Your help please?

IMG_4085As many of you know I am very passionate about the materials I use as an artist & maker & many of you also know that ever since I was given the go ahead at the very beginning of this year to produce a wool dress as part of a collaboration project for Organic Wool Wales (many of you very kindly supported my making of it, helping me with many of the decisions while I worked in the searing heat of the Asian sun https://loutonkin.com/2013/04/09/hedgerow-dress/) that I have become even more passionate about the value & wonderousness of these materials- so much so that I have been quietly working on the production of a clothing & accessories line.

My clothing design will be using much of the same techniques I have used in the past but to create a more ‘off the peg’ product which you can all share in (& some of you might just stop cutting holes in woollen things just to get me to repair them with something lovely)

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Well, I have been saving every penny & ploughing all of my artwork earnings into this new project which is a slow going process (I have now bought the screens to do my own printing, found the lovely organic cotton/hemp fabric to print onto, had a pattern & a sample dress made by a lovely dress maker in Penryn, which could be made into both a luxurious British wool cloth dress with one of my hand finished designs or a crisp hand printed cotton dress, found a supplier for scrumptious wool cardigans for women & jumpers for men & set up a brilliant collaboration project for children’s clothing with Picaloulou) but an opportunity has come up for me to enter a competition.

To enter I have to submit a 3 minute video pitch about my idea accompanied by a 250 summary. If something wonderful happened & I am picked as one of the 10 finalists I would have to submit a full business plan (profits & losses & all of that stuff I normally screw my eyes very tightly shut & hope will go away) The competition prize is a small amount of cash to be invested into my business but more importantly a lot of support from a very large number of sponsors including good solid financial help, design, marketing, business support, shipping, advertising & all sorts of other lovely things which would give me a really good start.

But I was sitting here thinking… How do I get them to realise how brilliant my product is? I will have just 3 minutes…I have all of the lovely comments you have made about my work before, I could submit them? but I need to write something really great!

The competition is all about local regeneration which is very important to me but to make this work I would hope to sell my products nationally- globally! But what I need to make sure before I write even a single word is to ask you lot what you think? While most of you who are interested in my work & follow me are in the UK many of you are all around the world & you after all make up a large proportion of my market audience.

My business  vision:: ‘To produce a clothing & accessories line using sustainable British/organic materials championing quality & the value of UK/ local production with bespoke, unique design’.

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Is this all a good idea? Am I focusing on the right products? So if it’s ok could you answer some questions for me?

1. Do you love the idea of a new clothing line using local sustainable materials? (with my designs making them a bit special…) Is this important to you?

2. I like the idea of creating something which is a real treasure, something which becomes an heirloom piece which you want to keep or pass on, does this sound good to you? or do you prefer to change your clothes/get bored of things quickly?

3.If you were going to buy something which was a bit special- hand finished etc.. do you think it is more likely that you would buy it for you? As a present? for your home? for your partners? for a child? other? please let me know.

4. Favourite items of clothing? skirts? Dresses? Jumpers? Cardigans? Which do you buy more often?

5.What haven’t I asked? Please send me any thought you have.

Thank you in advance for helping me & sending me your thoughts.

(& a little p.s. if you have a FB page please could you share my questions with other people you know by sharing the dress picture on my timeline which has this blog link attached to it the more people I can get feedback from the better)

 

 

Lou

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21 thoughts on “Your help please?

  1. Here goes!. firstly I absolutely love your new project it sounds exciting and vibrant!. I love love love clothes. I love shopping for them, touching them on the rails and trying them on all day. I could shop till I drop. I love the idea of something unique but I also like to update my wardrobe all the time. I do keep most of my clothes so yes if I had bought a very special dress thats a one off, bespoke, limited edition I would keep it forever. I would buy a hand made item for myself and maybe my daughter when she’s older ( she’s 10!) and then she can really appreciate the design and workmanship!, I think something handmade and probably pricer is somewhat wasted on her now as she lives in denim shorts and little tees!. My absolute fav item is a dress I have tonnes and tonnes and never tire of wearing them!.. Good Luck Lou I hope your pitch is successful and to offer up some feedback I’d LOVE! to see a shorter version of your shift dress! just skimming the thigh 60s style!, Andrea x

  2. I love your ideas and to have a piece of clothing that is unique really appeals to me. Also the material being substainable and natural appeals.
    If i was buying it would definetely be for myself and my favourite item to buy is a cardigan. Jenny x

  3. Such ambition I truly admire…go for it Lou. You stand a a very good chance of winning.

    Your ides are just fine and I love the concept of you working with with local and sustainable materials. Your unique designs make a garment unique. If something is unique one never gets bored wearing it. It becomes a classic in my wardrobe!

    Jackets and jacket style cardi’s are my fave items and if I were buying from you I would probably be buying it for myself!

    I wish you the very best in your quest for success – I shall now checkout your FB page…Jill x

  4. So exciting Lou! Whilst I’m really not your target audience (as I tend to shop in charity shops!) I know a couple of very classy ladies who would love your designs.
    My mum is one of those classy ladies, and she’s happy to buy an item that is super special, will last a long time, is well made and would never go out of fashion.
    Her and the other classy lady in mind, wear skirts, cardigans and dresses mostly, and if it the item was for a special event (wedding etc) I think the ceiling price would be much higher.
    Hope that helps, if there’s anything else I can do, just ask.
    Janie x

  5. The project sounds great Lou – local, sustainable, organic all appeal very much. Accessories – I adore your lampshades (as you know) and your paintings are gorgeous! For clothing – I would love to see skirts, as I’m not much a dress person, and jumpers and cardigans too. Good luck!

  6. Hi , your ideas are great. I am 50ish, buy things very rarely, but am more likely to buy a one off special item for myself that ‘speaks’ to me, I love unique, I love gorgeous texture, colour, and I love keeping things forever. I make one off books that I want people to buy as keepsakes, heirlooms. It is a part of you that is passed on and cherished. Wearing someones ‘creation. sounds great to me.

  7. Hi Lou,
    I love your ideas of using local, sustainable materials. I am very into making ethical shopping choices wherever possible (budget and availability permitting). I love the idea of British materials.
    I think for me the item I would most consider spending a larger amount of money on and keeping forever would be a dress. I’m more likely to get bored of a cardigan, but tend to keep most of my clothes for a long time anyways. Have a few pieces now that I have had over 15 years.
    I would probably be buying for myself as I’m not sure I would want to buy something so unique for someone else in case it wasn’t quite their style. Wouldn’t want it to be wasted (I don’t have any children to be for).
    Good luck,
    Rachel

  8. Hi Lou,I’m instantly drawn to your creations as you capture so beautifully and intuitively the essence of our amazing countryside and wildlife. As I walk my dogs in the morning, I often see sheep’s wool caught on barb wire or on a bramble in a field of meadow flowers and I automatically think of your lovely creations.

    So in answer to your questions… yes, I would love to see a clothing line using local sustainable materials, with your designs on. And yes, using sustainable materials is important.

    Creating a ‘classic’ heirloom, is a fantastic idea rather than an item, which would be worn for a couple of seasons. I’m certain that the people who would buy your garments would fully appreciate the workmanship and the time that has gone into creating them and would NEVER ‘discard’ them after a year or so anyway (that’s as long as you can keep the moths away!!)

    selfishly, I would buy the item of clothing for myself and if i had a choice, it would be a short jacket / cardi, simply because I could wear it throughout the year and it would complement so many other items of clothing in my wardrobe. They are just so useful to have and it would make a very ordinary ‘outfit’ look fab.

    You haven’t touched on the textures, your creations are so tactile, how a garment feels is so important to me too. Before I buy a scarf , without realising I’m stroking it, if it’s manufactured from man-made fibres I instantly pull back and leave it on the shelf. Another thing I do, is hold the item up to my cheek, to see how soft it feels. You don’t have to look at the label to know if the item is made of natural fibres – you can feel it on your fingertips .

    Good luck with your pitch, you have a beautiful and unique product.

  9. 1: Local sustainability adds another layer to hand-made creations, that they are helping other British suppliers.
    2: I have pieces which are quite a few years old and I buy vintage pieces too. I keep things I love.
    3:I buy original art for my home and jewellery for myself on fb; but because I’m not skinny (I’m size 16) I feel a bit guilty spending a lot of money on clothes for myself.
    4: Jackets, coats and cardigans.
    5: Can’t think of anything else, except to add that I adore the dress you’ve made and the added birds to the jackets are inspired!
    Good luck with your venture, it sounds brilliant to me 🙂 x x

  10. Lou, watch this doco and maybe this too can help in formulating all your thoughts for the summary. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wqkgo6fV8q8
    PASSION is what you have; it shows in your work and how you execute it. FOR YOU it isn’t about the money of making millions, the business in growing global into mass production, etc BUT there has to be a plan and CLEAR vision. The plan is to keep you focussed because passion and ideas have a way of running off with the’ fairies’.

    Find your special niche in the ensembles you create. If it’s only a range of six garments you make that vary in fabric & design….so be it. What do you enjoy making…..have a think about that because you will need to make them ‘by the dozen’. Yes, using sustainable materials are important however it may mean limitations…….this will affect your garment ‘production’. Isn’t that what will make them all the more special. 🙂
    This video shows passion in watch she does too, http://vimeo.com/30896791
    I wish you much luck and hope all this helps.
    Cheers

  11. Yes, yes, and Yes, your ideas are sound, you will succeed. the specialness of this sort of garment probably means it would be bought as a personal item i.e for me or poss. an older daughter for a very special occasion as we are very funny creatures and what one likes another really doesn’t so I personally would have to be careful if spending what will be quite a lot of money on an item like this.
    I have a dress that i bought for a fiver – it’s fifties, i bought it the day Diana died, have been wearing it as my special (weddings and parties) dress ever since. It will not go out of fashion and i will keep it forever. It may stay in the wardrobe for a year at a time but it will come out eventually and find it’s next moment. And when i really can’t wear it any more i expect my daughters to adopt it, like i adopted my mums (some of which I also still have)
    I think your style will lend itself to many items of clothing and as each persons favourite is different – some people love a skirt, some a cardi – that is how you will please everyone. Lovely stuff.
    Good luck

  12. Hi Lou, I love the idea of using local, sustainable materials, particularly by re-using old material. I don’t buy clothes for other people on the whole, and I don’t like people buying them for me! I love my jeans, as you know, so a jacket or cardi would appeal to me most. I particularly love the way that your dress shows an entire scene inspired by nature. If I was to buy a piece though, I’d avoid anything with grey or brown and look for something in more vibrant colour to liven up my otherwise uninspiring jeans-and-jumper combo. Good luck! Xxx

  13. I have loved your designs since you first appeared on Facebook. You have wonderful drawing skills and really put them to use in the designs you do which translate into clothing decoration so beautifully. The simple design, the beautiful drawing and the execution of the color are something all of us around the globe look for. I wish you luck in the competition and look forward to your designs coming into production. Will share them with my 5 daughters and friends.

  14. Love all your ideas and the use of materials. I would treat myself – but would want to wear something I loved often – not hidden away for a special occasion. I love Cardigan/ jackets, that can be worn with so many different clothing items.My daughter, who is 30 loves shawls and scarfs and these would look amazing in your materials and I would certainly treat her to one of these.
    Good luck

  15. Hi, I love your idea, and good luck with your comp!
    1, I would love to buy clothes that were made locally! or generally within the UK
    2 Im not a huge spender on clothes but for things that are special like your hedgerow dress i would def pay out as something to keep. i do spend more on things for the home or accessories for me, scarves etc
    3 i would buy for me, my girls and the home
    4 i was just thinking how beautiful a scarf would look with your hedge row design on it! and favourites would be jumpers and warm dresses.

    Good luck with it all!
    Lisa

  16. 1. Yes

    2. Many of my clothes are 20 years old or older, the oldest being things I wore when I was 18 and still wear now (I will be 60 soon). I buy what I like and am not interested in fashion. The only problem is yo-yo weight, so if I buy special things, I like them loose and large so I don’t “grow out of them”.

    3.For me. I would not dare to buy clothing for my daughters.

    4. Long skirts, long loose jackets, fishermen’s smocks

  17. Hi this may sound very twee but I actually fine looking and admiring your garment you adorn so beautifully very emotional they invoke memories of childhood days and remind me not to forget not only the beauty of nature but the beautiful craftsman ship that is so lost in mass factory production. I am in my mid 50’s and I agree with another lady’s comment that I would buy your designs as an Heirloom to pass down to my granddaughter as a piece of work of art. I’m a great believer at buying locally and I could easily buy one of your designs for my 30 year old daughter & also my Granddaughter & of course myself I love coats and cardigans, have you ever thought about doing hats. Good luck,but I’m sure when they see your work and feel the passion you have for what you do, you wont need to worry. Debs

  18. Hi Lou
    Love the idea of using the magical desins you have and bringing them to a wider audience. Target the wildlife lovers eg the twitchers/gardeners/fishing fraternities/beekeepers( I am sure Tom at the Barley would showcase something for beekeepers) etc so what about a men’s range of jumpers/hats, even ties as well as your felt slippers – the fellas are notoriously difficult to buy pressies for, so something unique which can capture their interests, warm and practical. For me it would be jumpers/cardi type jackets not being a dress person and I love the idea of the cotton unique items as there are those out there like my big sis who just cannot wear wool , loves clothes and the more different and unique the better – ie the one offs no one else has got and she does keep them if the style is classic
    Good luck with the venture

  19. It sounds amazing Lou. I hardly ever buy things for myself (charity shops/ too many kids/animals…you get the picture) but when I do I want something different & special. I keep things I love & wear them for years!

    Your designs are so beautiful & unique. I would love a swirling dress with those gorgeous catkins & birds on them. I would also buy a party style dress for my youngest daughter with the delicate designs on.

    Also love the idea of a cardigan with something like this trailing along it, perhaps like a drift of something along one front edge (does that make any sense).

    You have such a great eye & I really look forward to seeing how this goes. Good luck honey x

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