This was my first time buying at a market...so I had no idea what to expect.
I started off the day in a seminar covering each vendor, what fabric they specialized in (cotton poly mixes, furs, spandex, the list goes on an on), minimum orders, where each company were based out of, and important information concerning each vendor. There were around 80-100 vendors it seemed so when going through the list, I made notes and put a big star by the ones I thought would benefit me the best so I wanted to go look at them first. This is a very important step..once I walked into the room I was immediately overwhelmed. So I was thankful for my list of where to go first.
Booths were set up in an orderly manner. There were walkways separating each table, and tables were set up one after another. Fabric swatches were covering every table and some wall spaces for that matter. Literally, I spent hours flipping through squares of fabric swatches. In the mix of all of the buyers, designers, vendors, fabric and findings (buttons, zippers, beading)...it was so busy! It was so cool to hear other designers visions and stories of how their companies came about. I met one lady who was starting up a children's line, another who had been in the industry for a while and was searching for fabric to make young girls dresses. I was on the look for fabric that would become blouses for my fall collection. Getting the touch and feel, seeing the stretch, "was it see-through?" "would this color look good?" "eh, is this the right type of fabric?" So many thoughts running through my mind. At times, I had to leave the room, go sit down in the hallway, call my manufacturer to make sure how much yardage I needed for the amount of units being produced, re-evaluate my decisions, how much was this all going to cost, figuring out pricing, minimums, etc, etc, etc... thinking to myself, "what if I don't find what I'm looking for and I've come all the way to New York.." I was drained. A lot of people asked if I had a wonderful time. I did, but this was no mini vaca, it was a business trip. Mom and I ate quick meals at the diner in the lobby of the hotel and ran to McDonald's right down the block because time was all we had. We couldn't waste a minute. I had one day to buy fabric so I needed to make most of my time. BUT, by the end of the day I had found just what I was looking for. Whether it was spotting the fabric I had my sample made in and couldn't find anywhere...but there it was, in some other lady's hand.... I may have grabbed it right as she laid it down on the table and then had to wait for her to finish...and by the time she was done, I had my mom and the vendor searching for that beautiful silk chiffon floral print. Found it, searched for a solid that would "go with" and.. done with that design. Placed my order, and now it's constructed into a beautiful blouse. And onto the next. As a designer, I went into market with an idea of knowing just what I was looking for. It took me a while to find, but eventaully I came across the perfect fabric.
Never having been on the buying end of market, I was going in with an open mind. My experience working in a showroom definitely helped prepare me for what was to come. I knew what to anticipate, but was completely overwhelmed at the same time. Overall, I had a great experience. I found all of the fabric and buttons I needed for my collection and was ready for production to start.