Back in December, at a holiday pop-up shop, a customer feeling one of our eco-fabric tank tops described it as "buttery soft". I thought immediately of a close-up shot in a Eggo Waffles commercial, watching warm butter float across waffle divots like a plump little pillow. And ever since, that phrase has stuck. As I sit here writing, I keep glancing out of the corner of my eye at some of the samples of new eco-fabric cuts we have slated for summer. Not only have we found a type of fabric that lessens the impact on the environment during its creation, we have also found some of the softest material for our line yet. [If you want to see our eco-fabric in action take a look on our website at the Drift West or Day Trippin' tank tops]

In the WKND camp, we are preparing to roll out brand new items for summer, which will continue to incorporate new fabrics, new cuts and dive us even deeper into the cut and sew realm of product design. I could talk for days about the creative process behind our new pieces in the works, but I want to speak specifically a bit about manufacturing, as questions about our process come our way all the time.

Often times, people are asking us questions about manufacturing in hopes of using our same sources or learning how they can replicate our clothing for their own projects, so let me quickly speak to that if you're reading this in hopes of finding such juicy details. [Clears throat, puts on a brown tweed jacket and professor glasses]. One of the key components of a sustainable, successful business is a thing called competitive advantage.

If you catch my drift, this is the no-nonsense way of declining to share who some of our strategic partners are. But being the optimist that I am, I truly believe that hard work pays off, and if Weekend Society is able to establish the relationships necessary to produce the breadth of products we currently do, then suffice it to say that anyone else with enough drive and critical thinking, can do so too, whether or not you know a lot or a little about business processes.

In the time since I have started being asked to serve as a consultant for upstart clothing brands, the "hard work" sentiment rings ever so true. In early meetings with clients, they often hope I will hand over the Successful Fashion Line User Manual with any and every contact they might need to make their vision a reality. Nearly now muscle memory, I can feel the corners of my mouth knowingly tug upwards when I put the proverbial ball back in an inquiring brand's court with the "hard work and persistence" sentiment. Unfortunately, I think that all too often people are looking for the "Easy" button way to launch a successful line. And that is quickly equated to finding someone who will print, stitch, sew on and so forth garments for them. When in reality, if you have a clear vision and are passionate enough to execute said vision, finding strategic partners to do that won't be a problem because you won't stop until you find them.

When it comes to manufacturing, quality and comfort are important aspects of our brand, so finding and printing on/sewing the right fabrics for each of our pieces is essential. We pride ourselves on being a made-in-the-USA, sweatshop-free, environmentally conscious company, so those factors come into play when producing our clothing. And needless to say, this has become the hands-on part of the research we do.

Far too often the devil is in the details and is only noticed after the fact. Which makes clearly articulating your vision and following up on proofs that much more important. We found the details jumping up to bite us during the first year of producing tank tops for Weekend Society and the various different colors of prints we would sometimes receive back from different manufacturers. At the time, we were jumping around between different manufacturers to explore scalability and turnaround times. In each instance that we received back a run of prints, sometimes our own fault, sometimes theirs, we found that the off-white, cream color we had requested for our designs varied between white and army green. Even now as I think 'army green", I shake my head at how far astray that is from the desired color for that design. Which all goes to reinforce clarity and consistency that can only come with concise communication and proofing work before it's green-lit. And here enters the final step: follow-up.

Creating a business relationship with your manufacturer is multi-faceted, though for this specific instance we'll focus on communicating your vision. Simply considering how closely you will be working with a manufacturing team, a whole entity itself outside of your own, it makes sense to keep them in the loop with milestones (big and small) that intersect your collaborative ties. From mood boards to upcoming campaigns, re-orders to research, the more the manufacturers can internalize the vision and mission of your brand, the less opportunity there is for deviation or guesswork.

Phew... that's how you spend an entire post just scratching the surface of how we make some of the pieces in our line. Next up in this series I'll be sharing stories about what has inspired some of my favorite WKND releases. Onward we go.