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2015

It's nearly February and 2015 is well and truly upon us. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a few weeks, to share my vision for what I want to achieve this year. I have no doubt this will end up as an enormous rambling post but hopefully you’ll stick with me.

I’ll start with a recap. 2014 was a big year for me. A lot happened and there was a mountain of change. I left the military, moved back to Melbourne and started a new business. Since starting in October I’ve been trialling and refining designs. As much as possible I’ve been getting out there to test products. Talking to you folks to find out what you like and getting feedback about the many different fabrics I’ve been working with.

This has been a challenge. I’m by no means a good sales person and like any creative person, I’m reluctant to show others my work, particularly when it feels unfinished. As I’m still sourcing, designing, testing and figuring stuff out, much of the business is fluid and constantly evolving. My products are raw. As you may have noticed I do not have any packaging (yet). This is because something as simple as changing the weight of a fabric can double the size of the finished product. I don’t have care instructions either because I’m trialling so many different fabrics. Until I decide on a set of fabrics and designs it is a waste to purchase packaging and print technical info.  My packaging to date has been ad hoc and consists of business cards glued to paper or card…

That captures the last few months in a nutshell. The test and design phase is coming to a close. I’m 99% there with fabric and have a selection of products that I’ve tested and am happy with.  Over the coming weeks these new fabrics and designs should start making an appearance.

This brings me back to the present and my goals for 2015. First and foremost my goal is to enhance the transparency of all aspects of my business. I plan on detailing, through the blog, everything about the business. I want to explain what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. Be it a good or bad decision, I’m going to explain the why. I’m going to disclose all the information about where I source my fabrics and exactly how I come up with a price. When you buy something you will understand where it has come from and where every dollar has gone. Much of what I do will not be perfect but at least it will be honest.

Next up I want to launch my first collection. As I mentioned above this is nearly done. After what will be a sewing marathon over the next few weeks I should have product ready to go. With finished product in hand I can get together with an amazing stylist and photographer to capture my vision for Mr Draper.  With beautiful photos I can publish a look book and complete the redesign and expansion of my website, www.mrdraper.com.au (including the ability to shop online). As you can see there is some kind of plan I’m following to achieve these goals however there are many steps that need to be completed sequentially.

That covers the first half of 2015. The second half of the year will see me work on a second collection and hopefully move into a larger studio that is better suited to my needs. With luck it will also have a little bit of space for a retail presence (fingers crossed).

Hopefully this gives you an insight into what I’ve been up to and what I’m doing. I’m going to post on here more regularly with a lot more information about the business side. If you have any questions or would like to know more about a particular topic just let me know.
  • Post author
    Alistair Birrell

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