After publishing the post “The price of your designs” where I talk about properly pricing your work I received many emails asking for more info on how to make money from your designs. So let’s talk today about how and where you can sell your fashion ideas. Who are the potential buyers for your talent and why? But the first thing you need to find out about yourself is whether you want to be a fashion designer or a fashion illustrator.
If you are better at designing
You are good at imagining great designs. Your talent is ideas and your head is full of creativity. You know how fabrics work together and how to combine them to make a garment look expensive. You are like most fashion designers! Many fashion designers are better handling the fabric than they do the pencil. And this is absolutely fine. Where you can promote your talent is:
1: Fashion companies
Assuming that you know how to put together a fashion portfolio you can apply for jobs as a fashion designer. Apply to work full time or freelance from home. Freelancers’ websites are a place to start looking for opportunities. Your portfolio should look professional and polished. Otherwise, you won’t get any calls for years.
2: Brides and graduating students
All the people from your town that have special occasions. Everyone wants to look beautiful on their special day. Learn how to sew perfectly and start advertising your services locally and online. Make posters and put them in local high schools use your social media profiles like Instagram and Facebook to show what you can do. Knowing how to sew is very, very important. These people won’t pay you for a sketch. They will want a finished gown from you.
Yes, this a great opportunity for those who like a little bit of drama and sparkles in their designs. Visit the clubs that you like and make a meeting with the men in charge and offer them to make the costumes for the dancers. Bring photos of the designs you’ve already made. If they don’t need such services at the moment make sure you leave your business card – they might call you in 6 months wanting you to dress the whole ballet.
Be prepared to show pictures of costumes you’ve already sewn to prove the quality of your work. No need to mention that the pictures need to be professional, right?.
You will again need negotiation skills and not being afraid to talk with people. Print business cards and learn to network. Make a list of the shops in your town that sell clothes similar to what you design. In most towns, there is an arts street where artists from various fields display their work. Usually, there are clothes shops too. Speak with them and get them to sell your designs for % of the price.
There are many websites similar, some of them mentioned in this article, where you can sell your hand made clothes and accessories. Nice and professional made pictures are essential if you are going to sell online. Pictures with your cell phone are a huge NO-NO. People will give their money if you show that you have attention to detail and this includes a good presentation (pictures + proper item description)
IF you are better at illustrating
You are a great painter. Holding the pencil is a bliss for you and anything that you create people loves it. Even if it’s a simple design. You are like most fashion illustrators! Fashion illustrators stay in the middle between painters and designers. Your talent is presenting ideas. Here is where you can sell your talent:
6: Fashion designers
Many fashion designers prefer to hire an illustrator to bring their vision to life. This guarantees them that when they show up in front of a client or an investor their ideas will be approved and bought. Designers also work with illustrators when they need to take their collection to the manufacturer. In this case, they need design flats (cads) and you need to have professional drawing and designing skills in order to do them properly. Read about the different types of artwork designers need here.
Oh, fashion bloggers are a great inspiration. They would usually hire you to make a portrait of them or to illustrate a special article. Sometimes they will want you to illustrate the cover image of their blog or a certain product (makeup, clothes, fashionable girls). Contact bloggers that you love and show them a few cover images you’ve made. If they like your style they might agree on a collaboration.
From time to time people need illustrations for gifts. If you have a good looking portfolio, people will come to you asking if you can daw them too. Usually, they’d like to commission you for a portrait of themselves or their friends and family.
Make sure you have a profile in all the art places clients may look for service like this. Devianart, Behance, Instagram.
9: Card shops
If you are really, really talented at drawing fashion illustrations you might want to do something similar to this beautiful cards shop. You can open your own online store, upload to Etsy or collaborate with a local gifts store. Fashion inspired cards for birthdays and other holidays will always sell well.
Finding the buyers for your talent takes a bit of talent, a lot of courage and a lot of patience. Don’t stop trying if you don’t succeed the first time. If you are made of what it takes to be in the fashion industry you never quit! Fall and rise until you make it!