Jeff spoke to one of our clients, Lauren at Disciple Clothing, and asked some questions about her experience running an apparel company. Here are her responses, enjoy!
Can you tell our readers about Disciple, how it started?
Disciple started with a vision to bring faith based designs into mainstream fashion.
What are you working on currently?
I just finished up an entire children’s line ranging from sizes 6m-youth sizes. I have been branching out into retail establishments and selling wholesale to expand marketing the line. I revamped my website to include some lifestyle shots, so that people could envision themselves wearing the clothing. I recently participated in a fashion show here in NJ and have another one coming up June 1st that is set to travel around the country to other major cities!
As an entrepreneur/business owner, what do you think about the role that design plays in your business? When did you start paying attention to design and when did you feel like you needed to hire a designer?
Design has been at the forefront of Disciple. What sets a brand above another is the artwork, quality of the product, and branding behind it. Today the market is flooded with so many clothing brands that you need something to set yourself apart from everyone else, which is the design and finishes that are used to make them.
You started a clothing line in the era when everyone seems to have a clothing line, has this been a burden or has it helped?
It can be challenging at times, but I am confident that I bring the highest quality to my customers and bring the most up to date fashion trends to the marketplace. I really can’t pay attention to what everyone else is doing otherwise I find it gets distracting. The one good thing about it is that blanks are becoming more readily available and in a wide variety of colors and fabrics which is nice!
Any advice for folks either wanting to start a clothing line or those that already have one and how they can make it better?
I think people have to be realistic when starting a clothing company. It takes money to do it. I have had people who want to start a line, but don’t want to put out money to do it. With the competition out there it will be difficult to start a company and be profitable considering the costs are SO high for printing small quantities of shirts. For existing business, I always find it helpful to really talk to my customers and get their feedback and make adjustments based off of that. Otherwise, I would say to stay true to your brand and not try to chase after every new thing out there.
What has your experience been working with other designers?
I have been very blessed to work with a lot of great designers. I always look at portfolios of different designers. For my line, I like different looks, so I use different designers based on their style of work.
What do you like/dislike about working with other designers? What are things that you think could improve the process?
I think the most important thing is for designers to understand the brand they are designing for. This helps with a lot of design issues. For the most part I love giving a designer a concept and then see what their interpretation of it is! Sometimes it can be frustrating when you are communicating a design and it’s not exactly what you expected, but for the most part I’ve been very happy with all the design work I have contracted out. One final thought is taking a design to actual print can sometimes be a challenge! It can look great on a mock up, but when the printer looks at the design sometimes it cannot be printed like you are thinking due to size, print location, etc…so I feel it is important for the designers to have an understanding of what type of media the design will be going on and design accordingly.
What are your plans for the future of Disciple?
In the future, I plan to branch out more into the wholesale markets to get Disciple’s brand awareness out in the retail markets. I also plan to do more social media advertising and continue to do grass roots marketing as I have done already. I am working on some new accessories and a denim line to complete what Disciple has to offer to it’s customers. Above all else, I strive to provide the latest fashion trends along with the highest quality!