New colours in Alanna Klatt’s top

Designer Alanna Klatt designed this top based on your feedback and voting in our #FCFreshstart program, and now she’s releasing new colours and a new print. This top is a hit because of the simple design, the versatility of being able to wear it tucked, untucked or kind of half tucked.

Available to buy at our Queen and Roncesvalles locations or buy online!  Chevron print or all others.

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Here we’ve paired it with skirts, jeans and dressy sweats for a range of looks.  Imagine what you could do with scarves, belts, necklaces and other accessories for a hundred different looks for this fabulous top!SAMSUNG CSC

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DESIGNER CALL: We’re looking for hot new talent!

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Are you an emerging independent designer looking for an amazing opportunity to build your business?  Take a look at FRESH START: Designer Development Project.  

Ready to apply?  Here’s the application form.

Alanna Klatt worked with us over the past 6 months and gained an invaluable boost for her business.  She got:

  • mentorship, education and structure
  • exposure to an established and loyal customer base
  • the Fresh Collective stamp of approval

Most importantly, she got a major boost to her career as a designer, selling her new designs as fast as she can bring them in to the store!

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At the end of the program Alanna writes “Who wouldn’t want to grow their company and brand awareness locally, receive great sales, and become more business savvy as an entrepreneur!? I loved this journey and so excited to work with Fresh Collective from now on!”

This program is designed as a roadmap to help emerging designers beat the odds. The know-how and connections you gain as part of the Fresh Start program could be the break you’ve been hoping for!

If you’re really ready to work hard and make your dreams come true, apply today!

Here’s Alanna at the start of her #FCfreshstart journey.  Are you ready to start yours?

 

#FCfreshstart – WRAP UP!

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Several months ago we launched a new program called Fresh Start.  This program is my pet project, and I’m proud to say we are wrapping up the first run of this program with a huge success!  The idea was to work with one designer and help walk them through a process that would help them design just three pieces that would REALLY sell.

Our emphasis in the program is on business success through market research, audience engagement, thorough refinement of samples before production and then marketing.  Proper attention to each of these steps is the roadmap for success for independent designers in our experience.

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If you’re an independent Toronto designer of clothing, jewellery or accessories, and you’re looking for a career boost, check out this program!  APPLY HERE before September 30, 2015.

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Working with independent designers for almost 20 years has shown me the pitfalls in the existing fashion industry model.  Most designers try to do some version of designing a full collection, getting it in front of buyers and hoping for sales. And to succeed this has to be repeated with each new season!  With this risky and costly model, no wonder being an independent designer is so tough to succeed at!

I’ve seen that independent designers can succeed by focusing in on less pieces and working on perfecting them.  This allows them to really get everything right- fit, fabric selection, comfort and style details – and then they can work to sell those pieces through. From this base of successful pieces, a designer can make variations- a new neckline, longer sleeves, more colours or prints.  It’s expanding a repertoire like this that really builds solid success over seasons.

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This was some of the early promotion of the program.

 

I designed the Fresh Start program to be a road map to that success.  Starting with customer surveys, the designer finds out what customers are really looking for.  Six sketches are created which are shared by social media, and customers vote on which three to produce.  Samples and made, tweaked and perfected, and all the steps are shared with the public along the way for voting and feedback.  By the time the garments hit the racks, the customers have helped make all the decisions and are eagerly awaiting the product launch!

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Here’s Alanna Klatt proudly modelling her first piece available for sale. She’s finishing up the other two and they will arrive in our store soon.

Now we’re looking for our NEXT designer to work with!  Are you a designer who wants this kind of boost and mentorship?  Review the #FCfreshstart blogs and social media posts to learn more about the program, and if you’re like to apply, here’s the link to the application!

Thanks to all those who supported Alanna with feedback and votes!  It’s easy to see the future is bright for this designer and entrepreneur!

xoxo

Laura-Jean Bernhardson

CEO and founder of Fresh Collective

Introducing THE CHEVRON TOP – by KLATT

For the past many weeks, we’ve been following emerging designer Alanna Klatt as she worked with our Designer Development program called Fresh Start.  She started with customer surveys to find out what customers REALLY want, and what they will buy, and then collected votes along the way through the sketching, sample making, fabric selection and finally production.  Now we have the first of her pieces available for sale at our Queen Street location and online!

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This loose and flowing top is great for all seasons and it’s cut lower in the back for a very flattering silhouette.  At our Queen Street store Alanna has swatches of other fabrics the top can be made in.  swatches

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Thanks for following along and supporting Alanna’s journey with your votes and valuable feedback!

 

Style Profile – Alanna Klatt

Name: Alanna Klatt
Occupation: Product Developer & Server
Age:
“I dont know about you,
But I’m feeling 22,
Everything will be alright
If you keep me next to you,
You don’t know about me
But I’ll bet you want to
Everything will be alright
If we just keep dancing like were
22, ooh-ooh,
22, ooh-ooh”
Taylor Swift anyone?

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Top: The Pocahontas Print Top – by Klatt, $100; Yoga Jeans- by Second Denim Co. $120; Shoes: Joni heel – by Miz Mooz, on sale now for $136 (were $170)

What’s a typical day like for you? Wake up. Walk My Dog. Food. Serve/ Sew. Food. Work From Home. Food. Food. Walk My Dog. Sleep. Repeat. Let’s just say a typical day is 80% eating food!

 What in your life is really important to you? Pizza! Did I mention I love food?

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Dress: The Scuba Print Frock- Klatt, $160; Shoes: Joni Heel- Miz Mooz, now on sale for $136, regularly $170.

 

What would you like to be remembered for? I want to be remembered for being a positive light and a friendly face 🙂

 What role does fashion play in your life? It’s my career! I’d say that’s a pretty darn important role! I wake up loving the work I do.. If you can even call it ‘work!’

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Top: The Denim Duo Top- Klatt, $120; Jeans: Yoga Jeans- Second Denim Co. – $120; Shoes: Joni heel- Miz Mooz, now on sale for $136, regularly $170; Bracelet: Leather cuff- Colleen Poitras.

 

 What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective? Canadian! Canadian! Canadian! Local! Local! Local! Fresh Collective has created a whole lifestyle brand and experience when you shop! You don’t just go in to shop, you go to learn about the designers and experience the ‘FC Culture!’

What do you have that you want to promote?  Well, of course I want to promote the three pieces I’m wearing in these pictures.  These have been developed through the #FCfreshstrart program in which I started with a blank sketchbook and a curious mind.  I interviewed customers and did surveys to find out what customers would really want to buy, and I came up with these three garments.  I’m working on producing them for sale now, and I’m so excited to see how the public receives them!

As well, eek! My latest sewing projects have been bow ties. I am a fanatic! I love them, I love creating them, I love sewing them! I just made 25 bow ties for a serving crew for an event and also some wedding parties. 🙂 Getting hitched? Going to an event? Gift idea? I’m your girl!

 

 Where can people find you on social media? 

Twitter: @alannaklatt

Facebook: KLATT

Instagram: @alannaklatt

Follow Alanna’s process of designing these three pieces for Fresh Collective by using #FCfreshstart on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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#FCfreshstart – Cutting starts!

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Hi Fresh Collective!

We’re fabric cutting! One step closer to the final products being in stores! Check out the prints:

print 1 print2Which one is your favourite print? The soft and subtle pocahontas print or the bright, bold, and fresh coral scuba print?

What I love about the fabrics and colours YOU, the customer, chose is that they are very seasonally transitional. They can easily slide from a Spring/ Summer to a Fall/ Winter wardrobe when mixed with the right accessories and shoes! The Fresh Collective staff, as you know, are amazing at wardrobe styling, so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance!

Keep tabs on the Fresh Collective social media in the next few days and you’ll catch me on the Style Profile modelling these three final samples! It will give you a little taste in what to expect coming to the stores! Let us know which is your favourite and take a guess at which piece you think will be the best seller!!

Catch up on all things #FCfreshstart with this hashtag! Until next week, ciao for now!


Alanna

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#FCfreshstart – Ready for production!

Alanna has run into some bumps in the road in her journey to design and make pieces for Fresh Collective, but those bumps have been overcome and she is ready for production! Check out this video for a recap on how the sample making process went:

And now Alanna updates us on getting ready for production!

Hi Fresh Collective fans!

Ever wonder about each step put in behind making a full size run of a garment? We’re getting so close to the end and right now we are in the ‘marker making’ and fabric cutting stage! Last time we chatted we were going through the grading stage which is creating the full size run of a garment from XS up to XL. Now that we have all those completed, we can begin tracing all of our pattern pieces!

Marker making is a very important step and believe it or not it takes great accuracy. Marking each of your pieces on the marking paper to ensure the best use of the fabric you purchased is super important! The closer and more tight knit you place your pieces, the less fabric goes to waste!

And as a designer and business person, I hate wasting precious materials!

Below is a photo of some pieces marked out ready to be cut! This marker is for the Pocahontas printed knit top!

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Each fabric used in a garment has its own marker. For instance, this top:

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This top consists of two fabrics (The modal knit and the bailey denim knit) and therefore it will have two separate markers to cut out. When the markers are all traced out and ready to go we place them over top of fabric, which is neatly placed lying flat on a table, and we begin to cut it out!

Next week I will be cutting out all of the pieces and beginning to sew! Once these pieces are sewn you know what that means? They will be available for purchase at FC! Finally! Keep your eyes peeled for an invite to our little ladies night celebration to reveal the final three garments which YOU helped create and mold!

Stay fresh friends!

Alanna

#FCfreshstart- Week ???

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Hi Fresh Collective!

There have been some major gaps between our ‘Weekly’ blog reports for the Fresh Collective Designer Development Program, Fresh Start– all for valid reasons though!

At the start of this program, we (Laura-Jean and I) set up a 13 week timeline of how the research, sample making and production would go. Clearly, that timeline has been totally blown!

But, hey, all great designers and entrepreneurs know that plans pretty much never go as envisioned!  Being adaptable is the key to success!

Since the beginning, we’ve had fabulous customer feedback and engagement (thank you SO much), a lot of trial and error, delays on fabric delivery and life and earning a living getting in the way.

Recently, I had a little pow-wow with Laura-Jean and Jane. We went over the three chosen sample garments for fit analysis, customer appeal, and overall sellability. Our number one goal in this project is to create pieces that the FC customers feel confident and beautiful in. And my first stab at one of the samples was just not good enough!

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Here is the progression from sketch to sample. In the end, this dress was a very specific fit. It would only look great on a small percentage of women. So it’s sellability was very limited.

 

Each sample, before production is started, goes through a series of fittings. In that time a garment may be altered several times or the design scrapped entirely!  There are so many variables to come together to have the garment really work in three dimensions, to have it be beautiful, wearable, flattering, enough range of fit to sell to enough people AND to be able to have it produced at a price that will work for the marketplace! It’s a real challenge getting all those elements into one garment!

In our situation, it was best to start from scratch for one of our dresses! The photo below is a sample of the new dress that will replace the ‘Kimono Dress.’ This new piece is a flattering silhouette that cinches in at the waist and has a beautiful flared skirt. It also has a little cap sleeve and detailed princess line seaming.

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The new version! Customers told us they like a bit of a sleeve. The pattern hides any lumps and bumps and…. POCKETS!! Everyone loves pockets in dresses. This style creates a beautiful waistline and floats over hips. The stretch in the fabric will mean it will fit and flatter a wide variety of women.

 

I’m so, so, so pleased with this new style (as you can see by the smile on my face) and I’m glad I started “fresh” with this sample.  I feel so great in this dress!  What do you think?  Is this the kind of style you’d like to wear?

Please stay tuned for more details on the final three garments and a new video segment that will be coming out soon on our progress!! You can find all #FCfreshstart progress on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

 Stay Fresh,

 Alanna

 

Fresh Start Designer Development Program – Week 7!

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This week, Alanna Klatt has three samples ready for your feedback.  Making clothing that actually sells is a lot harder than one might think.  Customers need to feel great in it, love the colour and fit, have it suit their figure and lifestyle, coordinate with other items in their closet AND like the price.  At Fresh Collective, we’ve been working with emerging designer Alanna Klatt as she produces three styles based on surveys and feedback from the Fresh Collective audience.  If you’ve missed blogs along the way, you can catch up here.  Follow Alanna’s journey on social media using #fcfreshstart.  And help her out by filling out her survey.  Your opinion matters a whole heck of a lot!  Now let’s check in with Alanna and see how things have been going!

– Fresh Collective Founder and CEO, Laura-Jean Bernhardson

 

Hello Fresh Collective! Welcome to week 7 of our journey since starting the Fresh Start Program! It has been a wild ride and we’re not done yet!

You know how no matter how hard you try to stay on track, life throws you a fast one? No matter how many lists and ‘to do’s’ we make, not everything gets completed? No matter how we prioritize or organize our day, unexpected events seem to get in the way? Well.. for the past couple of weeks I have experienced this more than normal! Every day I write a ‘to do’ list of my weekly MUST DO’s to stay on track and to make sure I meet all my deadlines and due dates for projects, part-time work, personal events and so on. But what else happens everyday? LIFE.

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Vanessa shows off Sample #1 of Alanna’s – the top! This piece is available at Queen Street in a medium for customers to try on and offer feedback on. Your feedback helps Alanna perfect her samples before she goes into production.

 

Since starting this Fresh Start Program I have been managing my own business full time, transitioning through two new part-time jobs, and endured the death of a very close family member of mine, all while trying to get enough sleep to function each day! It’s a hard to task on its to own to just ‘keep it together’ sometimes. But the answer is simply to just ‘keep moving forward.’

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Sample #2 – the tunic! What do you think of the colour? The ruching? Is this a great neutral that will go with everything or do you prefer colour? Let Alanna know so she can perfect the samples and make pieces that you’ll want to buy!

 

These unexpected events will always come and go and those are the most important points in our lives/ careers to keep moving forward. Sometimes these events are even the most pivotal points where we see major positive changes or personal growth. It takes strength and courage to endure the tough parts of our day, which in my opinion, is the reason I keep going! Who doesn’t love seeing personal and career growth? We don’t learn and prosper from taking the easy path, that’s for sure!

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Vanessa shows off Sample #3 – the dress! What do you think of this dress? Will it be a top seller? Offer your feedback on the survey at the end of this blog post!

 

After a little stumbling block (waiting for fabric shipments to create the in-store samples of the three pieces which will be for sale soon at Fresh Collective) we finally have the samples in the Queen Street location for you to try on and give us feedback one more time! Please advise, these samples are all in standard size medium. We are looking for you to try on these pieces and fill out a really quick three question survey before we dig right into full production mode! If you don’t have time to stop by the Queen shop, you can check out the photos here and offer your feedback on-line at this survey link.

Stay fresh!

Alanna

 

Fresh Start Designer Development Program – Week 6!

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Hi Fresh Collective! I know it has been more than a week since our last blog for Fresh Start and that’s because we were waiting for the fabric shipment to begin sample making! It goes to prove that though we can be as organized and on top of things ourselves and in our businesses, some events will still be out of our control! We have to roll with what comes!

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This week I am going to share with you some progress on the sample making front. Tuesday I received the fabric shipment at 5pm and in no more than 5 minutes it was unpacked and on the drafting table ready to be cut! The first sample I am working on is the Kimono Shift dress!  As a reminder, here’s the sketch you voted into the top 3. aaaadress

We are using a beautiful fresh coral double knit with the coral scuba reef print that was most popular! These two fabrics enhance the design and appearance wonderfully together. Below are some photos of the dress first cut out.

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From here I have been piecing the dress together in stages and working on the detailed outer seaming! This dress, as well as, the other two samples (tunic and top) will be made in a size medium to start to finalize the fit. Once these samples are a ‘go’ I will be creating a full size run of each piece just for you to check out at the Queen Street location!

Check out this detailed close up of the neckline!

blog64Keep tabs on the Fresh Collective Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page this week to see pictures of this piece completed and the other two pieces! We will be posting pictures of final garments throughout the week and you can always find our posts by using #FCfreshstart!

Next week, we will be sharing more on sample making/ final fittings/ and grading these pieces from XS up to XL! Stay tuned every Thursday!

Stay fresh,

Alanna