Cold calling, yes, it started out as a warm idea?…

Having finished my Sample Collection I recently sat down (a week ago to be exact) and made some ‘cold-calls’ (meaning, asking store managers if they would like to see my collection and if they are looking to stock new labels). So, I was trying to arrange meetings with suitable stores to sell my collection, something that I have been anticipating ever since I started sketching in my downstairs workroom. Out of the 5 stores that I called, they all seemed excited about the fact that I had something designed and that I was a designer. Then they all asked “do you have a website or a lookbook?”….I hesitated, “eh, no..but I can email through some photos of the samples if you’d like?”…They all were flexible, “Okay”. Excited I started mocking around with the photos I randomly taken just to get a better view of the garments. They were hanging with a cream colored and possibly old looking curtain in the background and suddenly all of the samples looked tired, way to over-sized and three seasons ago. With the photos not doing them any justice I thought it would be better to show them a little sneak peak at least and attached a few to their email addresses. Making sure that I would email them all one by one and adding the store managers name as attention, no mock ups on that part is allowed. I clicked ‘send’ and smiled to myself. Yes, now it’s just a waiting game before a down pore of positive feedback and meetings were arranged. The quiet day that followed wasn’t a thrilling sign then I got my first feedback.

*Hi Alice,

Thanks so much for sending the pictures. 
Both Emma and I have had a look and decided that Rooslien & Smith is just not quite right for the emma boutique. 
Your pieces do look lovely and comfy but they had too much of a sporty, slightly masculine feel. emma clothes are very feminine and all about the figure.
I do love the imaging and lettering on tags though- gorgeous.
Good luck!
And then the second one followed:
*Hi, Thanks for getting in touch. But sorry we are mega full with labels at the moment, and your label is not quite what we are looking for. best of luck! Regards Ruben (The Boss)

Just like that I was officially ‘un-wanted’ by two of the stores that I secretly had set my hopes on. “Ugly photos”..(I mumbled annoyed to myself), it just had to be these silly looking curtains and dim light combined with a slightly blurry garment. I should have had a little photo-shoot made before this quick road-trip down to Wellington, “I should have” I kept telling myself. However, one store was still keen to see me and the samples and we met up in the end of last week. After a quick handshake and a much quicker browse through she gently cleared her throat. “These garments are very well tailored, I do like the dress and the rope idea of the Terry Hoodie (pictured next to this text) but they don’t fit this store”. I silently knew that by the second I had walked in to her store but kept smiling thinking that this was a valuable exercise. It was a quaint little thrift shop with pastel interior and little clean cut dresses scattered along the walls, not rustic or after beach looking to go with my garments. So adding my chunky surf shirts and bird printed quilt jacket in pink would have really sent mixed signals. (I didn’t like that shop decor anyways) nor did I care much for the fact that she looked like 14 and never smiled. Sorry for sounding somewhat bitter here, I’m not, in fact if anything I brushed it off and tried to think about what my mum always says “walk fast and look happy”. So I did, whilst carrying the clothes that nobody wanted. When I arrived to Willis Street which is more upmarket and way busier I stopped outside a store stocking Caroline Sills, Diesel and Maison Scotch which is my favorite labels. This is were I should sell, excited I walked in.

After a small lump in my throat had cleared I braved myself and walked up to the stylish mature woman standing behind the counter. She was busy, with the phone ringing and customers trying different garments but as she had a bit of a breather I took the opportunity and asked “who do I speak to about buying for the store?”, “I’m the manager, I do all the purchasing” she looked at me and I kept thinking, has my red lipstick faded, smudged or am I as sweaty as I feel? “I know your busy, it’s just that I’m only in Wellington today and I have a collection”. She gave the store a quick glanze and took me to the side “I’ll give you three minutes”. As I threw the garments out of the bag whilst telling each and every ones collaborate details I watched as she in silence looked at them. “Alice what season is this?”. “It’s S/S 2012”. “We have purchased all that, we will be looking at A/W 2013 in about a month, will you have anything like this then?”. “Yes, of course” knowing that I have to re-design everything and get busy as soon as I would arrive back to Tauranga. “I like them, Alice…” I will call my boss in Auckland, these clothes would sell”.

Yes, yes yes and sweet YES….I was literally flying out of there and don’t even know why I’m spending as much as a single minute elsewhere (from what I now should be doing), quickly make a sample collection for A/W (yes, New Zealand is up side down when it comes to seasons)…So, cold callings, it’s a valuable and a very humbling experience getting feedback on your samples and talk to people that are working in the industry of ‘selling and purchasing fashion’, this is the first step of many to slowly climbing that ladder of independence and success, with that said, it’s to be continued….

By the way: Love to hear if you have had any experience of showing samples or doing cold calling on your collection? Good Luck out there… xx Alice

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