I had a discussion today with someone who has been in the luggage/handbag industry for many years. We talked about how there are three main constraints in the business of manufacturing - quality (good), time to market (fast), and cost (cheap), and that a business must usually just choose 2 because it’s usually impossible to get all 3. Given the state of the economy, and given that I’m not being forced by market conditions to get into the market ASAP, I might be able to acheive all 3 because I have financial stability and time on my side. At least for now. She recommended that I continue to take my time with research and meeting with industry experts. I think she’s right.
Several books I’ve read about the fashion manufacturing business recommend that you not produce anything until you have a solid quantity of sales orders. This is to avoid having too much inventory. But the expert I spoke with today said that I may be forced to produce certain quantities based on the factory order minimum quantities. So if the factory minimum is 100 units, I have to produce at least that amount. It’s interesting to compare what you read vs. what people who have actually gone through this process tell you.
And finally, I am looking into 2 trade shows next year: one is a fashion accessories show (featuring handbags and such, the buyers are boutiques and retailers), the other is a travel goods trade show (the buyers are luggage and travel stores). I can only afford to go to one of them, and not sure which would be better for exposure and sales leads. The cost of attending each show is about the same. I guess this will be one of many difficult decisions I will need to make soon.
My consultant received my check and will be working on my sourcing and manufacturing research tomorrow. I can’t wait to get his final recommendations. Once I have those contacts and leads I can officially start the production process.