Ready Made Escapades Part 3 - The Valentines Day Meme


Pink. For the last week, I've been working with pink. I never thought I'd see the day where I was designing clothing for women. I've always figured I could do it, but honestly - I didn't actually think that I would. I'm a guy. I'm a nerd. I design web sites and play text based online role playing games. I dream of the day when I am once again holding my girlfriend in my arms, but now when I dream of that perfect scene - she's looking stunning, sexy, and hot wearing one of my creations.
I repeat, I didn't see myself standing here blogging about fashion when I started last year. We are a technology company with the purpose of trying to help develop a movement to take American Samoa online. I want to see our GDP start rising with private sector sales to off island customers. I want to see exports and digital commerce. But, as it turns out that bridging the digital divide is difficult when you haven't crossed it yourself successfully and have an example to hold up as a reason why people should trust you. Hence's ecommerce efforts... 
To make things more interesting, at first I started with regular elei to investigate the market. It was a success, very easy. Not too relevant to my ultimate goal of doing something more unique, more profitable, something with more panache. I kept at doing the regular elei on regular non-stretch materials, but I kept on thinking that it would be much better on stretch. I kept on telling my supplier to try it on stretch and that I would buy it. No luck. Finally I just did it. I bought the material and sent it to my supplier and paid the premium prices charged to print on material that drapes and stretches. The fabric sold slowly but it sold. Whatever didn't sell... well...
...I decided to use to make a dress for my girlfriend and three fabrics and dresses later I put the third dress on display at First Fridays the night before she was going to wear it to accompany me as my date to the pageant... AND we got more inquiries from people wanting to buy the dress than we got for the fabric. I figured what the heck... I should make dresses. In January, we did it - I picked out one of the fabrics that didn't, couldn't, wouldn't sell for some reason and I designed two dresses. Both got made just in time for another promotional event. Both sold that day but one got returned as not quite fitting (pregnant customer). To make things interesting I started the fashion challenges as a way of keeping it interesting for me and as a way to focus my efforts toward developing the processes and the products and services. Ready-Made works. 
(The dress that was returned sold on the day that it was returned.)
We've done one Made To Measure for an off island customer who is still getting compliments on her dress. I'm thinking of doing another one and just sending it to them as a speculative sale... "Check this out... Like it? Send me the money!" They're family so I know they're good for it if they keep it or they'll send the dress back. If they're reading this they'll probably inbox me right away and say "Yes! Send FOUR!" Eheh. Seriously.
We've done more Ready-Mades and sold them before I even had a chance to pay for the sewing. We're going to continue doing more ready-mades. I have two sitting in a bag that I picked up today from being sewn. Anyhow - read on to learn about the dress in the picture, but first a quick promo for my friends at Forsgrens.
By the way, check out, if you have a chance. Our friends, the Forsgrens, started their online store a couple years ago and are doing very well as I understand it. They carry the commodity items, the commonly found handicrafts along with some fashion items, t-shirts, and items from their own Tanoa brand. Beautiful stuff, you should check it out.
About the dress in the picture though... It's Valentines Day and I had planned on having more to show for it, but things got delayed with the fabric order from my supplier in Samoa being inundated with hurricanes, stormy weather, and flooding. But we finally did get some fabric in and we finally did sell more dresses, which funded doubling the number of dresses in production. 
It was a bit of a rush getting this fabric into a dress only a couple days after printing.
It is always nervous to take a fabric, take a completely new design that I haven't tried yet, and use that fabric. In fact, it's very nerve wracking considering the time, effort, and cost involved in custom ordering fabric and then drawing the design, and then working with a seamstress to assemble the dress.
The ultimate reward though is the phone call with the confirmation that not only have I made a sale, but I've landed them as a customer.
This dress is made with a synthetic rayon blend, pink stretchy material that was hand printed using stencils in red with a Samoan tattoo motif. A high slit (up to the top of the thigh) in the front of one leg gives the dress an asymmetrical edge while the extra fabric in the skirt allows the dress to drape and fold to modestly hide the slit when standing still.