10/8/12

Dream a New Dream: The Birth of a Clothing Line

Adding On 
We're growing a bit around here. My line, Samantha Conner Designs, has expanded to now include clothing! After creating and selling hair accessories for years, the next step of progress for my business was naturally clothing. My girls apparel line runs sizes 2-6 and is available wholesale through a showroom at the Dallas Market. The line launched last month with my designs for Spring 2013. It has been well-received and I am in complete awe that it all has come together!


How It Happened
I actually never thought I would ever make clothing. This time last year I had just opened my Etsy shop for my accessory line and realized that having an Etsy shop wasn't as scary as I thought it would be!  But I wasn't quite sure what to do next. I knew I wanted to grow my business, but that meant I needed help getting my product in front of a lot of stores. So, I took a leap of faith and in January I found a showroom in the Dallas Market to rep my hair accessory line. I hired a manufacturer and together we began selling, manufacturing and shipping headbands out all over the country.

Things went well and I was happy to gain new customers. However, working with sales rep and manufacturer helped me realize that I needed more than just headbands. In order to really turn my hobby into a business, just selling headbands wasn't going to be enough. So at the end of March, with encouragement and guidance from both my sales rep and my manufacturer, I began to sketch, shop for fabric, and work on patterns. At that time, I really had no idea how much went into manufacturing clothing. Patterns, designs, fabrics, production, sales reps, showrooms, stress, and lots of drama-- it would make your head spin!


The Clothes
But somehow I made it through and I have a beautiful collection for Spring 2013. The collection is made up of three different groups.





Each group is filled with playful dresses, sweet tops, ruffly pants and leggings, and some cute shorts too. The clothes are made for the way girls like to dress- a little fancy and a lot comfy! All clothes have been 'test-driven' by my daughter Maisy Lou and some of her sweet friends. The best compliment that one girl gave me was "these pants feel comfy like jammies!" and she refused to take them off. Love it!


The Photography
I was so fortunate to have the talented Kristie Mills help me with the photography for the site. Kristie opened up her home studio to us. She truly captured the playful nature of my designs. I was so impressed on how she was able to work with our little troop of models. (And if you are looking to book family photos this fall, please contact Kristie-- she is so talented and easy to work with!)

Photo by Kristie Mills
photo by Kristie Mills
The Website
 You can view the entire collection on my new website at samanthaconnerdesigns.com. The site is a sort of 'look-book' for the line and the accessories. I will continue with my Etsy shop for small, custom orders. But I will be focusing more time on designing and growing my wholesale business.


Lessons Learned

The best part of all this is that I have learned a lot.
I have learned that it is never too late to dream a new dream. 
It is never too late to try something you never knew you could do.


This is definitely a business, not a hobby, it takes a lot of work and some tough skin (which I don't have yet!) But I am determined to keep trying. I am happiest when I am creating beautiful things, I only hope that my passion will produce some profits!

Need Help with your Dream? 
 I will continue to craft and blog of course. And I plan to share my adventure (the ups and the downs) in "launching a children's clothing line" here with you. This has been such an up-hill journey for me. I have come across so many roadblocks and there really aren't a lot of helpful resources when I have gotten so stuck. So I would love to help anyone else who might be starting out on this journey. Whether it is how to start your own business, open an Etsy shop, set-up for a craft show, get a website up and running, or even if you are ready to explore manufacturing-- I would love to help you live your dream. Email, message or leave a comment- what would you like to know? I am an open book:)



And I invite you to follow along with me on facebook at Crafty Texas Girls and Samantha Conner Designs. Stay tuned, when you follow a dream, you never know where it will take you. 

 
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6 comments:

  1. My goodness...your clothes are adorable! I also love your story...I may be asking you for advice soon :) I used to own a children's clothing boutique, and I would have put these in my shop in a heartbeat!

    Also, I noticed this morning your table runner link didn't work on my site. I will remove it, and you can try again, if you have time.

    Have a great day!

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  2. Wow, I am so, so proud of you!!! That is so exciting and wonderful, and scary all at the same time!! Wow, wow, wow!!

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  3. So cute!!! So excited for you and what is to come!

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  4. Your creativity, tenacity and journey are inspiring and beautiful! I am so very proud of you, thrilled for you and I know this is just the beginning of your dream!!

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  5. I loved reading your story, Samantha! The clothing is adorable! I love when good things happen to hard working people and your dedication is an inspiration! Beautiful job!

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  6. That is so exciting and wonderful, and scary all at the same time!! wow!
    http://www.apparelnbags.com/mens-polo.htm

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I love to hear from you and will do my best to answer questions and comments by 'replying via email'.
:) Samantha

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