Wednesday, June 24, 2009

advice

Edited 6/27/09. My main intention in this post was to inform and help others in similar situations.

To any young designer, or any person running their own business, make ABSOLUTE certain of one thing: At the end, know EXACTLY how much you will be making in the deal. Never assume. Never estimate. And don't be afraid to say NO early in the beginning. Don't be afraid of making others unhappy. Definitely, get everything in writing (as one commenter mentioned). Just make careful decisions.

People probably think that fashion designers make a ton of money. But in reality, for the majority of us, that couldn't be farther from the truth. (even if we're one of the lucky ones that "makes it" so to speak.) We spend more than we bring in. We're lucky when we break even. And we're one of the select few if and when we turn a profit. I'm still not there yet. 

Long Live Etsy: I'm a huge proponent of marketplaces where you can buy directly from the designer. It ensures the designer actually gets compensated for their work. I still realize I have so much to learn about this industry. And I'm learning, one mistake at a time.

44 comments:

sarah said...

i'm sure you will delete your post but i'm glad you got it out and will read this before you do. you show way more integrity and pride for your work than most. you have the experience and understanding of the industry now so take that and do your own thing. long live etsy! i was looking forward to being able to purchase something on their site when your collection came out, now i'll just wait for your etsy return!

littlemis said...

Don't delete this, please. People need to know about this stuff.

bunnyplant said...

I wish I could've read the full post but I'm sorry for whatever that's happened to you. I'm assuming you're not getting paid for the bluefly collection? Either way, you are a phenomenal designer and very inspiring nevertheless. Make some stuff for the boys like me! :D I will buy anything from you in a heartbeat!

Giovanna said...

Leanne, I admire your courage and honesty to say things from your heart. I'm sorry for what have happened and I hope you don't delete your post; I know it's hard, but as you said this media is kind of a therapy sometimes. I follow your blog because I admire you as a designer and as a person because you're authentic and true to yourself, which is not easy to find these days, specially in the fashion industry.
Hope things go better and also hope to have more of your designs at etsy again, I'm a fan :)
xxxx
Giovanna
ps. If you wish to visit my blog here it is:
www.bohomarket.blogspot.com
Thank you!

Leanne said...

Thanks guys. I know. I will discuss more soon, once the time is right. There are a lot of injustices here, and not just to me. People should know. In the meantime, I will be refocusing my efforts to getting a lot of new things up on my Etsy page and website.

alisa said...

please don't delete this. people need to know. and i am so sorry you are going through this.

EliseBlaha said...

yep, keep it.
and thanks for sharing.
and seriously.
LONG LIVE ETSY.

Kate Alexis Clausen said...

LONG LIVE ETSY!

seedstitching said...

oh... leanne...
i should have said hello and introduced myself ages ago... but, i can be shy and lazy sometimes...
i've been following you since the show... your designs and you inspire me and everytime there's something lovely and new in your etsy shop i check my account balance to see if i have enough... so far, not yet... but, one day! (and, i will only buy directly from you... i can promise you that!)

i'm so sorry to hear this news... blech! i can't say i know exactly what you're going through... because i don't... i'm not you nor have i been through what you are going through.
but, i do totally understand what you're talking about. last year i worked on a sewing how- to book with a famous bag designer... i picked out the fabrics, wrote the patterns, and sewed up the prototypes and some of the final pieces in the book... i got a mere thank you in the book and a small paycheck... so small... not even a third of my rent... and now, her book is doing well and that's great but her... but, not so much for me.
ugh!
so... sorry to ramble... but, it totally sucks.
and, yes... long live etsy and buying directly from the designers/ creators...
thank you for sharing with us leanne... good luck! i'm routing for you!
yours,
tiffany

seedstitching said...

p.s... (one more thing!)
i so look forward to seeing what you and your etsy shop will bring to us...

seedstitching said...

p.s... (one more thing!)
i so look forward to seeing what you and your etsy shop will bring to us...

Dylan said...

aw Leanne :( don't be sad

Nobody's perfect, You must be very upset but you sound like you're handling yourself well

I'm sorry for what's happening :(

Megan said...

It sounds like you got screwed - by someone, somehow - and that makes me so sad because I was sooo excited and happy and proud for you when you won on PR!!! I'm still rooting for you - on your journey through the rough fashion industry. I do hope you will come out on top and will learn and grow and "turn a profit" in the end!!! You deserve it Leanne!!
It's always okay to vent, as long as you never say anything you don't mean or that you will regret.

Marbella Designs said...

It is sad that something like this could happen. I hope everything works out. Your are so talented and you deserve the best!

Gail said...

I don't sew or design for a living, but I am a consultant so I get what you are saying. There are always clients that want to screw you...metaphorically speaking...

That's MIZZ Gypsy To You! said...

Long live Etsy indeed. I do love that it's possible to buy from you direct (with the obvious middleman, Etsy) and hope you continue to sell on Etsy. I hope you become one of the chosen few, because you really are that good. But I hope you don't ever leave Etsy for good.

Johanna Lu said...

I think you sharing this experience will help many others who might be in a similar situation. And I admire your courage to speak up on this matters. I think so many designers keep mum because they fear that they will bite off the hand that feeds them.

While I don't work in the biz myself, as a journalist I have encountered many similar stories, both from fashion designers and musicians (who seems to struggle with similar issues, hence why a lot of them are setting up their own record companies these days).

Hope everything works out in the end, as you say learning is an ongoing process!

Bam Bam Creative said...

Chin up ay, it's good to vent! Then, when you feel better, go kick some serious retail-jerk ass.

Long live Etsy! I love being a part of the community, just remember that our fellow Etsians have your back Leanne =)

xxx

Big love from New Zealand

grace said...

More Etsy, please!

I bought a shirt you made from a boutique on Alberta in Portland a few years ago, and I'm still wearing it!

chie said...

i know how you feel... when i do wholesale i make much less money than selling it myself, but i only do it so the name will be known...

Meg said...

I'm sorry you are going through this, how frustrating and disappointing, I would be sooo pissed. I love etsy!

fraisedesbois said...

Whatever it is, hang in there.
It is hard to know who you can trust out there.
I agree with Sara, long live etsy.
Keep your chin up and don't let anyone put you down.
You have a talent that other people don't have.
It's good for you to vent and let it out of your system.
It is unfortunate to have to go through this, whatever it is. You will come out stronger out of this.
I am sending you positive energy.
Keep creating. I love your clothes.

gabriela said...

you're brilliant leanne! don't let them bring you down... and yes! long live etsy! :)

Jordan said...

Good luck Leanne! Know you have an army of fans who admire and support you, some of whom are definitely saving up the money to buy your things on Etsy.

the lanky dance said...

Aww man! I'm so sorry. If I buy you a chicken and waffle and mail it to you would that help? Cause I'll do it. It will get better, I'm sure of it!

Rougeur! said...

Its terrible that you have been cheated out of what you deserve. It makes me so angry that people will just abuse talent and peoples time and skill just to gain a profit for an already disgustingly rich selfish business. I think thats what makes it even more important to do it yourself and use sites like Etsy. It feels good that it has already eaten a large chunk of that market, however more people need to follow your example and join sites like etsy and set up business's where they have complete control. So what I wanted to say is that Im really sorry you're in this situation but you really are an inspiration to those of us out there trying to do nearly as well as you are! Keep going!

a nonsense world said...

hiii i'm a big fan of your work, i can say that you're one of my biggest inspirations to be a fashion designer, i'm from mexicooo and finally today i'll see the premiere of project runway 5 i'm so happy :)

Anisa said...

well said Leanne!
best of luck to you!
~anisa

KatinkaPinka said...

i totally support your honesty...and long live etsy!

glam.spoon said...

there is a great misconception out there about how profitable designers are... not to mention reality TV stars. I'm sorry if you've been taken advantage of... but I'll continue to spread the word about buying direct from designers and avoiding the massive markups!!

Stephanie said...

I'm sorry something bad had to happen to you like this. Your work is amazing and you deserve so much more. Keep up the hope because you are ridiculously talented!

kathryncole said...

You have been an inspiration with your beautiful, beautiful designs. Please don't delete this. We all go through so many struggles trying to make it and it's good to know we are not alone. Thank you so much for sharing and I hope everything works out for the best. I love etsy and will love to see you back around there.
Best Wishes to you, Kathryn

CaraBella said...

I think I missed the post in full, too, but I'll also assume something went wrong with bluefly -- i'm so sorry, you were so excited about it + it sure sounded neat (from a non-fashion-industry person!). In the meantime, you've got my best, and I hope it's nothing but sunshine here on out.

lauren winter said...

this is so refreshingly honest! I appreciate you sharing with us, and hope it works out for the best! if it is still frustrating at the end of the day, at least you learned who not to do business with.

I love etsy for the simple fact that you know where your money is going - these lovingly handmade pieces are usually so personable and it feels good to help feed your creative neighbor.

NFNW said...

We love you! Please don't delete. Tell people how it is!

Your work is beautiful, and once I TOO am turning a profit in what I do, I am excited to finally buy directly from you! You have the talent of many of the greats- you'll get there. Starting out is hard and takes time, but stay strong, Leanne!

NFNW said...

i think a good thing to do as well is to get EVERYTHING IN WRITING!!!!!

denise said...

(: im a big fan of your work , your ambition and your heart. im sure things will work out for you because not only are your clothes gorgeous, but so is your personality! keep your head up and your heart set on your dreams!!

wishing you all the best!

denise

Gemma said...

I just love your designs. You are extremely talented. I was happy when you won Project Runway. Recently I watched the Philanthropist on NBC. I noticed the blouse that actress Neve Campbell was wearing looked like one of your designs. Is it?

Natalie Low said...

thanks for learning a lesson for all of us, it will always be in my mind now when making transactions.

all the best!

p.s. you will not know how many times I check your etsy to see if you've added more! I still marvel at the jacket you sent me this time last year before you took a break for project runway!

natalie
www.natalielow.etsy.com

Andres said...

Anybody want to give me a Cliff's Notes version of the original post?

Myra - twigs and honey said...

Leanne!
I'm totally feeling you! I think that's it is tough for some people to understand that even if you have something priced a certain way it doesn't mean you actually make that much in the end... you are lucky to get a fraction of what you put in. You are one of the hardest working gals I know and you deserve to be compensated as such. Kudos for saying what's on your mind! It is HARD work to be a designer.

nepalese_princess said...

LONG LIVE ETSY.
GOOD LUCK LEANNE!

TortillaGirl said...

Please don't ever delete this post. One of the reasons I branched out on my own is because I got tired of not being properly compensated for my work, not to mention the creative limitations and constant tweaks in order to get things approved by higher ups. Being alone means I don't get to make as much intensive and creative stuff as I'd like and income may be sporadic, but at least I call the shots in my own wee studio.

Leanne said...

Thank you everyone so much for your support on this. There's a lot I want to say, but at the moment I'm being silenced.