I am about to start my first collection and want to know a bit more about how this works.
Do you get different kinds of collections like a bespoke collection, ready to wear collection etc? And how do they all differ?
If you have a ready to wear collection of say 10 pieces, do you only sell these 10 as one-off-pieces and not make another one that looks the same, or do you show your collection and make each piece as the orders come in?
I understand that if you make Haute Couture or bespoke that the headpiece is one of a kind and will not be repeated again. But what if someone wants it in a different colour? Is that 'allowed'?
I hope I am making sence and would appreciate some feedback on this as I have never done this before and want to do it right.
Those are some really good questions that I've often wondered myself over the last few years.
I started by keeping track of the great milliners such as Stephen Jones (who has just unveiled his A/W2012 collection - which fyi had about 18 womens hats and 15 mens hats) via their facebook sites or websites to see what they do in terms of releasing their collections.
I've come to the conclusion, however, that because I live in the UAE and it is hot all year round but I also have customers who are travelling back for winter weddings in the UK or Australia for example, that I'm going to make up my own rules. Rather than unveiling a separate S/S13 collection and an A/W13 collection later in the year, i'm going to release one VMM 2013 collection with about 15-18 hats/headpieces. That collection will include "summer e.g. sinamay" and "winter e.g. felt" hats, but to suit my customer base i'm not going to split it into summer and winter hats. Instead, I'm going to split it into (1) couture/ascot-style hats which will be one-off original pieces that I won't remake and (2) quirky/on trend/vintage/pillbox style hats that customers can order in different colour combinations. I also offer a separate bespoke design service if a customer has a dress of a certain colour and they want a hat of the same colour. I have always avoided making exactly the same hat twice because I want each customer to feel they have something unique and special.
My suggestion therefore would be to look at your customer base/ prospective customers and go with your gut feeling as to what you think works best for them and you in terms of your collections.
Thanks so much for your feedback. I think you have a brilliant idea to rather do a VMM collection rather than a S/S or A/W collection. I think this is the way I will be going ahead too. It just makes perfect sense. And doing the couture style hats as one option and the quirky hats as the other option is a great solution and is clear to the customer also as to how those collections work.
I feel very excited about this now, as this was something that made me hesitate to do a collection as I was never sure how this works.
Thanks again! xx
Glad it was helpful. I think what most important is just putting ones heart and soul into it. Best of luck and do post some photos of your collection for us to admire in due course!
Will do! In the end I don't think there is really a right and a wrong way, as long as you put your heart and soul into it, like you said. If it is something you are passionate about, you will make it work!
sorry to jump on your thread, although im only just starting my journey into the world of millinery .. this is something i too have often wondered, particularly so that i can work out my costs for my first ever collection (still in business planning stage) can i ask what a VMM collection is?
also something i wondered when browsing various milliners portfolios, are the hats from previous collections - say 2 yrs back still available to commission (dependant on availability of materials), or are they purely for inspiration .. ie does each collection add to your portfolio of *available to buy hats* or do you only offer say 10-15 hats with each new collectione? home im making sense!
VMM is just short hand for my millinery line Vivienne Morgan Millinery
I tend to sell off any remaining hats from my previous collections at discount price just before I release a new collection. I do however keep a variety of "old" hats from previous collections so that clients who come for an appointment can try them on. There are one or two styles that I consider to be very "VMM" and these I tend to update and re-launch in different colours/ materials each season.
best of luck!