October 04, 2023

What are you actually doing?

A co Ty właściwie robisz?

If you think that being a clothes designer, or as I prefer to call myself, the owner of a clothing brand, is a great way to shine in society, attract an artistic boyfriend or create a "wow" effect on the faces of your aunts and uncles, well, you are wrong.


Most people, and I don't blame them at all, have no idea what the job of a clothing designer is. They usually have some vague ideas, most often taken from movies, in which a focused, beautifully dressed girl draws female silhouettes in ball gowns in her favorite notebook. Well, who wouldn't want a job like that?

Unfortunately, for this reason, when someone asks me what I do and I answer that I design clothes, there is a radiant smile and... a long silence. Most of my interlocutors have no idea what they could ask me. If they show a bit of initiative, I usually ask one question: "what kind of clothes do you design?", to which, as an introvert and a person who doesn't like talking about myself, I answer in one sentence and that's where the conversation ends.

So, if you deal with something related to art yourself, which you can't explain to your aunt on her name day, if your friends think that you spend all day swinging in a hammock, creating great projects and lofty ideas in your heads, if you are thinking about starting your own brand, but If you don't know what it looks like from the inside, I invite you to read.

Are you the one who goes to work?

Film scenes in the form of drawing silhouettes and designing clothes on a piece of paper are, of course, part of my work, but as you can already guess, they happen rather rarely, usually twice a year, when designing a new collection. Everyday life looks a little more ordinary. Apart from the creative part, there are a lot of things... less creative.

I usually start the day by checking emails and replying to those that appeared in the evening and at night the previous day, I also check my Instagram and Facebook to see if there are any comments or messages that I should reply to. After quickly taking care of my computer stuff, I go to my studio. For me, the studio is a place where I only deal with clothes, I don't have a computer or Internet there, so I deal with urgent matters via phone. At the beginning, the studio was in my room, which was a huge hassle. First of all, it is very difficult to separate work from private life and you may get the impression that you only have time at work. And secondly, after some time, the amount of materials, boxes, threads, documents, sewing supplies, patterns, prototypes, clothes and everything else simply overwhelms you. So, I have my own studio and usually four times a week, like an average Kowalski, I wash myself, get dressed, eat breakfast and go to work.

Behind the studio door

The studio is definitely one of my favorite places, it's bright, completely quiet and I feel good energy to work there. As I am definitely more analog, I write down all the orders I receive in my form so that I know what stage I am at and what I should do - this is how I start every day and I plan my work based on it.

Preparing an order begins, of course, with cutting the fabric, which I do myself. Most models, especially the more complicated ones, have paper patterns, some have fabric prototypes from which I sew subsequent pieces. I take the cut items to my seamstress, who is responsible for sewing all my items. There are days when I only deal with cutting, and there are days when I collect things from the seamstress and have to prepare them for shipping. Most often it's a bit of this and that. I hand sew a label to each item sewn by a seamstress, iron it, fold it and pack it. Those of you who have ever ordered something from Belle probably guess that packing is a completely separate process and takes me some time. But creating the perfect package gives me a lot of fun, and I hope it contributes a little to your joy too! I make a short trip around the city with the ready parcels - to a kiosk on the move, a parcel locker and a courier parcel drop-off point. Fortunately, I have a studio in the center, so all points are located relatively close to each other.

Recently, I have been spending one day a week at home on the computer. This system works better for me than doing a little bit every day. This is usually the time to place orders from suppliers - a manufacturer of boxes, tissue paper for parcels, a printing house responsible for all paper accessories, a material wholesaler, an embroidery shop that makes embroidery on T-shirts. This is also the moment to plan my communication on social media. Over time, I learned that if I don't plan it, it simply doesn't happen, because I get too involved in everyday duties and I simply forget. On this day, I create graphics, edit photos that I will use on Instagram, write a weekly schedule of posts, and recently, I have also been creating drafts of blog entries. It's also time to take care of accounting - ZUS, transfers, invoices, fees and all those nice things with numbers.

I'm not perfect

Of course, it usually turns out that one day a week for things unrelated to sewing and preparing orders is not enough, and after a day spent in the studio, I sit down for a while to deal with the most urgent matters. It happens that the embroidery shop made a mistake, the warehouse ran out of the material I needed, something stopped working on the website, the courier lost the parcel, and the customer asked a very important question at 8 p.m. Such issues need to be dealt with on an ongoing basis and I try to do it quickly so that I can go to sleep without too many thoughts and with a clear conscience.

In addition to space for all the everyday things that need to be done, there should also be space for planning brand development. I honestly admit that I still need to work on this, because I usually do overtime or work on the weekend when I have more free time. This is the moment to draw new embroideries for T-shirts, design graphic materials that I use, take photos, learn how to run my own brand, look for inspiration for new collections and invent new products such as sweatshirts, scarves or cosmetic bags (all currently in the planning and testing phase). !).

I didn't write about looking for inspiration, materials, drawing silhouettes, looking for photo locations, a photographer and other things related to creating a new collection, because that's material for a completely different post.

As you can see, running your own clothing brand involves quite a lot of various responsibilities. Personally, I really like it, I don't like routine and doing the same things all the time, and there are many things you can say about running your own business, but definitely not that we will be bored.

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