Business Briefing: Entering the World of Sewing Contractors

The day before our flight, I picked up the production patterns for my shirt from my pattern maker and mailed them to one sewing contractor in Massachusetts and another in New Jersey. While I’m in Vietnam, they’re (hopefully) completing the production samples that will allow me to decide which contractor to use.

The Queens Economic Development Corporation is sponsoring the business plan competition that I’m in, so I’m also looking for a sewing contractor in Queens, which led me to this place in Long Island City last Monday.

The man with whom I met is actually a middle man between designers and sewers. Unfortunately, he couldn’t guarantee that Queens sewers would make my product or that sweatshop workers would not make my product, so I’m still looking.

I’m also looking in Vietnam, as I mentioned last December. Other than taking Vietnamese lessons, I’d done nothing to prepare for the search, but my dad did. He contacted John and Arlita Fast, a couple who runs Organik, a company that supplies organic fruits and vegetables to individuals and hotels in Vietnam. The Fasts contacted a pastor whose wife has a sewing shop, and the morning after we arrived in Vietnam, we drove to her shop with another set of production patterns and fabric. I post pictures after the jump.

Here are the Fasts and my niece in back of the van. It was humbling that six other people (Mom, Dad, Mr. Campbell, my niece and the Fasts) were willing to spend their entire morning with me this way.
We arrived after an hour of Saigon traffic. We’ll never find the place again without the Fasts!

They served us dragon fruit, pomelo, mangos and hot tea. The electricity was out, so I don’t think any of us drank the tea.
My mom, dad and Mrs. Fast all helped translate as I explained the reason for each seam and dart to the pastor’s wife and daughter. His daughter said, “I know they are very picky in the U.S. We will do a very good job. We will be very careful.”

They’ll bring the samples to our hotel the day before Mr. Campbell and I leave for the States. I hope they’re good. I don’t expect them to be perfect, but I feel that with the right technical person explaining things from my end, and the right Vietnamese translator on their end, we have a good chance of working together. Now to research shipping and customs costs.

Up All Night

Today’s the big day. We’re off to Vietnam for two weeks. I’ll try to check in every now and then, but if you’d like to follow our trip, we’ll be posting about it on

Now it’s time to finish packing. I picked up a great Panache tankini today, and I’ll definitely be writing about it. (Nothing after the jump.)

Internet Treasure Hunt

Don’t you love when you start clicking links and discover new treasures on the internet? That’s what happened last night when I clicked a tweet from the Polish blog Stanikomania (“Bra Mania” in English, thanks to Google Translator). See a bra for the summer, a new clothing company and a super helpful forum that I found after the jump.

1. Here’s a possible solution to the sweaty summer months ahead: the Cotton Cool balconette by Faubourg 183 is 65% cotton and goes up to an H, and the Buds and Roses balconette is 86% cotton and goes up to a GG. I love the gingham lace trim on Buds and Roses!

2. And you have to check out BiuBiu, a Polish company that designs and manufactures clothing for large-breasted but not full-figured women. You can find an English translation of an interview with the company’s founder here. I have no idea how the sizing works or what the exchange rate is, but let’s keep an eye on BiuBiu and hope she makes it easier soon for Americans to buy her clothes.

3. Finally, Thirty-Two D is a moderated forum with 419 members that has been in existence since 2006. I’ve just joined and can’t wait to participate. I think you’ll find the like-minded (and like-bosomed) perspectives refreshing!

why I’m going for the niche that VS is ignoring for lingerie and others are ignoring for clothing

From Yuli Ziv’s blog

“You need to target at least a billion dollar market.” This statement alone leaves lots of niches untouched, and encourages innovation only in certain areas. This also creates trends and over saturation in the same space. Do we really need Foursquare AND Gowalla? While competition is a healthy thing in a capitalism environment, I tend to believe that if half of this innovation was channeled into “non-trendy” niche markets our lives could be improved much more.

“You have to be a leader in your space.” This world is full of successful businesses that are not brilliant or revolutionary, or talked about in press every day, but they do a great service. They make their founders happy, and generate revenues sometimes as big as those of the “leaders”. If every business was a leader in their space, we would live in a world without competition, and eventually innovation.