Anatomy of Product Development 

Assigned Season / Year

Choosing the Direction & Relevant Trend(s)

1. Identify higher end relevant trend directions that one believes their customer base will adopt and follow as well.

2. Understand how much longer it will be Trending, how long it will spend in the Stage of Saturation, and then when it will be considered Dated, and thus no longer newly purchased.

3. Identify Fashion items, colors prints, graphics, embellishments and silhouettes. (These will be small OTB's that may end up on clearance with chargeback mentality from retailers.)

4. Identify Core items, which will be timeless and ageless classics, worn by the majority of peoples and purchased regularly once older items wear out or fall apart. (These will be best sellers that turn to re-orders, items that will sell better in varying demographics and cultures, and flatter multiple body types, shapes & skin colors.)

Seasonal Identifications

1. Understand & identify: locations will be sold at & typical weather at time of delivery. Fabrics & silhouettes most relevant to demographics targeted. Balance of Fashion and Core items for highest sales garnered. (Also see 'Target Customer' below so as to satisfy all items therein.) Branding & marketing relevant to current political, personal & cultural developments. i.e. election season, pride months, shifts in values of general population.

Identify Sourcing Needs & Calendar Stages

1. Identify factories for development & ascertain pricing if production is done with them. Figure out where fabrics are coming from, dye houses & printing peoples. Time and action calendars for A-Z from concept to producing. 

2. Prints, graphics, strike offs, sampling tests, lab dips, etc. Prep factory in question for what's coming.

3. Choose all items for development & get factory working on it. Have in house or overseas graphic teams working on desired items so all can be done at the same time.

4. Design team to set goals for what's required, divvy up work to team members with deadlines,

Product Development Work

1. Creative direction design approvals, technical callouts & sketches, visual aids for overseas people who will not be able to read English in tech packs. Electronic transfer of relevant items.

2. Final development testing for any necessary stitch examples, sew-by's, fitting requirements, dye processes, wash standards, print strike offs, color standards, etc.

3. Branding, labeling & marketing for development samples & relevant tech pack insertions for production later.

Salesman Samples & Visual Content

1. Visuals for sales members. Photoshoots with salesman samples by internal team or hired freelancers.

i.e. look-books, write-ups, online campaign prep work & social media influencers outreach for added publicity. Still images, video content, etc within a produced brand conscious curated environment.

2. Meetings with buyers that have OTB's & reaching out to others to introduce new product not yet offered.

On Order Items

1. Work with tech on both sides to align with ideal fit for customer & store base through stages of fit samples.

2. Approve (& resource if needed) factories, fabrics, hardwares, trims, labels, etc that fit within costing with respect to profit margins & delivery dates.

3. QA with factory to ensure desired product is on schedule and coming properly.

After Delivery

1. Track selling & report back to design so that changes can be made in future with a better understanding of how customer and stores are relating.

2. Already on to multiple design seasons from step one in the creative department by now, but taking in to consideration how selling feedback is going.

Relevant Concepts

Target Customer

A Complex Combination of Varying Elements, expressing those being focused on to use their dollar with us;

i.e.

Cultural factors affecting buying power + Personality determining how one dresses, and thereby portrays/introduces themselves to the world around them + Silhouette preferences based on body type and  physical appearance/coloring + Demographic location and its cultural aspects + Lifestyle, values and leisure activities + Geographical location and its weather + Taste in music and entertainment + Desired career path + Desire for comfort in clothing.

Market Gaps

Untapped potentials for profit. Occurs within any company that sells products or services. Can be something not being satisfied within one's existing customer base, or in peoples of the population not already buying/purchasing with said company.

i.e.

Clothing that's pajamas meets every day comfortable chic classics, featuring pockets, elastic and soft fabrics. (Great for young mothers with children under four.)

Travelers carry-on wardrobe, with interchangeable items appropriately suited for all countries and occasions. (One formal dress, two pairs of jeans; 1 loose 1 tight, one per of trousers, one summer romper, one slouchy sweater, one pair of shorts, three basic t-shirts, two tank tops, one bra or bralette, one pair of sandals, one pair of sneakers, two sets of pj's, three sets of socks & underwear.) Get ready, set, TRIP!

Fashion vs Core & Brand Loyalty

Fashion items define a brand and set it apart from others, but rarely hold staying power. What's trending today won't be tomorrow, and then it's end up at a Goodwill or in a landfill. Core is what has staying power, because it doesn't go out of style for much longer, and it builds (or breaks) customer loyalty. Things that fall apart or are of low quality associate brands with junk, and people talk. Items that stand the test of time and get better with age, become notorious and build brand loyalty. (Think Levi's.) Superior fit and fabrics make for lifetime customers, when done right. Fashion items tend to sell in lower amounts because they are too 'out there' for most of the population to wear, thereby ending up in large quantities on clearance racks, then leading to corporate charge-backs. Core tends to sell in much higher numbers, and gets more online posts and person to person discussion. High end brands can be bought used via consignment for those who cannot afford full price, which only aids to further the value of perceived high end pieces to those in witness. 

Sustainability & Ethical Accountability

In a world of limited resources, this is more important than it has ever been before. From the earth we live on and the people that inhabit various countries, it is up to those who make and those who buy to change the status quo of what has always been, to a graduated better version. With the increasing preferences for experiences over material things, a customer's dollar is more valuable and carefully spent than in previous years of thriving materialism. Paired with the spirituality trends and save the planet endeavors, it is in every company's profit's best interest to speak to these things.

© 2018 by MINDY DAVIS

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