latibeau.
Talking with Mantisworld as always, was interesting and an eye opener into the reasons why trading with Africa is a problem and that only 3% of cotton boll farmed in Africa is actually produced in Africa and that, shockingly, the other 97% is sent to India to be spun into the cotton fabric. (I am still confirming percentages for my own research but these figures are not far off). Overall I am glad to have spoken with them and have been told that there will be a possibility to visit their factory in Tanzania too when I do my East Africa trip (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania)
One contact that I did make and may seek to intern with along with seeking that from Made-By, was BioRe / Remei in Switzerland. They have a project with Tanzania but inform me that the cotton farm is far from the airport and that i will need a driver to get there and its very expensive and risky. So more research needed. I met another lady - Joy - a jewellery designer from Uganda who has many contacts there and can help me to get around and to meet the right people.
Overall much kudos to Tamsin, Dani, Joey, Josie and the team at EFF for the great start to this annual tradeshow. It left a positive vibe and was great to see people connecting, working together and not apart from each other.
Looking forward to next years event.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
a new label i am very excited about and an encouragment to what i am planning with Akabi...i cant wait to visit Kenya next yearJohari, which means ‘something precious’ in Swahili, is a Social Enterprise that not only produces exquisite hand-crafted clothes and jewellery, but creates opportunities for vulnerable young woman in Kenya - so that they can build a living for themselves and their families.
Johari supports sustainability as 100% of the profit made by Johari is used to support Miale Community Programmes of the Sumerian Foundation, one of which is our Apprenticeship scheme.
(ref from johari website)
These dresses are two of my favourite from the SS09 collection, the SS10 is looking great and i thank Denise Ross for a sneak preview
Check out the foundation too...http://www.sumerianfoundation.org/MT/newfoundation/
Saturday, 14 November 2009
I went zip hunting as the Kenyan factory cannot supply the zips unless i order a bulk as they order them from their YKK supplier who only sells in 100 piece orders per colour. So i went to suppliers in the UK and haberdasheries only to not find the right colours in the open ended metal teeth cotton tape zips i need (something i really should have researched ahead of time i guess...) so i decided to and was advised to by a fellow fashionista who has set up her own label to dye them. SO i hunted for natural dyes as i also wanted to dye the recycled polyester i have and firstly it was a nightmare to find the dyes and to get them in the 2 days i needed before i post out the zips to kenya AND you cannot dye nylons with natural dyes or even standard dylon dyes! It needs an acid system to dye it. On deep thought i decided to scrap the extra colour ways i wanted the nylon to be and decided to use the colours it was available in.
Its all a bit of trial and error this season 1.
I am also concerned if i have totally missed it for spring summer 2010 and if i should aim for winter??? but i feel i could still approach the stores and sell online too. But i may have to order so many styles in sizes and colours by easter when i go out to kenya and bring them back with me so they can go straight to stores.
There is so much to do and i am feeling more and more tired with work, uni and two businesses but i am nearly there and christmas will be for business but also for holiday.... i cant wait :)
So wednesday i sit with Heba to get all the woven styles made up ... making that 8 styles i believe....aagggghhh i just remembered I need to dye the hemp fabric!
roll on chrimbo ....
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
But i have persuaded them to continue with a style they already did a rough sample of for me but said to leave the eyelets and rivets etc as they dont have the right machinery so i will have to get them completed here.
I now need to contact Heba again in order to see if they can take it or Or speak with Eden Sampling who are not so local for me to take fabric back and forth too but they may have to be plan b or c right now :)
But I am pleased with Kenya just gotta get all the trimmings for them and the graphics needed to be done too in a very short time but i should have all back to me by the end of November. The courier recommended is cheaper and actually more reliable than DHL (isnt that funny!) and so I will test them out and then in the new year for production I will join the container shipping with the factories sister company in germany...so slowly but surely its all coming into fruition. I am birthing one of two babies.
I had a battle with me for a while and something that this lady and I seemed to agree upon. It is a slight annoyance of designers or shops who sell ankara fashion to the european market as a new invention but it is a simple dress just made in fabric that has been known to be 'poor mans' fabric in some African countries but yet these stores and designers will sell it for ridiculous prices. The worse is when they have had it made ni Africa and those in the know KNOW that it was cheap to make as there are tailors who will charge incomparison - small prices for what is more than quadrupled in the shop. And i dont buy into the fact of it being about import charges and costs .... i dont buy it.
There is a company whose regular campaigns i simply adore and wish they showed at the major fashion week. They are a dutch company (now i wont go into the origins of ankara / wax print fabric) and they supply the fabric but also show in a campaign how it can be used
Here is their recent campaign story
Thursday, 29 October 2009
The workshop Heba are overwhelmed with equally urgent work and so I will have to wait 6 weeks to get back all my samples. They showed me a couple they tested out...which took a week to do but were good. The first one had things i would change i.e pleats in the wrong direction...but hey the toile was like that though I did tell them to follow the edited and correct patterns...but easy mistake and they can amend it for me.
Funds are on the low side still and funding I expected have not manifested so its a difficult one right now to balance out the money side of things...normal small business issues.
I am just eager to see them made up. Emily updated the windbreaker style and it was much more voluminous now and looked GOOD. I really wanna see it in the flesh now and cant wait! I am still excited though and believe I will have ready for Christmas. Mentor David is soon back form his hols so I am a little anxious to tell him that i have nothing to show him. I am praying that he will continue to mentor me for another year as I think when I come to him with samples and photo shoot then he will be able to advise me more as to getting into stores etc right now its a waiting game and not much he can do except help with contracts which has been very useful.
I, by chance, met lovely Nicola Wood from Beautiful Soul at Heba this week. We met previously at a networking event and encouraged me to keep going. Her business though in its early days has two seasons under its belt so she gave me advice from her experience in order to keep going and not to give up even when time gets tighter and busier.
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
I actually preferred the name Adili it had a great meaning but i understand their reasons for change anyhow they are one of the first online ethical supply bases for new ethical designers and one that I plan to sell my range of Akabi to.
The blog is cool though and they have their latest AW09 range on the main site too. I have noticed a change in the look of what they are doing..the fashion pieces and then the basic basics - very American Apparel - seems to be the way to go and i better take note. Give the people the staple pieces needed for their wardrobe but all ethical and organic...i love it...i also love that the London store is due to open in November...i cant wait!
Monday, 26 October 2009
Well after getting stuck in customs my little teddy friends have arrived safe and sound
Deciding on which maker to use as I really don't want to go down the China route though it is cheaper .... i will stick to my ladies homemade method. The final product is very good and it has the edge i need and room for development of design too.
Watch this space with info of where to buy!
Saturday, 24 October 2009
Emily you are a superstar.
I have the patterns all completed and will be ready by Tuesday to post out to Kenya. I have decided to definitely go with them but one of the styles I will make up in Ghana as I want it to be done by batik as an allover print as i feel my collection lacks prints.
But i did a proper colour overview and i was so pleased with how the sketches look and i am really excited with a leotard piece i have...kinda funky and probably will be the most expensive piece to buy - very fashion very edgy but very britsh urban. The colours I am now using give it more life as i originally was going to do them muted but i want to add fun to my range and that is important.
Ok so will post to kenya through dhl and should God willing get them back before I go to Ghana for christmas where i will do a photoshoot.
I have a model in Togo where i will be visiting and am preparing an african effect shoot.
She has been working hard on establishing her label Jezreel - the hebrew word meaning 'God plants'. I gotta plug this brand for the innovative designs in accessories. She fuses leather and ankara and creates beautiful accessory pieces you will love for your wardrobe
Her tenacity to get her business up and running is an encouragement to new designers
check out designs at http://www.jezreeldesigns.com/ they can be bought through my asho website store
(see following post!)
Thursday, 22 October 2009
the designs are crazy-beautiful. I see alot of designers who mix the african fabrics with street styling and some times it often just looks wrong but i feel this designer has brought in her own heritage and personal style into the pattern cutting and design vision.
The label GADOFKA is Achamyelsh Biftu Bojia a womangirl whose imagination is filled with curiosity,innocence,fantasy,theatre, experimental films, modern dance , no boundaries, tradition and music. Achamyelesh Biftu Bojia was born in Germany and is originally from Ethiopia but she believes in another life she was married to Jean Michel Basquiat and the daughter of Miles Davies.However Gadofka was born in 2008 after Achamyelesh Biftu Bojia created the collection AFRICANICALPROGRESSIVEMADNESS for A/W 09, which is expressing all her experience in life and everything she has observed trough her journey so far. That includes the African heritage materials from Ethiopia and Nigeria. The collection itself is an echo for her life. Gadofka is a storyteller, it is the messenger of the african culture . Every print is telling a vibrant colourful story. Achamyelesh Biftu Bojia is a messenger of her own and culture, a true storyteller. She celebrates life and she believes in no boundaries and with a little bit of fantasy, braveness ,patience and optimism we can break limitations!
Achamyelsh Biftu Boija, we gotta talk girl
Saturday, 17 October 2009
"Our enterprise programme offers production work through links with new designers, the opportunity to become involved in product design at Heba and a small number of subsidised workspaces for women who want to start a new business." http://www.ssba.info/heba.html
Sunday, 11 October 2009
I do believe that season two will be easier than one as at present pricing and timings are all over the place as I am in a learning position but by next season I will have something to base my pricings and timings on. So what is happening now? Emily has started to edit my patterns and I will be taking them to Heba this week (a womens cooperative workshop in Brick lane - lots of small design companies use them and their reputation is good and the finished product also is good). They will make up product for both companies. I also have to send patterns to kenya to be made up too. (via germany) I am deciding to make all my jersey styles organic cotton now. Though i have already spent a chunk of my budget on fabrics that finally came through customs (it wasn't that expensive a fee really - just annoying like i said) but i am thinking the bio/organic cotton that the Kenyan factory used is farmed in East Africa locally and i want to support that business. It would also be cheaper and better for my carbon footprint to not source cotton from the usa which originally came from china or somewhere and i want to be transparent in my whole supply chain.
Its my aim to support Africa through my business as much as possible so am building contacts as I go along.
Monday, 28 September 2009
And the other stuff - that would be import taxes.... i really need to get clued up on all this as it is rather confusing. The fabric i ordered from the usa for my sampling has arrived at the borders and i am being charged a small but annoying vat and clearance fee. I had been warned about that but am now living it.
very annoying but very adult business stuff that i better get more and more used to and it is stuff like this why the idea of buying fabric locally and making in the Uk would be fantastic yet due to my aims of business is not possible or feasible
the journey continues to the next junction...
Monday, 14 September 2009
One major factor now is finance....my budget is reducing extremely that I am unsure I will have enough to make them up and so may have to look at my overdraft for now.
Also to do now are to resketch all styles into illustrator (as easier to edit) and colour them up properly
OR once they are photographed I could colour them up then.
I also need a white parachute to make up some styles....
Still lots of little things to do including hangtags to purchase, labels in organic cotton to buy and even to look at who will do the embroidered logo to all styles...kenya has facilities so i could do those with them ro even send all out to them to do but i would rather keep the uk ones here and get a company to embroider them here if poss
This fashion game is definitely more than i originally envisioned....lessons of hindsight too ...mmmh.
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Monday, 7 September 2009
I actually have a few options but of course it all comes down to the price of the bears. One manufacturer/seller actually gets them produced in good ol' china....often an issue for me for obvious reasons and then there are others who make them by hand...but then they will probably be more costly....what to do what to do. Cheap and cheerful...but you dont know the conditions they are being made in OR locally made supporting talent in england BUT much more money..mmmh mmmh......i think this is a TBC moment....
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Friday, 28 August 2009
SO i feel better about that now.
Oh did i say i am reading E-myth by Michael Gerber...fantastic book...looks boring on the outside but i am thoroughly enjoying it...started it couple days ago but will probably complete it by middle of next week...that good!
Anyway bank holiday here i come!!
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
SO now its down to me ordering the rest of my fabrics and getting my act together as I want this baby out by mid sept / end sept latest.
Also because Im due to start my Masters end of sept though it does mean REALLY tightening my belt as im taking a paycut to do this...am i crazy...mmmmhhh....well i trust God to work it all out and will push with the bridal business too in order to bring in more revenue
This really is about pushing hard...the contractions have increased by the minute and the time for delivery has approached fast.
But im still excited and keeping motivated.
Im planning to go to a few free business events...Clinton Swaine, Great Expectations, T Harv Eker and I am finally reading 'E-myth' a well over due book i was told to read by a random entrepreneur business guy i met on the train...The book is very very good. I thin kthough i bought it before i never read it as the cover makes it look quite boring and intense business book but as i read i have found it quite personable so i reckon i will finish it quite quickly and hopefully it will keep me on the road to business success and positive rewards.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Poor Emily was overbooked and only managed to make up 6 of the 9 styles i gave her but they look alright..just need to be fitted now and so there are still 5 more to complete and fit and then finally i can get them made up in real fabric.
I now have to go over to David my mentor tonight and just take what i have
wish me luck!!
Monday, 24 August 2009
i will see Emily, patterncutter, tomorrow with the 9 styles i have given here and i have two more to add to her bulk work :)
aside from this i am contacting printers for the tees...apparently its 25quid per screen for the placement prints...and i also plan to do some in batik too so that is around £15/20 a yard...this is really amounting up and i understand truly why people give up because they run out of cash
so lots to do but looking forward to gettin g the toiles from Emily and sourcing a sampling house to make them up in London now that I know Kenya factory are capable of making them up I am nearly good to go!
Friday, 21 August 2009
Last night i was 'gently' told by my boyfriend that he is not happy with me doing so much as i am not eating as i should be and not sleeping as i should be. I am putting my health at risk by stressing myself too much and he wants me to calm down, pray more and basically get myself together. So in a sentence to sum up my feeling on that...well i was well told!
I have overdone it and need to get back to my plan of action and not take on any small little sewing bridal jobs unless i really need to. My aim is to get product ready for a bridal show for end of september and in relation to Akabi my aim is to order fabrics and get them sampled up by end of September too. Problem is i still dont know who i will use to sample them up in real fabric. I have now bought 2 war era parachutes and will recycle them into my outerwear and poly based styles and have narrowed my fabric needs to organic cotton/soy/bamboo for tees and jersey dresses, organic denim/hemp for denim styles, fleece hemp/cotton/bamboo for sweat tops and recycled parachutes for nylon outerwear styles.
SO planning is this weekends task...graphics to be in place too
until next posting
Monday, 17 August 2009
I am presenting the african fashion show i am helping out on, tomorrow at a seminar on africa and fashion and manufacturing there. I have been offered a table to promote the show and also to showcase my work. i am happy to have the table etc but i know i only have two samples made and even those two are not in the correct fabric...so i have decided to put up promotional packs for the bridal wear business i have even though its not mentioned on the seminar notes.
So i firstly was beating myself up for not having stuff done in time but i believe if you wait until things are in place then that is better than rushing to get things done early. i want to launch with my and not half measured...so watch this space!
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
So next week saturday I should have the photos and can get things moving on that side.
Right now pattern cutter Emily is working on 9 new styles for Akabi and we agree to complete those for end of the month. Then i have 3 more complicated styles for her to do then will send them all out to Kenya to test sample.
I am now to order my final sample fabrics as I must get these done by end Sept latest as there are a possible two African themed fashion show events that I would like to launch at - October and December and maybe one in Southe Africa next year 2010 in line with the SA World Cup.
On a recent one day course i did in internet marketing i spoke with a classmate who introduced me briefly to her webstore To be honest i made a note and could have bypassed it but because i enjoy networking and see it as imperative to business i emailed everyone i met on the course whose details i have collated and checked one of their websites. This was using the webstore she told me about. I looked up the webstore companies other customer sites and feel though i may not use it for Akabi I will definitely use it for the bridal and homeware business i have been running for awhile. It would be perfect!
So like BT tagline says 'its good to talk'!
Thursday, 6 August 2009
Africa, as I keep saying it...IS the future.
SO i have seen the lovely emily and she is starting on my patterns and toiles which once done i will send out to the workshop i have been introduced to in Ghana. My issue now is i need some batik work done but wont be back in Ghana until december so how to create batik without much batik experience just so my samples can be ready in time and not having to wait until december to do that...all these challenges and time lines are things not considered in the beginning and why planning also is KEY.
But I did attend an interesting business event and am speaking with the organiser Sam to act as a business manager who will have a slightly different outlook to my fashion mentor David. My mentorship with David ends next easter so I want to build new relationships to help take me through the 3 year period that 90% of businesses tend to fail by.
A great things said by Robert Kiyosaki on his CD set I have is that if 9/10 businesses fail than rather than back down..open 10 businesses ...at least 1/10 will succeed!
update to follow.....
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
|I saw this advert on the website fashionunited.com and felt horrified. Yes I know I dont have all the details but it is true that alot of these things DO go on in the fashion industry and even more reason why I have made this decision to go down the ethical route with my clothing label. |
Gap & Levi's caught in pollution scandalSunday, 02 August 2009
| A factory that makes jeans for Gap and Levi Strauss is illegally dumping chemical waste in a river and two unsecured tips where it poses a hazard to children.The scandal was uncovered by a Sunday Times investigation into pollution caused by a plant in Lesotho, southern Africa, which supplies denim to the two companies. |
Dark blue effluent from the factory of Nien Hsing, a Taiwanese firm, was pouring into a river from which people draw water for cooking and bathing.The firm was also dumping needles, razors and harmful chemicals such as caustic soda at municipal dumps that have attracted child rag-pickers as young as five in search of cloth fragments to sell for fuel. Many of the children, who work for up to 10 hours a day, complain of breathing difficulties, weeping eyes and rashes.
taken from fashionunited.com
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
SO i have fabrics ready to be bought, and being researching for recycled hangtags company suppliers so things are moving but blooming heck it is getting expensive and my measly budget is dwindling quickly...now i understand how starting a fashion company can be expensive and even more since I am also relaunching my bridal business (more to come on that closer to launch date!!)
NOw i just have a message that my lovely friend Sonya who has been helping with graphics is due to go back to her home country and wont be able to do any graphic work for me for a while...i scream...you must have heard me from where you are. Very happy for her and she has promised to work on stuff for me from her home but my days what a shock. Well at least I have yet another place to visit and go on holiday too... and thank God its somewhere sunny too cos Lord knows the hours i am putting in recently i will need a good, hot sunny place to visit just to chill out!
have asked to have my profile on the site showcased in a presentation for their relaunch party this week!
here are his words
|EFF Network Profile |
For the upcoming launch party of the network we have been looking for
some members who’s profiles represent exactly what the network is
about! We at the EFF think your profile does exactly this; you connect
easily with people, contribute to discussions and really make the most
of being part of the ever-growing network!
At the party on Thursday we will be having a looped presentation that
will be running throughout the night consisting of various ethical
fashion images as well as examples of fantastic profiles on the
network. We would love to show your profile as part of this.
If you are not comfortable with us promoting your profile in this way,
please let me know.
means i am doing something right!
Friday, 10 July 2009
Now on registering my business all was fine re the business name but going for the site now the domain is already taken by someone in the USA and if i want to buy it off them the minumum they would accept is 101dollars! Now even with the exchange rate it still equates to about at least 65quid....so i debated whether to add www......designs.com or www.......studio.com or www........clothing.com to the end of the name (im specifically leaving the name of my brand out until it it all up and running...i know the suspense is killing!). I ended up going with designs...but still a little unsure...it has to grow on me i guess....
Thursday, 9 July 2009
Kuyichi - being style conscious
Their concept of 'spare denim' basically a method of recycling and usage of waste materials, is a fantastic initiative
alongside this they use organic cottons, and more recently recycled polyester - i recently saw them at the recent bread and butter show in berlin (such a great city) and everything they are doing with their label i desire to do with mine...plus more
check out soon their new store with all reclaimed materials - fantastic!
"We make t-shirts that support sustainable socioeconomic development. Put simply, that means that when you buy one of our shirts, you help us to employ people in Africa who might otherwise be unemployed. We work with disenfranchised African citizens, teaching them to grow cotton, sew, and participate in the textile business. Our shirts are made in Africa by Africans. We support communities, give jobs to the jobless, and teach skills to people who lack specialized training.
And, in addition to all that, it’s just a better t-shirt. "
quote from edun website
http://www.edunonline.com/aboutel.aspx and http://www.kuyichi.com/kuyichi/?page_id=937they source cotton and manufacture quite a lot of styles and all their tees from Africa
I believe there is a lot of potential in Africa and its the nation the world will be forced to look at.
This leads me to introduce a cool brand....not an 'eco' label but still cool in its representation of Africa...welcome to www.africaisthefuture.com
Sunday, 5 July 2009
I officially started this label beginning of 2009 after I saw an ad in drapers record for a one year mentorship that David Jones (fashion guru!!) was offering to just 10 new designers to help them set up their fashion businesses. Now i had considered doing it for over 5 years but to be honest fear was the main factor in my delay. But I am so certain that this is what I studied fashion design for.
So my first decision was to make the brand ethical / fairtrade / responsible using organic / sustainable materials i.e organic cotton / bamboo / soy etc etc.
I have been inspired by brands/labels Katherine E Hamnett, Vivienne Westwood AR, Edun, Kuyichi to name a few. Initially I wanted to work on a womens sport and street label with an american feel to it but i decided that it shall be a womens streetwear label BUT it must be ethical AND it must be British with a london edge. We have great brands like Firetrap and All Saints (as well as VW) who do great work that is edgy, quirky with fantastic cut lines and I felt to give it an american esque feel i.e babyphat, apple bottoms etc would be wrong.
So after this my next decision was to work closely with Africa and to produce and manufacture the clothing within different African countries. My aim was to source my materials as much as possible within Africa too...this isnt proving as possible unless I am buying traditional African print fabrics (which will only be minimal in my label) but there are some available materials I can use.
Early in the year I visited Ghana where I met with a lady who has a fantastic jewel of a workshop in the back of her garden behind her house. She was very excited about the possibility of us workign together and the relationship was born. I have also networked with another factory in Kenya I am eager to work with who are responsible in their working conditions and with the staff, I am also in talks with a more newer initiative also in Kenya.
So far I have been sourcing organic cotton jersey, fleece - hemp and cotton mixes, bamboo and soy jerseys, recycled polyester etc etc these are relative to street and sports pieces. I have yet to complete designs but have already designed some styles that I have made toiles of in the UK and now am sending to Kenya to sample ready for production once orders come in.
It is early days and lots to do such as my logo is still an issue to be dealt with :) finalising all designs in preparation for my monthly meetings with David, completing my business plan, completing costings, doing more research for prices in store and online, websites...and the list goes on. Money and finance of course is an issue too. Its my aim to fund things with my own money through wages and if needed overdrafts but not yet to get a loan out. I am happy to go slow in order to have things done right and to not get into a pile of debt.
Overall it is my aim to spread the message of a positive modern Africa through the medium of fashion. I feel that thers is a vibe, an energy and a movement happening in Africa and I am very excited about it. Of course there is still poverty stricken areas and its all part of my brand to give back through earnings...this would be in a tithe payment to charities, through setting up charities, through mission work, through organising events to generate funding for initiatives and charities and most of all to set up a school and adjoined factory to teach sewing and education for life, including life skills. AKABI means love in greek a form of the word Agape - a measure of Godly love. The first range Love From Africa is all about giving something to Africa as Africa gives something to the rest of the world.
SO the vision is HUGE but like this brand says...www.africaisthefuture.com.