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Diversifying Your Product Line

Lesson 18 of 32

Understanding Timelines


Diversifying Your Product Line

Lesson 18 of 32

Understanding Timelines


Lesson Info

Understanding Timelines

So we're going to move on to understand timelines now, so this is I'm sure we've all heard this I always in a missing days because it always takes longer than I planned. No one clever said this is it's, not from kind of like you know, ulysses or anything like that. This is I've experienced this and everyone who works in product development of production experiences of this it always takes longer you can't anticipate everything, you just have to be nimble and flexible enough that you confined last minute solutions to help you go through the current hurdle you're facing that's the only way to do it I would be I would be lying and being extremely dishonest if I just said that I've never had a time inaction, which has gone smoothly that nearly all of them I'm kind of like running to the last minute on dh it just it's just a part of the process is part of thie entertaining process, which is product development and that's where we can doing it like a month in month out because we like that c...

hallenge. So so really it's the second tape was having and stunning and how long everything takes, so at first it was it was knowing when your end data is second tip is having having an idea of how long every process takes and I call these assumptions it's like how long is a concept how long is a piece of string how long is my raw materials supply going to keep me waiting all these things you need to not just have in your head but actually physically right down on the list that's another key so this this notice board that you're building in your office right now which is going to have your mission statement and your vision statement in your concept and your target customer right underneath there is going they have your list of assumptions and it's going to be a list is going to be like that wide you're going to need like a separate room to house all this stuff but it keeps you on track with where you are it keeps you kind of understanding where you are in the process so assumptions I have it's got like a very basic list of assumptions here that that I kind of want to pass on to you but every product is going to going to be slightly different so use this as a starting point and then kind of build it out I know it in the bonus with areas while are given a kind of a more detailed list of assumptions starts from this and it kind of along gets out talks about shipping it talks about protest site samples about production on by look at from from from a global perspective on also a domestic perspective as well so it kind of gives you some help helpful hints that you continues and take to your own uses, so if we look at assumptions, building a concept can take anything from, you know, one day to four weeks it's so it's such it depends on do you have all the information with you at the time is a case of putting it on a board or do you really need to think about it and let the ideas drift in and out? So that's, you should always be thinking about inspirations we mentioned earlier, but it's like pulling it together for a particular project or a particular seasonal event, you know, could be something you do over weekend if you if you're blessed with having a weekend of no other kind of tasks to do, you can focus in on that, develop it your new product idea. One day, two, three weeks I kind of think about that as the brainstorming exercise this is like, I'm building stock scarves, I want to develop another idea, you know, I don't I'm going to do like a day brainstorming, then I'm going to go, we're going to come back in it and I'm going to start refining it that's what I mean by building out your product or developing your product idea only we're talking about an idea right now source and receive you materials. I put four weeks question mark because it get it depends on where you're all materials are. If I'm sourcing raw materials from from offshore in asia, it could take a lot longer. I'm sourcing something from northern california. I know I'm going to have it in a couple of days, probably so, but understanding how long it takes to get your raw material, everything in place to get going, not just the the physical materials you make with that, maybe the hang tags, maybe packaging that you used to working with us. Well, making a prototype and making production again, this will very enormously, depending on whether you're making yourself or whether you're asking, you know, you haven't ordered you too big, you need toe, um, what's going on, not sublette subcontract, outsource, that's the word I'm thinking I'm thinking of something completely different, I think anyway, outsource perfect it's a collaborations like teamwork going on here, I love it. S o the assumptions these are the kind of the basic, um, kind of key assumptions that I always start with because I know that by having these I'm going to have certain milestones in place that I can work around, um, now, assumptions of very unique. To your product in a very unique to you, so principles again, we talked about it that this is the beginning, these are just principles that you work within, you manage and kind of build it into your own product, start with key timings and add to it continually. This is this is a kind of a really ah vital point, because assumptions change all the time, and you should just have, like, a list, like a regular kind of google dark or notebook that you use for planning and keep padding to it every time you get light, you're working on a new product has like a different process, a different supplier. I normally have a sheet where I put all my raw material suppliers, everyone I work with, how long everything takes, you know, if you know, ordering if material isn't stock, I know it could be two to maybe like a week or so if it needs to be ordered, then it could be four to six weeks, you know, so I would actually put seven weeks down if it's four to six weeks, I always add on a little bit extra, so I basically I have a list which I'm constantly extending its around my whole development process, and I take it with me from company to companies as to who I work with, because I don't want to have to rebuild it every single time I start a new project I wanted to be there is a reference point when I'm thinking about new product on when I'm trying to develop it. So these timelines called milestones, okay? So milestones for me is material ordering shipping, and I kind of blocked them out into different categories, sampling prote so typed production so the actual making of the product, the shipping of the materials are the product, the dates of the fabric or craft fairs. So if you've got any affairs that you're specifically focusing on, if you buy material from it from a fabric fair, you to plug those in because they they're pretty consistent year on you selling a product, local holidays and festivals, so local holidays and festivals is something a lot of people forget about, but they can be really caught out on, um, timing when that's the case, the first thing that they're kind of jumps from those two things. Actually, when I think about local holidays and festivals is chinese, new year happens was a third week of january to kind of like second week of feb pretty much it's varies a little bit if you don't anticipate this in your planning. You're good school but khun b stuck and you won't get them until the end of february or if you need something for march you need to you need to put in much earlier to anticipate that three weeks that no one will do anything ok so that's a key thing if you if you know you're going to be working with asia factor that in um another another important thing is if you're working in southern europe in summer as anyone here kind of worked within europe okay, so portugal and italy and most of half of france a low half france pretty much closes in the month of august nothing happened to have you have you have any kind of manufacturing raw materials nothing will happen they rushed to get everything out by the end of july and they open up again in september. So again this is kind of industry information that you need to kind of plug in something very kind of u s bases thanks thanksgiving you know and kind of making sure you have a lot of these kind of craft events going up in october and november and december factoring in that kind of the week of thanksgiving then really not much is going to be people are going to be focused on kind of family events on, you know, small business saturday or outside the monday or whatever it's going to be very hard to kind of it is going so whenever I one of the very first things I do when I when I build a time inaction is I put all my local holidays in everything that may affect delivery or sourcing of raw materials okay, so these are my kind of key milestones material ordering sample making shipping times on local holidays but then my kind of starting points so you're halfway there once you got this list these are kind of like the complex elements the rest is kind of plug in here in on dh switching things around there are definite variables depending on your business the variables I've listed here is basically two different scenarios crafting is a hobby old crafting is a business and you could start off as a hobby and then turn into a business or you could consider it as a hobby business I don't want to kind of be to kind of separate in these but if we kind of look at scenario one is crafting a zahabi um thinks well that's kind of ask this ask you guys um actually let's start with you again first of all do you the products that you're making right now do you see these is kind of like crafting starting is crafting is a hobby you do see is it kind of straight into a business how do you in terms of what they're for me? Yeah um they're definitely my business right um I think I started out years ago making them as a hobby, right? And making other things as a hobby and what was said, what was the defining moment when you switched over? Why did you switch over the kind of the thinking of harvey to business? Well, I stopped, I stopped teaching full time, right? And I wanted to dedicate my time to running, running my business, right? So I think it was it was definitely that that point when I switched over, you're kind of out of necessity, but out of also I purposefully made that switch, right? Yes, it was a very kind of, like, very definite mindset shift into, you know, probably to business full steam ahead. Yeah, kind of had him because I gave myself no other option right now, it's like I'm this is a if yeah, to push yourself into a corner it's like this is going to have a nice catherine I'm pretty much started out as a business site. Did I start out? Well, I made a bunch of the steampunk christmas ornaments for a club project, and we're during decorations at the easy historical house and in the middle of the people kept out see if this is a product I sold and realize hey, our product, I could make a business out of this there's demand nice nice now, it's I mean it's often that's often how it is I mean, I it's often starts outgoing hobby idea you know I'll try this and then you kind of get the makers bergen the business brother before you know it's actually forced itself into a business and your your usual, huh? Ok, this is pretty cool. I mean, I think when I look at the variables here looking at scenario one is kind of crafting a zahabi selling online ad hoc, self made product all domestic materials in the one thing that kind of jumps out is the kind of selling selling on I online ad hoc it's kind of I'm going to make some products, you know, it's I also have a job. This is this can help save my kind of creative urge that I have working as a business crafting is a business it's selling online and fares you're really committing to these kind of key events in the calendar associated with your product homemade but planning to scale. So looking at the possibility of scaling, I think we wanted to move away from wearing all the hats and having that wanting to kind of really spend your time in different areas of the business I think is key materials and domestic or offshore they can still be domestic and not saying it has to go offshore tool so this a different way of thinking so I think the variables that you need tio kind of think about just be aware off it is like what drives your business what you know is a business you've got absolute craft fairs absolute wholesalers and retailers or is it something that you just want to test the market kind of get it on another one at sea ad hoc basis. Okay, so that's how I kind of define that crafting of the hobby may take less structure in crafting is a business I mean, this is completely open to debate because I know crafting of any time needs structure you need to know where your old materials air coming from timelines may be slightly different that's what I mean on this is the kind of the real difference she differentiating feature but it's okay it's okay if you know different timelines you again you working with ah product in a business which is very unique to you s o I mean the media is going to put my hand upon this one how many people run out of time with projects? Yeah, I think we've got unanimous show of hands something everyone does no one is immune from even someone who speaks out on time and action plans I run out of time all the time um and I'm ashamed to admit it but we have a safe global warm huggy audience here so I feel like I'm in a safe space so we're going to start off with the end point, which, again, we mentioned this a couple of slides ago it's so important to know when you're selling, when your end point is, when you want a good delivered to the customer or to the store or to the craft market to define your end date, welcome back with your timing and this will prevent a rushed product that is the key questions swirling around in my mind, and it is, um due to the fact that I paid engine to a lot of other designers, especially successful ones that are in the really similar market or say, we have probably the same customers on guy noticed, like, three to four weeks out before the craft fairs or whatever that we're both doing, they will have, like, a professional photo shoot of these finished like, glossy pieces, and this and I'm still like halfway through production or like making stuff, or even still coming up with ideas like tio, like suggest essid timeline for teo allow for marketing. Ah, yeah, we mentioned that a little bit later, but what I what I will say is, um, how how big is the team that's a good question that definitely, I mean, I'm one person they definitely have when I say they I'm thinking of several different designers, but they all all of them have teams. Okay, so that's, good that's going to make a huge difference because you're a one man show with, like, four hundred different hats that you're wearing on every day. Having a bigger team means that everyone takes key ownership of different aspects, and the planning could be much easier. They can it's often. I mean, all of definitely plan into their structure on the planning is toe when tio to shoot product and when to have it ready. But you have more people to actionable things. It's definitely going to be easier. One thing I will say is that, um, one of the suggestions I make is by using prototypes and having having a prototype, which is in a cz close, and the finnish material and it's close is a color, as you can, using their for the pr and marketing. So making a prototype for a spending, spending time and energy on even an extra little bit of money, if you can on making a prototype is realistic and as close as possible. And then that's done right the beginning, because then you go into production. You can then use that prototype to shoot for promotional the materials into the sampling stage things yes, so the prototype is right at the beginning. So what? I we're going to talk through it, but I know we do a prototype first of all, then I look at it and review it and proto is you know, it's the first time you see a three d object, so you really kind of working at it thinking you were like shape the proportions of texture if you do and that works and the next stage will be to go into bold production or going to around a sampling depending on how you want to call it me maybe you make kind of twenty or thirty pieces, but you're basing everything on that probe. The type that you're happy with that prototype is then you can use it for pr purposes or you can use it for just cross checking the production to make sure that your production is accurate according to what you saw originally so it's like working back and just checking again the prototype is a really valuable piece not always you can't always you make it in the exact material with the exact color but it's definitely a worthwhile attempt if you can because you can then use that to be ahead of the game for promotional purposes and promotional material and start tweeting and talking about it and whatever so that's that's what I've actually built in further into the deck to explain that but that's that's yeah, I'm glad you brought that up so maybe skipping ahead or maybe touching on things that we're not going to touch on but like he said you're a one person show I'm for the most part of one person show I've had people coming in and out but that doesn't work so well um do you think that at a certain point when you're having these deadlines that air becoming difficult tio meet the demand is there do you feel like there's a tipping point where you're like ok this is the good time this is the right time to get someone in to help I know that's kind of a vague and difficult question it depends on what you what you what you need help with if you need if you need skilled help then is a little it could be the right time if you need an extra pair of hands to do the stuff which is a time consuming but not the creative stuff yeah it's a great time to get um like someone did package yeah just clinton so taskrabbit is you know you could get people to kind of come along and just help package will help put hang tags on things um you know they'll may sit there where they had phones in you know, sometimes mundane work is you know have time to spend two hours kind of tagging something right because you need to be focused on the kind of like the rial creative stuff but these things are going to tag themselves right? So it's really a question of like I'm going to lose a couple of maybe two two hoursworth of I'm not sure how much they charge of getting a couple of students into a task rabbit to do this process for you to take that off your hands you know so you can focus on the sweet stuff very definitely the right thing to do I mean the other option is to get an intern and get some like a like a college intern and kind of give him you know like a small project whether it's kind of like a business in turn to kind of help kind of like managing books and filing things like that or creative in turn you know they need valuable experience of working in a company you need someone who has that kind of passion and creativity to want to help and learn a business it's like things like perfect match they get to learn you get an extra pair of hands you get someone who has a genuine interest um again it takes you away from the day to day time consuming you know, mundane definitely every every business has gotten mundane aspects but they has to be done in order for business to roll I get if I personally I'm not like ah holt because I can't get any bigger because I can only take on so much they get the opportunity to get bigger is right in front of me yeah you know and so then it becomes I think I think the key thing is learning what you can delegate without um ah taking away the creativity and aesthetic of your brand so it's just like what takes most of your time is it businesses is it had meant is he running down to kind of post things get someone else to do that focus on on you know what you're really interest is you've split the workload you have spent a fortune doing it um and you know it's it's building your team yeah you can also do it on the moments where it works for you you don't have to have someone there all the time yeah cats rabbits agree yeah yeah yeah and I never thought of never for something like that that it does make sense yeah, I mean nothing a card and putting it in a sleeve yeah doesn't get some good tunes were good podcast on kind of great work today and I'm sure all types of businesses have those half absolutely absolutely has people happy to dio so yeah, I should definitely utilize that thank you you're welcome um so a question um I think we have seen a little bit something missing from the question slider should be kind of macro micro way start building a list of your milestones starting with your are in dates for event so whether you're working in a kind of a super high level way or a super detailed way stop thinking about individually when your end data is what is your key milestone so be great to get some kind of milestone information from the from the creative buzz out there on dh yeah I'm going to start a site where are we now we're in may ok so katherine when is your next kind of key milestone do you think, eh vending possible on pure thirty five at the end of this month. Nice okay, so you've got more like two weeks into prep busy? Yeah super busy also have a client to needs me to design some custom things for her for hurry trunk show the following weekend my goodness and she wants and deliver before possible for some reason, right? Okay, yeah. So that's so that's kind of a good keystone toe to key milestones to work to actually when when's your next you just had that use recently crowd wanting you two days ago okay? I'm like unwinding come probably probably halt the holiday season ok? Probably not for not right at all until then kind of by october november time yeah, I'm not sure when the prophet's start here because it's runabout reason it yeah yeah okay I mean in my mind that's where I'm going I'm leaning towards no, I'm also trying to get my website redesign, so that also going to be a key mile sky key, master key marketing milestone you need to work on a nice what we have in the chat room. Chris, we have one clarifying question from sassy seamstress, and she says, I am I understanding correctly that milestones are the important dates or time frames to remember for development and launching? Is there ah, concrete definition to a milestone? Is it something that could be interpreted differently for each business is not concrete, something vague that I just threw out there to try and confuse people I would like to be? T definitely, well, it's going to change region is going to change responses. I say milestones of the key key events. So for instance, I would say a milestone is, um when you went to craft for when you're going to launch, when do you have to have have to have the goods ready for when you need to start production when you need to have materials in front and ready? Um on probably when you, when do you define your collection plan or define what goods you're going to be making? I would say, though those are the key milestones, everything when you need a definitive time or a process for things to come together okay, great, we'll find some other ones air coming in. It seems like a lot of people are looking at the calendar and looking at holidays red scorpio says. The holiday season's, my next big milestone, but that starts already with pr and starts to build up before that and got to start pitching gift guides. Holiday gift guide, zara milestone, that's coming up and sassy, seamster says. Now that there's a little more clarity there. My next milestone is launching a completely new line, but I've been saying that for a year, but now it's really going to happen at the end of the summer, so they're setting a goal there. Great, okay, some great milestones are definitely.

Class Description

Once you’ve established your business with a single, successful product, imagining what else to sell can be daunting. You don’t want to end up with a disjointed collection of products, but you do want it to be fresh and exciting for existing customers. In Diversifying Your Product Line, you’ll learn the art and science of expanding your offerings and growing your business.

Susie Breuer is the author of Blue is the New Black: The 10 Step Guide to Developing and Producing a Fashion Collection and in this class she’ll help you generate ideas and make smart decisions about expanding your apparel and/or accessories business. You’ll learn how to:

  • Research the market to understand both price and your customers.
  • Build a concept and action plan for starting out
  • Manage multiple product lines
  • Source raw materials and manufacturers

You’ll learn how to accurately assess a product's viability before you waste time and money developing it. Susie will also teach you how to develop a consistent, logical pricing strategy you can use again and again.

Susie makes the complex process of developing a financially solvent product and production plan easy. You’ll get expert-level insights into all aspects of developing a new product and walk away confident that you know everything you need to know to expand your business.



Thank you for an excellent class on a key pivot point no matter what industry you are in. One stellar quality of this course is how collaborative, friend focused peer culture and (rather than hostile competition or dysfunction competition environment and psychological atmosphere). The structure suggestions enable creativity and acknowledges different mindsets required in different phases. Susie honors the joy that comes from making and creating. She celebrates the interdependence between all stakeholders and the fun and flow as well as learnings and choices from being a 'business'. She is pragmatic but high on the inclusiveness of fun and satisfaction. She is interested and interesting: safe, enjoys being a customer as much as teacher and expressions of creative generation for herself. You can be caught up in the delight of her view of the world if you have become jaded or burnout. This brings perspective and empowerment to your desire and goals.


Susie has this most amazing experience in business - she is fashion royalty - but has an amazing ability to put all her knowledge across in a way that you can learn so easily. I was so pleased that she could show you how to learn from her experience and it would make sense for your business. Pretty much whatever you are doing. I came away from these sessions with so many ideas. But of course ideas are cheap. She has made me understand how once you have an idea, how to make it real. So many great learnings about avoiding pitfalls, practical check lists and honest to goodness 'know how'. I am already putting her advice into practice and can see I am going to transform my business just because of these classes. I am going to come back to those videos again and again. Thank you so much for making this great resource available.


I LOVED THIS COURSE. After being a small business owner for 10 years it is easy to focus on what's right on your desk at that very moment instead of evaluating the bigger picture, to forget how to look at what is working as well as what isn't and how to improve upon your process. Courses like this make me want to jump up out of my seat and get back to work. Susie kept me engaged and focused. It can be a long day but time seemed to fly by. I am really glad I got the opportunity to take the course, not only would I take it again but would highly recommend future Creative Live courses and Susie's latest book. Thank you again for the opportunity and now I gotta get back to work!