Saturday, November 08, 2014

Part 3 - Product - Designing, Selling and Manufacturing with Heather Moore of Skinny laMinx

In todays blog about selling product we have the very successful, South African based Heather Moore from Skinny laMinx.

You can connect with Heather here.

  
If you'd like to read the other wonderful blogs in this series, please click on the links below.

Setting up your website and shopping cart basics with Julie Allen from Biz Yourself
Part 1 with Angie Spurgen - Artwork by Angie
Part 2 with Gabriella Buckingham - MooBaaCluck

Coming in the next few days.....

Tuesday 11th Part 4 with Jamie and Catherine Douglas- Bread and Jam 
Thursday 13th Part 5 with Jessica Hayman - Rosa and Clara Designs 
Sunday 16th Part 6 with Laura Clempson - Clara and Macy 

1. Could you tell us a little background about yourself and why you decided to sell product?

I had worked as an illustrator, mostly of educational books, for about 10 years and needed a break, so I started writing scripts for comics in the morning and experimenting with screenprinting in the afternoons. I was enjoying making things, but didn't enjoy them piling up in my studio, so I started selling them to shops, and I started selling them at a Saturday morning market too. I was blogging about what I was making, and opened an online shop on Etsy too. A couple of wholesale orders came in, and I stepped up the pace, eventually quitting my scriptwriting job, outsourcing my production, and doing Skinny laMinx full time.



Things have grown a lot since then, with a thriving brick-and-mortar store in Cape Town, two online shops and a growing wholesale business. We have an 8-strong team and a network of freelance seamstresses and other service providers across the city. We're proud to produce everything in South Africa, most of it within 20 minutes of our studio.

Check out Heathers gorgeous little 'about' video - It's lovely and very inspiring! - About Us Skinny LaMinx



2.What are the important things to keep in mind when researching the products you wish to sell and why did you choose the particular products that you sell now?

I started off making tea towels and cushion covers, as they worked with the small scale of screenprinting I was doing. At that scale, it's all about having enough space to dry all the prints! As the business grew, I had to weigh the increase production costs of printing running metres against the feasibility of producing it myself.

One of our most popular products is the Soft Bucket, and I'm so happy about that, as it is a product I designed specifically to deal with the unused fabric from our (other very popular) Cushions . These days, with the Soft buckets and the DIY Squares packs, we have hardly any fabric wasted in our production at all. 



3. Which has been the most effective avenue for you to sell your products?

They are all effective in different ways, and seem to change all the time too. I always like to say that our business is like a table with lots of legs on it. We sell in our retail store and in our two online shops, we wholesale locally and internationally, and we also sell fabric through an agent and license designs. All of these different "legs" help to support and stabilise our business.



4. How important is having a business mentor (if you use one) How have they helped you grow your business?

I don't have a business mentor, but four years ago, Pearl Thompson came on board, taking over the systems and strategy side of everything meaning that there was more time for me to concentrate on design, marketing and branding. It has been a real bonus for us to be able to focus on the things we are good at, and has strengthened the business greatly.



5. How much has wholesaling been a part of your success?

Wholesaling has been very important to us in a number of ways. First of all, it was extremely exciting for me to get my first wholesale order from San Francisco. When you live and work at the bottom tip of Africa, it's easy to feel very far away from the rest of the world, so this kind of acknowledgement of my design work was a very big affirmation, and spurred me on to grow the business. We continue to wholesale, and find it a great way to spread the Skinny laMinx brand, as well as to get feedback about the direction we're going in.



6. Looking back, what would you do differently if you were to start all over again?

I don't think there is another way to have done it! The organic growth of Skinny laMinx, all of which happened in response to circumstances, means that the business has developed at a sustainable pace without too much sense of taking crazy risks


Thanks so much Heather. We wish you all the very best for the future! Stay tuned for the next instalment in this series with the designer husband and wife team, Jamie and Catherine Douglas from Bread and Jam. It will be jam packed (excuse the pun) full of hints and tips on selling your product. 

If you have any comments, we would love to hear from you. Please comment below

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