Hey gang, I'm new to the comm.
I've been officially "in business" since '08, but I've been sewing for as along as I can remember. I've started out with mostly accessories (some lolita-inspired, some not) but I'm hoping to move onto full lines within the next two years. My business name is "Cosplay Cafe", which I registered with the intention of doing both costuming and fashion, but that desire has changed. (Cosplay has too many grey areas regarding copyright laws and I'd rather just stay out of it!). Luckily for me, in the fashion world "Costume" also means "Dress" so I can still whole-heartedly keep the name and not have to go through lots of paperwork with the government to have it changed ;) For the time being, however, I've been making accessories and doing custom fashion & costume commissions as a means to earn capital (fashion lines don't launch themselves!)
I'm a recent graduate with a BS in Family & Consumer Sciences with an emphasis on Fashion Merchandising which is a comprehensive program which offers coursework in a variety of areas including: visual merchandising, entrepreneurship, fashion promotions, textile science, psychology & sociology of apparel, buying, technologies, cultural dress, global logistics, customer service, and professionalism (I'm sure there's more I didn't list). I've been shopping around for various grad schools, because I've decided that when I'm old and my fingers can't sew anymore I'd like to teach. I had the pleasure of doing my internship with a US retailer who sells a variety of fashion merchandise (including lolita) at conventions. During my time with the company we carried both Japanese brands (Metamorphose, Innocent World, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, Alice and the Pirates, & Angelic Pretty) and off-brand merchandise (Sweetheart Slips, Rakuen Fashions, Lolita Princess, Fan+Friend & some handicrafts). I also had the pleasure of going on a buying trip to Japan where I convinced myself I just needed a full-sized black & blue Usakumya rucksack :)
My original intention was to enter one of our regional fashion week's "Project: Design" competition in which the global public gets to pick their favorites to be seen on the runway. Unfortunately, they've since decided to make it an annual show instead of a semi-annual show so it'll have to wait until fall if I decide to continue pursuing it at that time. At this point, I'm wondering where I'd like to launch my line(s) at should I decide to forgo fashion week (or if they decide to forgo me!). I'm located in the Midwest (specifically Illinois) so I had considered the Khaotic Kouture show at Anime Central in Rosemont (Chicago area). I'm also open to suggestion for other local venues. Some of the other conventions I had previously considered seem to have dropped their fashion shows from their programming.
Some valuable resources I've discovered:
My web host in Dreamhost. I pre-paid for five years so the price was right. It comes with a lot of ready-to-install software for a variety of activities from shopping carts, to forums, to blogging, to photo galleries, etc.
I do my business banking with Wells Fargo. I have a merchant processing account through them which allows me to run credit cards at conventions. They do have terminals, but I opted for the touch-tone processing method.
I've been thinking up some questions I've been meaning to ask, but I'll collect my thoughts and save that for another post! I'll also work on getting some design sketches touched up and posted in the next week so I can have something artistically beneficial to contribute :) I'll also keep my link off the list until I have something more substantial posted ;)