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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Inspiring

Sometimes I think about where pequitobun as a business might go. As it grows, gains more press and grows its customer base, can I keep it as small as it has been? Of course, that day is waaaaay far off, but I believe I should know, at least, where I would like it to be headed.

Quite a few people have told me the inevitable direction that it will have to eventually go is to mass produce my designs in China in order to make it available for wholesale. That was the proposal that I turned down from a sales rep scouting for Urban Outfitters about a year ago (I believed she eventually signed on two big indie names that are now selling their jewelry in Urban Outfitters, with their brands on the tags). "Mass produced in China for $0.34 a piece" is just totally in opposite to the spirit of what I wanted when I started pequitobun, and I can't ever see it going that way.

But, is it even feasible to resist?

My niggling doubts about that were a little assuaged by a piece I read in NYT today about Rodarte, the whimsical fashion line of the Mulleavy sisters, who I remember took the fashion world by storm a few seasons back with their detailed, unique, gorgeous couture gowns. The critics' darling apparently only sold all of 500 pieces, including accessories last year, a very nicely manageable number. In response to the commercialization of fashion that almost requires mass production, they say, “You hear these fairy-tale stories about designers who start selling one day and then three years later, they’re making $20 million a year,” Laura adds. “That’s not in our plan. That’s not the kind of clothing we do. We don’t make a product that can be mass-produced.”

(images from NYmag.com)

I love it. Really, I need to remind myself that creative design, quality and the work and detail behind creating does matter to people, instead of worrying too much that in order to grow, I need quantity and mass. Tomas Maier of Bottega Veneta said a while back, "They (the buyers) don’t want something flashy that everybody else has. They are looking for unique handcrafted things that can’t immediately be reinterpreted at every level of the marketplace."

Although I'm obviously nowhere within sight of the leagues of the above two design houses ={, I design because I love it, I enjoy the creative process and the handmade nature of each piece I put out, and it is great to know that that might be enough in the commercial world, by successful designers who live it everyday.

3 comments:

Her Divaness said...

It is a mantra that I too subscribe to, Sherry. Despite my (occasional) yearnings to put my legs up and have minions madly dashing about for me, I cannot and will not see my brand becoming that. It's just not what Artisan Hand-Crafted Jewellery is all about, as you know :)

I intend to stay indie, as coveted an indie label as possible, and maybe someday, both Kate Moss and Cameron Diaz (or whomever their successors should be) will strut to the Oscars bedecked in our pieces, eh?

xo Sheela xo

pequitobun said...

yes, of course, you understand! that day will come, i know it! your pieces are really intricately constructed, i'm not sure they can at all be mass produced unless you're talking underpaid sweatshop... !

oh, and also, i love kate moss, i think she'll be around for a long, long time, so maybe in that far off future, she'll wear our pieces =)

x

Her Divaness said...

Here's to us, Sherry!! And all indie designers out there :)

xoxoxo

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