how a trunk show could save a designer’s sanity

by gilda rêvasseur on April 11, 2011

as the days turn into nights and my big deadline draws scarily close, i’m getting so stressed and have the worst panic attacks at times. after dropping off a pair of my sequined harem pants at the patricia field boutique on friday (i sell my sequined harems there), i went with one of my good friends and a buyer at the pat field boutique to coffee and a light dinner as we talked about our dreams.

the lack of time, the things we want to do, the lack of resources, our plans and our future…… at the end, it all boiled down to money.

can money please fall from the sky?


i’d like to think that we can do anything if we just had dreams. but really? i mean, really?

in fact, today i spent a few hours doing my expenses sheet, noting down things i still need to do, and figuring out how much that is gonna cost. holy cow. there’s no way this is going to happen. it’s so difficult and i feel like an elephant is sitting on me and causing all this stress. i caught a glimpse of myself holding my head while looking at my spreadsheet… and took a picture of myself that i think i will put up on my wall.

just to remind myself that in many ways, money does make the world go round, and that if i want to really achieve my dreams, i need to save one cent at a time and put any profit i make to good use.

never mind that i’m like 2 months behind schedule after my winter bout of pneumonia, with my show next month, my dog back in singapore is currently in poor health (she’s 17), and my lease is up in may. which means that within the next month, i need to finish my collection, finish all my photoshoots and lookbooks, pack up my entire apartment, ship it, go back to singapore, have a show, try to get orders, try not to go bankrupt, and keep my sanity at the same time.


yeah. exactly.

i think the problem is that i’m trying to do as much as i can myself, because i simply cannot afford to employ anyone. i am getting some help with my samples, but it’s really minimal and that’s pretty much all i’m getting help with. everything else i’m basically doing myself. because who the heck can afford to hire help? not me.

i know people who are from wealthy families who have all the resources to just sign their names off on that dotted line and get things done, easy like that. and as fortunate as i’ve been, there are still a lot of limitations to what i can do. and i’m not gonna lie – while i don’t get insanely mad about it, there are times i sigh and get a bit jealous.

is a trunk show what i need?

so my “grand” plan is to have a trunk show and try to have some pre-sales. have you heard about trunk shows? there are a lot of ways to do this… i don’t know how i should do it or how it needs to be done, but i believe it’s what i need to do.

most times, labels get buyers, produce ahead, then get paid after they deliver the goods to the stores. if they’re lucky they get paid within a month. if they’re unlucky, they don’t get their check till 3 months later. how can one sustain? i honestly don’t have the funds to spend like, $50,000 to produce a collection and deliver it to stores, then wait another few months for that money to come back in.

a trunk show, however, is a different story. it’s that special little event where a designer gets to meet his or her actual customers, have some face-to-face time with the people who will ultimately be buying their designs, and introduce their garments to anyone who will listen. at some trunk shows, designers have some inventory on hand to sell on the spot. and at times they do pre-sales, taking a deposit, which adds up to a sum that any one would be grateful for. this means that the designer has some capital to pay for production, in order to get those garments made, so that they can be sent to the client who then pays in full for it.

isn’t that just the most wonderful thing that could happen to a poor designer?

trunk shows also provide amazing information for a designer. they see how their target audience reacts to the line, hear first-hand what they like and dislike, etc. and if a particular item bombs at a trunk show, the designer can consider taking it out of the collection before they spend thousands getting it produced in big numbers.

it can only get better. right?

at least, that’s what i’m hoping for. i remember this time last year when i was so stressed about my thesis collection, i thought i might die from the pressure. and then in a moment, it was over and i felt like i could breathe again. i think because this is the first time i’m attempting something like this on such a large scale, i’m worried and scared that it might fail. i guess i’m getting a bit ahead of myself and thinking of too many “what if”s.

how in the world do designers do it?

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Elena April 12, 2011 at 1:00 am

Hang in there Gilda! I wish I weren’t a poor college student right now, because I would definitely help you. But as I graduate in a month, please remember that your name will always be on my mind. Please hang in there for when I am going to be able to help you out. I don’t know how else to encourage you, but to cheer you on and tell you that it WILL get better. Yes, money does make the world go around, but this is only the beginning. You’ll make it and you’re gonna remember this time, because this is what built you, what shaped your heart and determination to push forward. The very fact that you’ve come up with an idea of a trunk show shows how much you want this and that means how dedicated you are to your dream.

If you can hold on, please hold on!


Young Werther April 12, 2011 at 1:59 am

You made a budget ? Even designers gotta have a budget and plan, keeps you on track!


Kara April 13, 2011 at 6:17 am

Aww Gilda! I can relate (except I’m back living with my parents, not overseas! – that’d be tough)… I’m a struggling graphic design student and it’s so so hard to get the funds needed for materials to produce work that I can actually sell! I know what you mean. I think a trunk show is a great idea for you. There’s always going to be hurdles but, in the end, I think perseverance and passion are what helps us make our dreams come true. You can do it!
♥ Kara´s last [type] ..i’m a model- you know what i mean


Russell Davison April 19, 2011 at 8:56 am

Keep your chin up and stay afloat. You’ve got what it takes and you just need strength to continue.

If you get some firm written orders from established customers then you can do something good called factoring with the Development Bank of Singapore or another bank. They’ll charge you 10%, but it would be worth it for you, in your particular case.

You just need to ask your clients to give you a firm purchase order in writing. You then take this piece of paper along to the bank and sell it to them. They will charge you a 10% fee.

So, if K.C.Tang give you a written purchase order for $10,000 then you can sell this purchase order to the bank. They will buy it from you for $9,000. You then make the clothes, deliver them and the bank invoices K.C.Tank for $10,000. It’s called factoring. Have a chat with your bank manager about it.

Your client has to be creditworthy for this to work.


Roxanne April 26, 2011 at 1:31 am

I found your blog earlier this weekend, and just could stop reading your articles. We clearly don’t have the same tastes, but I was completely inspired. I have 6 months left in fashion design and merchandising so know how you felt.

Yes we need money to do the things we want, but you can NEVER let that get in your way. You sound like a very strong and passionate woman. Keep to your dreams and don’t forget about them. Shit happens, yes. Times are hard, yes. Thats what moulds us, and makes us even BETTER when we get older and further into what we do. Even if the outcome isn’t exactly what we wanted, everything happens for a reason and heck… it can even be more than we imagined.

Can’t wait to hear about what happens next! Keep it up!


Sharon April 27, 2011 at 2:47 am

Hi Gilda. wow…. that’s quite a list of things to do in a month ….. i love trunk shows and they can be so profitable with the right exposure.

You always do fantastic :) Being a starving designer is just a right of passage …..
♥ Sharon´s last [type] ..The Fresh Air Fund Is In Need Of Loving Host Families


Gin Wong May 19, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Hi dont give up


Christine July 5, 2011 at 7:38 pm

chin up! sweet blog btw. I’ve just started one, check it out:


Alex August 19, 2011 at 9:57 pm

oh man…i had no idea designers had it so tough T_T
hang in there girl! if you think a trunk show is what you need, go for it!
you can do it~~ you made it this far :D i wish you the best!!!


Fuyuko April 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Sometimes it takes awhile for you to get started on a project. I would imagine design is difficult but its always a good idea to have a plan and usually to make a collection of all your idea’s for the plan then you can eliminate what works good figure out what is possible and then start your project. The only example I can give is I love to write stories but sometimes I have trouble sorting out the idea’s for one. I write everything I’m thinking about down do research too if its that type of story come up with character backrounds and everything then when im satsified with what i have I start writting the story and so far its worked very well for me.
♥ Fuyuko´s last [type] ..Jack the Ripper


Morganvsmorgan June 1, 2012 at 8:18 am

Oh wow, you’re going through the wars at the moment :/ The only advice I can really give is make lists and work hard through them – but its still going to be a gruelling time for you. Good luck :(


Marie August 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Awwww. That must have been so stressful for you.
I know what you mean – I’ve been feeling stressed lately too.
Hopefully life gets back on track soon. :)
♥ Marie´s last [type] ..Kwerkee


Glory October 6, 2012 at 2:03 am

Hi Gilda! I can relate (except I’m back living with my parents, not overseas! – that’d be tough)… I’m a struggling graphic design student and it’s so hard to get the funds needed for materials to produce work that I can actually sell! I know what you mean. I think a trunk show is a great idea for you. There’s always going to be hurdles but, in the end, I think perseverance and passion are what helps us make our dreams come true. You can do it!


happisis December 29, 2012 at 4:06 pm

went to parco and saw your designs. love love love the collection :D wish i have lots of blink blinks and wrap the clothes away :D


Nikhil Narkhede July 16, 2013 at 11:14 am

Be tension free. You should do the things which you love to do. All the best. I know that you will be enjoying life! :-)


aparna bala August 26, 2013 at 4:07 pm

I was home schooled, and so grateful that my parents to choose the route, but it is not easy for people to say!


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Rosabel August 20, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Now I’m like, well duh! Truly thaukfnl for your help.


Live Quran Learn October 21, 2013 at 5:42 am

went to parco and saw your designs. love love love the collection


AliciaIvideochat November 3, 2013 at 1:39 pm

I know what you mean. I think a trunk show is a great idea for you. There’s always going to be hurdles but, in the end, I think perseverance and passion are what helps us make our dreams come true. You can do it!


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Artikel yg sngat menarik dan berguna…
Makasih bnyak….!!!


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♥ Security Camera Installation´s last [type] ..Starting a Security Camera Installation Company


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