Behind the Scenes of a Fashion Start-Up: Proof to Product

Have you ever wondered how an idea becomes a physical product?

Today, I am sharing my first blog post in a series called “Behind the Scenes of a Fashion Start-Up” & discussing the proof to product process. This series isn’t meant to be a “how to” guide, but more of a behind the scenes peek of what it’s like to start a product based business from scratch.
Yes, kinda like Shark Tank without the Sharks.

1. Idea & Inspiration

Every product starts with an idea. Whether you’re solving a problem, improving a current product, or filling a gap in the market- make sure that your idea is original. My Three Stone Cuff bracelet started with a desire to create a more attractive cuff that looked great from both the back & the front. I knew I wanted to create something using natural semi-precious stones, but didn’t have a “boho” feel like most semi-precious stoned jewelry on the market.

2. Rough sketch & Materials

Start sketching. You don’t have to have computer knowledge or even artistic ability to make a rough sketch. It could even be on the back of a napkin with a crayon- just get something down. Make a list of materials that you want to use & set a target retail price. Your materials will affect your price & visa versa.


3. Technical Sketch & Sourcing

After you’ve drawn a rough sketch & made a list of materials, it’s time to refine your vision & start sourcing materials. Do as much research as possible in your industry & learn the lingo. Familiarize yourself with costs of materials & suppliers ( I found all my suppliers online). You need to get into the nitty gritty of your design with technical details & measurements. After you have all your measurements & a few more sketches (or even homemade prototypes), find a CAD artist to produce a technical sketch for you.


4. Manufacturing & Packaging

Finding the right manufacturing partner can take months. You’ll need to talk to plenty of factories before finding the right one. Some things to keep in mind before working with a factory: mold & sampling costs & minimum order quantities. Ask for as much information up front to make sure that the factory is a good fit, before sending over your designs or putting any money down. Once you’ve decided on the right partner, you’re ready to start the sampling process. Your first sample will never be 100% right. My first sample is pictured below. You can see how the bracelet is a little small, so I made a few changes before ordering a larger quantity.

I will probably write a whole other post on packaging alone, but felt like it was important to touch on in this post. While you’re getting samples for your product- also be working on your packaging. Whether it’s a sticker, hangtag, or jewelry bag: you want your packaging to be ready when your product is- so that you can hit the ground running as soon as your product is ready.


5. Final Product

Creating your dream product is time consuming & often times discouraging, but once you see the final product, it’s all worth it! Nothing feels as good as your first compliment from a stranger.


This blog post definitely simplified the process & there are some steps which I didn’t get into: mainly financing & cash flow, but I hope that it provides enough information to make the entire process feel a little bit less daunting. Feel free to reach out to me via email if you have any questions! I’m always happy to help!


Ciao for now!


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