Fashion, start-up, sustainability

Easy Like a Sunday Morning

“Easy Like a Sunday Morning.”  You know that 1977 song by the Commodores, Easy.  I find myself, on many a Sundays, humming this one line in particular because Sunday mornings do seem so easy.  With no weekday obligations to show up for or Saturday chores to tackle, I typically slip into my Sunday, easily.


This morning I woke up and started down path I’ve been adamantly avoiding – learning Adobe Illustrator.  My procrastination in this area was so strong I was starting to believe I wouldn’t need Illustrator and could design shoes with a good pencil and a dream.  To be completely honest, I did have to teach myself how to draw a 2-dimensional high heel about 6 months ago, and when my sketches actually started to resemble that of a shoe, I felt a monumental sense of accomplishment.  I’ll share a few of my early attempts when I finally unpack my office boxes after our recent move.

First of many YouTube Tutorials.

Drawing by hand is rudimentary.  Whether or not we have any real talent in the drawing department, we all spent our early years coloring and drawing.  With a little practice we can teach ourselves to draw a basic object.

Software is different.  Technology might be designed to simplify and streamline even basic tasks, it comes with a learning curve.  Nothing about technology is rudimentary, at least not for this girl.  Hard to believe I’ve been in Technology Sales for over 10 year, huh?  I owe my success in the industry to amazing and talented Sales Engineers.  I digress.

Untitled design

Avoidance met necessity earlier this week when I started reaching out to production partners.  I even had a great phone conversation with the Director of Operations at a private label partner right her in the United States!  I’ll share more about pre-production and my hope to have Amare by Heidi an American-made brand in another post.  After my phone conversation, I received an NDA and lengthy questionnaire. I surprised myself by how prepared I was to answer 90% of the questions, but there were some gaps.

For example, I don’t know how big I want my first production run to be.  In fact, I feel like that question can only be answered once I know how much the first production run will cost me, but I’m learning that fabric and production partners alike will only provide pricing once they know how serious the designer is, aka how financially stable is the designer.

I’m also not sure about my price point.  I want to design a strong, quality shoe that will hold up over several seasons, which comes at a higher price point for me and my customer. If I rush to production or take short cuts on materials to hit a price point, then I risk putting out a cheaply made product, which is bad for the brand and terrible for the environment because they will quickly end up in the trash.  Doesn’t jive with my sustainability mission.

What does all this have to do with Adobe Illustrator? Well, like I said, I’m starting to feel pretty confident in my brand and several aspects of the process, but I need to send my designs back with the questionnaire, and while the hand-drawn designs are ok, I don’t think they will produce the final product I desire.  I need Illustrator to communicate fabric texture and color appropriately.  It will better illustrate dimensions, angles and fine detail.

A well-produced Illustrator design can also act as a prototype and/or MVP (Minimum Viable Product).  Anyone read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries?  Getting samples back from a production partner could take up to 6 months, so having a quality representation of the final product is invaluable to start raising money for final production.

Which lead me to watching YouTube video tutorials and coughing up the $52/months for Adobe creative suite on this not-so-easy Sunday morning.  By this afternoon I had made some minor progress with only one brief melt down and some tears.

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Start of AI on my own.  I got the scan to work!!!
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Finish  for today and second waffle consumed

After snarling at my husband, more than once, I decided to put it away for the day.  It’s almost time for dinner and well-deserved glass of wine.

Back at it tomorrow.  Wish me luck.


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