How Do I Start A Business? (Part 1)
A lot of people have excuses and doubt when they want to start a company or get started on their dream. I've heard a lot of people say "Oh, I don't have the money to start it." or "I don't have the time to work on something." "I'll go to law school or business school, and then pursue my dream." "That won't ever work out...Most businesses are destined to fail."
One of my favorite expressions I go by is, "When there is a will, there is a way." When I was in college, I couldn't stop thinking about starting a swimwear brand. I had no idea of how or where I'd start. I just could not stop daydreaming about it every day.. I thought of the name "Siempre Golden" - which will be in another blog. Luckily I knew I wanted to start a swimwear brand after my first year in college.. I was already in the process of graduating college within three years. I had a lot of AP credits that transferred over as college units. Skipping that fourth year in college saved me around $20,000. My mom and I made a deal that I would give the swimwear brand one year to see if I could make it profitable. (It's pretty tough to be profitable within the first year, but I made it happen.) We agreed that this one year of doing business would be considered my "fourth year in college".
I knew that the first step would be to trademark and then get a business license. (You can easily apply for both things online without the assistance of a lawyer.) I also realized I needed to find a pattern and sample maker - this I learned from a friend who read about it online. I did some research, but, my cousin knew about a pattern maker in Huntington Beach. He was extremely expensive and one pattern was around $1200 and this was just for a bikini top or bikini bottom. If I were to do three styles, it would cost around $7200 for both top and bottom pattern and samples. At that time I didn't have that kind of money to just throw around.
I did some more research and found another pattern and sample maker in the fashion district of Los Angeles. The challenging aspect of producing in Los Angeles is that, every little thing needs to be sourced from a different factory. For instance, if I wanted ruffles, or underwires, or spaghettis, they'd all have to be found at different factories, and then made in different places. My most innovative design was the "friendship bikini" which needed to be braided. In order, for the suit to be braided, spaghettis needed to be made. In order for spaghettis to be made, you need to buy fabric by the roll, and then find a manufacturer that can cut the fabric into thin spaghettis. We ran into an issue that the spaghettis could not be "long enough". I had everything calculated to a t, of how long the spaghettis needed to be in order to have the braid long enough for the swimsuit top and bottom. Then I ran into the issue of, no manufacturer wanting to do the braids. Those braids are time consuming, manufacturers quoted $15 per braid. There were three braids for the top and two for the bottom. I wanted to sell the swimsuit at wholesale cost around $40, for it to cost $40 to make the top was absurd, and wouldn't have worked. Multiple places told me to outsource out of the country. This is when I realized, I needed to find a manufacturer in Bali, Indonesia.
Signs pointed me to go to Bali because many companies outsourced their swimwear brands in Bali. In Bali, the hand work and artisanship is regarded highly, but still affordable. I met with three different manufacturers there, and ended up liking the one that was owned by an American. She produces for a lot of Australian swimwear brands and Target. I liked that the building was very large, spacious, and that the workers were treated well, and compensated for fairly. Even though people in Los Angeles, kept telling me no, and turning me away regarding the braids, -- if there's a will there's a way!
Here's the first style I ever created, and the braids I'm talking about! :)
We've had celebrities like Gigi Hadid and Chantel Jeffries wear this style!