Trying to build my brand.

Everything is a 'brand' now. Whether name brand, or trusted, or a nobody, everything has a name. I don't consider that good or bad, but I guess associating that with a mark of quality, you tend to gather a reputation.

I'm not speaking of me, exactly, but I guess I count for that. NewVintageLady is a brand now, so I've been told, and I keep getting all these signs to push myself past my comfort zone. I tried that out this past weekend with a trip to a vintage show.

One of my friends gave me an opportunity. I was an on-site seamstress at a vintage show in Culver City. The show has mid to high clientele, and it was purely to go there for exposure. I'm not good at selling myself. I never have been. I just feel like I'm bothering people, mostly because I myself hate being sold to. I did it because my friend stuck her neck out for me, and I handed out a good amount of cards, but the time and effort I put into those six hours were not worth the $45 I earned. That's the risk of events like this, and I went into it knowing that. But I couldn't sell my patterns or my repro dresses. I was purely there for the 'chance' of getting sewing work. I get that, but now I know why their other seamstress bailed on them.

But it made me think: Do I want to go this way with the NVL brand? I mean, I have to admit, if I did, I see myself going the custom dress route. Gotta take care of my plus size lady friends! I'm getting one custom dress a month lately. That's a big deal for me! If I could do a custom dress a week, then I'd be onto something! :D

All of this is in it's baby stages, but I could see this going better than a line of clothing. I'm not into that, because if they don't sell, you are stuck with a dress you cant fit, and no one is buying. Um, no. Custom gets the best of all worlds for me. The customer is involved in the purchase, they know they want it, and its made just for them. I love that. It's a great feeling to have a custom dress made for you! It's a lost art I would love to bring back and have people appreciate again.

Speaking of custom dress, I wore this wrap dress to the event, rid-rac and all! Got tons of compliments. I can't believe I didn't get a picture of me in the dress!

I also saw this adorable gal and I had to take a picture of her super cute vintage frock. 
I totally want to copy it!

To round out my weekend, I worked on this wrap dress. 
 Can't get enough of these! LOVE them. Got another one in the pipeline. 
So much fun.

So what do you all think about the custom dress route? 
What do you all think in general about anything actually :)

What a way to end a post! Have a great Monday!


  1. I think the time for custom comeback is right. Especially in the vintage-retro aesthetic. It's often about having a dress you can keep for a long time, or adapt with collars and accessories. I had a dress made once and it was great. Since then I've learned to sew but I keep my eyes open for good seamstresses just in case. I think the value add especially for plus size, short, tall or otherwise hard to fit women, is not just in the great fit and quality you get but in the advice about choosing a style. If you can't wear what's in the shops, or you like styles that aren't "in", then you don't get to try on differert styles so it can be hard to see what will work. Someone like you with an eye for design can give that.
    Also, it's just nice to buy local and personally. I highly recommend you take photos of the dresses you make for customers for a portfolio, so future customers can get an idea of the possibilities. Your own wardrobe is pretty inspirational! Good luck!

  2. I love the idea of custom made, as ready made rarely fits me, but don't have the budget for it myself.

    The whole branding thing and marketing oneself: Yeah, it all makes me uncomfortable, too. It seems like if you want to make a living doing what you love, you have to also be good at marketing. Some people are naturals at it, but I suspect many of the most talented are not.

    I hope those cards you passed out turn into future clients. Who knows, right?

  3. The advantage of patterns is that they don't go bad and they don't come in the wrong colors. Time and again I prefer the passive aggressive pattern sale to custom work that always has a level of disappointment to it. No piece of clothing can make you utterly happy forever, and the price point is confusing for customers given how little something costs at retail. My inclination is to remake/remodel an existing item to give it new life for it's owner (the limitations and possibilities are all upfront).

    that said, you'd rock it. And you have the web skills to present your work beautifully. Figuring how to sell yourself without wasting time (trade shows, vintage fairs: a specific time you'd be at a location?) is the pivot point of this enterprise.

  4. Speaking as a consumer (who can rarely afford to "consume" anything really well-made, and who therefore consumes very rarely), I think custom-made clothing is wonderful. If you enjoy custom commissions, then by all means emphasize your "brand." Starting slowly may be a good thing...a few satisfied customers and word of mouth may be all it takes.

    (I would love to ask you to sew a dress for me one day...your skill and attention to detail is compelling!)

  5. Good luck! Make sure you pay yourself enough to make it worth your time :)

  6. Yay! That's my friend. She's super-adorable.

  7. The whole branding thing is depressing to me. I won't go into that, it's happening anyway and complaining won't make a difference.
    However, on the topic of custom dress making: if you happen to live somewhere where the costs of living and sewing supplies and peoples' willingness to pay for custom work conspire to make that a viable option, then it could be great.
    I myself have come to the conclusion that it's not an option for me. I have done some custom work ( mostly for friends ) and have time and again been disappointed on the money front. The customer will think he or she is being quite generous, paying maybe triple what he's pay in a shop, while I, the seamstress am only getting a tip and covering the cost of the materials.
    Of course, people who have real fitting issues may be willing to pay more.

  8. I agree with what everyone is saying, but I also believe in a deal, and a fair price. Right now in my life, I'm more opt to pay a fair price over waiting and waiting for a deal.

    If I want what I want, then saving 10% and waisting time for 6 months looking is not worth it.

    I think custom dresses that women can try on before it's finished will come back to some degree. Im not expecting to pay my rent, but perhaps take a chunk out of my drinkin' budget ;)

  9. What if you streamline the process by having a limited number of designs with quite a few shapes? Not just sizes. But close to custom, needing very little tweaking?

  10. The thing about custom is it pays for itself, with little out of pocket cost on my end. To put a line together would require a lot of up front cost, and this is a side job, so I dont know if Im ready to put that much money in it.


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