Indie Designers: This Sourcing Book Will Save Your Life
Jan 12, 2012 - by Jessica Lapidos
I've discovered The Sourcer's Stone; a rock to cling to when every textile mill I call tells me "3,000 yard minimun! 1,000 yard per color!" A guiding light when I'm googling and cold calling mills about a specific fabric. My support system when it feels like there's hardly anybody left in NYC that will sew a garment for a reasonable price! Enter The Designer's Guide, which lists only low-minimum fabric resources, and The Sourcer's Guide, which additionally gives precious information about contractors, pattern makers, cutters, and trim resources. And you can search by fabric in great detail. Let me explain.
Yesterday at the Priemière Vision/Indigo textile trade show, I walked through the entranceway and gravitated to this table. They told me about this low-minimums book, that all vendors listed in The Designer's Guide would have minimums of 350 yards, all the way down to 1 yard! (A minimum is the fewest amount of yards a textile mill will allow you to buy). This book, slimmer than the one above, is only $75. Which is a steal when you think of the work that went into gathering this information, which isn't readily available anywhere else. I somehow walked away from The Designer's Guide, insisting that I'd buy it online. However, after an hour of pounding the trade show pavement and hearing the phrase "3,000 minimums" about a dozen too many times, I realized I needed a copy of this book, then and there. So I went back to the About Sources table, and was invited to sit down with the mastermind behind this operation.
Since 1988, the author, Susan Power has been compiling her Garment Center and national resources to create these guides for designers and manufacturers. She worked in the industry, and one day decided she wanted to make little boys' clothes, noting the abundance of adorable girls' clothing, and a lack of cute boy stuff. So she started out calling mills, and the minimums were far beyond what she needed; children's clothing uses far less fabric than adults'. It was there she started making a list of fabric houses that would sell at lower quantities.
For a brief spell, she sat on the board for Nanette Lepore's Save the Garment Center, and she has worked with government trade agencies, but found these all were falling short of what the meat of the problem was; design entrepreneurs need information about where these US-based mills and factories are, what they can do, and what they produce.
The heftier version is called The Sourcer's Guide, this volume at $120, gives all fabric sources with under 500 yard minimum, and who to go to for any aspect of production. You can buy it on their website RRAG.net.
She also created The Contractor's Guide. At $60, it leads you to all sewers, knitters, finishers, cutters, etc. All of this is included in in The Sourcer's Guide.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR!! Susan Power is hosting a the Designer's Guide Expo textile trade show for only low-minimum suppliers. It's happening February 6-7, 2012 at Hotel Pennsylvania on 7th Ave at 33rd St. If you're a young designer, you need to be there. You must discover The Sourcer's Stone for yourself.