$26
pledged of $300pledged of $300 goal
3
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, March 13 2019 12:01 AM UTC +00:00
MadelineBy Madeline
First created
MadelineBy Madeline
First created
$26
pledged of $300pledged of $300 goal
3
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, March 13 2019 12:01 AM UTC +00:00

About

My Background as a Designer

        I began sewing when I was about 12 years old, encouraged mainly by the creative women in my life. My mother taught me to use her sewing machine in my childhood home, surrounded by the remnants of supplies from my family's now-closed tailor shop. I began toying with pockets and pouches, and I started to experiment with apparel around age 14 when I sewed my first dress. When I was attended high school, I pledged to myself that I would attempt to design and construct a dress for myself for every homecoming and prom I attended. By the time I graduated, I had a portfolio of over 30 garments that I had sewn with only the skills I learned from my mother, and what I had taught myself. 

        I knew I needed to refine my skills, as I had little knowledge of industry standards and the logistics of the fashion world. I began my professional journey at Kent State University, one of the Top 5 fashion schools in the United States. Kent has a challenging and innovative fashion curriculum, but I am a firm believer that you receive from an experience what you put into an experience. As a result, I felt my skills grow and become refined by trial and error.

        During my studies, I experimented with different products and business models. I couldn't shake the entrepreneurial bug, so I worked at an on-campus student entrepreneurial office that helped me develop and process my business ideas. I observed and grew a lot from these small, short business projects, often adapting and rebranding, contently aware that none of them would be an end point for me. 

        By senior year, I finished my summer internship in New York City, and I had a new momentum for my design identity (view my current portfolio here) and entrepreneurial prospects. I wanted to create a brand that aligned with that. I had learned which systems of production worked best for which budgets, which tools I would need, and I found myself thoroughly observing trends (both in design and business) from successful fashion entrepreneurs. Willie Grim became a product of this experience. 

The Brand

        Branding is a huge component of the business design, and I have found that using Instagram, as a business tool, is the best method for 1) developing a brand image, and 2) direct selling to peers and local consumers. Willie Grim by design has a strong brand image, and I consider it the primary marketing outlet for the business. 

        Willie Grim as a figurehead of the brand represents a woman who seizes opportunities of pursuit and spontaneity, and knows how to say no to experiences that don't bring her excitement and growth. In essence, she is the ego of the brand who is designed to encourage confidence and general badassery. 

        I came up with the name "Willie Grim" to symbolize a dichotomy of perspectives on life: the hopeful and the pessimistic. "Willie" representing the frivolous, spontaneous, and humorous; contrasted against the "Grim" reminder that these things in life are fleeting. I wanted the message of the brand to encourage my customers to embrace this frivolity, against the impermanence of life. In my designs, this often manifests as fun colors and cheeky details contrasted against edgy silhouettes and dark motifs. 

The Business 

        Willie Grim as a clothing label is a two-fold operation: one-of-a-kind handmade pieces in high fashion styles that fall in a designer price range (1OF1 Collection), and manufactured-as-ordered apparel in trendy sportswear styles that fall in an affordable price range (RTW Collection). Both of which are operated on an e-commerce platform and integrated into an online store. This allows me to have full range of creativity as a designer while widening my market in multiple price points and styles of taste. View the live online store here.

        I produce the 1OF1 Collection myself on a non-seasonal basis in the sewing studio in my home. I use both purchased fabrics and upcycled materials (such as secondhand-clothing and remnant fabric) to create a wide variety of styles and sizes. Some of these garments are considered more "avant-garde" and appropriate for an editorial or street style setting. For this reason, they are uniquely one-of-a-kind. 

        The RTW Collection is produced one at a time, as each piece is ordered by a customer, using a process called "drop shipping". Products are designed in advance from a selection of basic screen-printable apparel, then packaged and shipped one by one from a host warehouse. This eliminates the need to invest in an hefty inventory, allowing me to grow my business without blowing the budget. Willie Grim utilizes three warehouses (two US, one European) via American vendor Printful®, which values efficient shipping and ethical production.

Future Growth 

        Willie Grim is growing! My business is small, but it is gaining momentum faster than I expected when I launched the brand in September of 2018. In order to create manageable growth, I'm going to need to invest in some small tools and resources that I've narrowed down to two categories: production supplies and business supplies. For brevity's sake, I've created a list of some specific items your contribution could support:

Production Supplies

  • The purchase of sample apparel for use at pop-up events, editorial campaigns, and general advertising
  • Fabric material and fabric storage components
  • Studio supplies such as thread, pins, interfacing, zippers
  • Custom Willie Grim Logo labels, price tags

Business Supplies

  • business cards
  • website maintenance
  • Point-Of-Sale interface
  • event fees
  • display supplies such as hangers, garment bags, clothing racks

I realize some people may not resonate with the Willie Grim customer but still want to support my craft and my endeavors, so if you are able to make a contribution I extend my deepest gratitude! 

Rewards

  • Contribute $5 or more and receive a Willie Grim Logo Sticker
  • Contribute $30 or more and receive a Willie Grim Logo Phone Case
  • Contribute $60 or more and received a Willie Grim Unisex Tee of your choice

Available Cases: iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus, iPhone 6/6s, iPhone 7 Plus/8 Plus, iPhone 7/8, iPhone X/XS, iPhone XR, iPhone XS Max, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S8+, Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S9+

Available Tee Styles: Burnout, Wagon, Chain

Available Tee Sizes: S, M, L, XL, 2XL

Risks and challenges

Challenges that face this project lie in keeping up with trends and accurately interpreting them for the products I design, as well as the risk of developing products that do not sell as projected. However, I feel my business plan minimizes this risk with drop-shipping methodology, eliminating the possibility of dead stock.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Willie Grim Logo Sticker

    Perfect for a laptop or notebook. See 'About' section for more info.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Willie Grim Logo Phone Case

    See 'About' section for more info. Available Cases: iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus, iPhone 6/6s, iPhone 7 Plus/8 Plus, iPhone 7/8, iPhone X/XS, iPhone XR, iPhone XS Max, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S8+, Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S9+

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Willie Grim Unisex Tee of your choice

    See 'About' section for more info. Email Kickstarter receipt to williexgrim@gmail.com with Style Name (Burnout, Wagon, Chain) and Size (S, M, L, XL, 2XL)

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
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Funding period

- (60 days)