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Thursday, August 28, 2008

California apparel industry and Texas

The price of not calling on my IT friend for help setting up my new computer: Lost articles. If you are so inclined you can search for the article background. Here is the gist of the lost article. Gt


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I have often stated California’s number one position in apparel. Even now, the state’s industry is engaged in new strategies between designers and independent contractors in Los Angeles. These defensive strategies are in response to increasingly high fuel costs and foreign competition. The offensive components of this strategy include; 1.) utilization of an abundant supply of local apparel talent, 2.) quick turnaround on small and large orders not possible with large foreign and domestic manufacturers, and 3.) the development of personal relationships between designers and ICs. Thus far, this has resulted in a bustling apparel economy, despite the struggling overall economy. There may well be displaced workers who would differ with that statement, but the resourceful, innovative approach by the California apparel industry in Los Angeles brings up a question.


WHAT ARE THE LESSONS FOR TEXAS APPAREL?


Again, I have often stated Texas is number one . . . in the number of displaced apparel workers. The previously stated conditions are true and affect the apparel industry in both states. Unlike California, Texas is number one in the nation in exports for eight years in a row. Although the California economy is bigger than the Texas economy Texas continues to distance itself more and more from California in exports. Mexico is Texas’ number one trade partner, with California, again, a distant second. Certainly, Texas does not lag behind with a wealth of apparel resources of its own. The lessons for Texas apparel: 1.) utilize local independent contractor talent, 2.) quick turnaround of product orders from local ICs means nominal or elimination of inventory stockpiling and quick return of investment, too, and 3.) relationships with local ICs are a human interaction valued as much for dignity, idea exchanges and friendship as for product delivery. It bears pointing out IC-Networks are neither employers nor jobs. They are at-home enterprises.


THE IC-NETWORK MODEL


While I could be off on some details I understand the California model involves an individual designer partnering with an “independent contractor” who employs a small group of apparel workers to manufacture apparel items. This is the traditional, conventional model. Moving from such a conventional model to an at-home Independent Contractor Network model involves change. Change is seldom easy. It may be easier when it is thrown at us than when we think, plan, decide and implement it. The idea of change can make us reflect on how “everything’s fine”, “the last time I tried that I failed”, or “I don’t know if that will work” and not about moving forward. The innovative at-home IC-Network model is the Texas model for implementation of these lessons by apparel designers and contractors. The model can be implemented in California or anywhere in the nation where producers (designer/contractor) and buyer (retailer) are found. A network is as big or as small as required to fulfill orders, not just for one buyer, but as many as buyers as partner with the IC-Network. Their income is generated through; 1.) personal productivity, 2.) residual income, and 3.) bonuses. They are not the designer’s or retailer’s employees. They are truly Independent Contractors. Further, network membership options are available for all.


WHAT CAN AN IC-NETWORK ENABLE ME TO DO?


1.) A private label of your own for your, a.) seasonal apparel items, and b.) fashion designs. A favorite question I like to ask when meeting boutique owners, “Do you own your own label?) The answer is, “no”, usually.

2.) Custom-made, or customer-made apparel need not be ceiling price as in the past. Both, contractors and retailers, have cut themselves out this market through their pricing. It is far better to create a product at a marketable price sustained through quality and repeat customers than to sit idly waiting for the next “big” job or sale.

3.) Expand your sales reach to customers and retail clients through your IC-Network partners. If you are a network member and IC-Networkers who produce your apparel are contracted by a retailer to produce your fashion design that’s sales income for you and the IC-Networker without you threading a needle or lifting a finger.


WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO START A NETWORK IN TEXAS?


1.) Attend the next business presentation in Round Rock TX when it is announced. 2.) Review the FAQs on this blog to inform yourself. 3.) Prepare yourself for change.

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