Top 10 Tips For A Successful Sweater Textile Designer
Do you want to be a successful sweater textile designer? What sets someone apart from an average sweater designer and one that is truly successful in the fashion industry?
In my previous article titled “How To Get Representation As A Sweater Textile Designer?” I explained how one can find representation to sell their original sweater swatch designs. In this article, I am going to give tips on how to be a successful sweater textile designer.
We couldn’t cover every possible angle of the fashion sweater textile business in just one post! This article is part of a 6 part Fashion Knit Business Series. If you want to learn how to become a sweater textile designer or start your own service-based business you can check out the entire series at the bottom of this page.
Sweater Textile Designer Tips
Now that we have established what the job of the sweater textile designer is I would like to discuss what it takes to be successful in this field. The world of fashion is always changing and it is important to adapt and continue to learn your trade. Below are some tips that will keep you on the cutting edge of the industry and make you a valuable member of the design team.
1) Researching Trends
To stay on top of trends it is important to regularly shop the market that you are designing for (i.e. childrenswear or menswear, etc.). In addition to making regular shopping trips, one needs to attend trade shows such as Première Vision or Spin-Expo. Here sweater service companies from around the world show their latest collections to designers. Here you can get an idea of yarn and knitting trends happening in all categories. It is an excellent resource! There are also other online trend services that might be available you such as WGSN or Fashion Snoops.
2) Presentation Skills
It is very common for a sweater textile designer to give seasonal trend presentations to their prospective design teams each season. How you present your research is just as important as what you present. You are essentially selling your ideas to your design team. You have to prove to them that you know what you are talking about and that these are the best trend ideas to move forward with and include in the line. So, do your homework and try out some different presentation styles. Depending on how you will be presenting, you may want to try a video presentation, PowerPoint slide show, or a large board presentation. Don’t forget to give your customers (design team) something to walk away with. A print out of your presentation that they can take with them and refer back to is a great idea.
3) Keep Up With CAD Systems
There are many different CAD systems being used in the industry today. Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, NedGraphics, or Koledo are just a few. Even if the company you work for only uses one it is extremely important to at least have the basic knowledge of the others. You never know when that company may change systems or you may want to switch companies. Staying up on the technology will raise your value in the marketplace!
4) Knowledge of Knitting Techniques
The most valued sweater textile designer knows their limitations. Having a clear understanding of construction and knitting machine techniques and their limitations will make you a smarter sweater textile designer. To gain this knowledge you can attend seminars or take classes offered on the various knitting techniques and machinery. Cotton Incorporated Cotton University online courses are a great FREE resource. They also offer live seminars throughout the year with a hands-on demonstration using machines.
5) Work Smarter Not Harder
It can take a long time to design original artwork. You don’t want to have to start from scratch with every single design. A smart sweater textile designer will build their own library of textile motifs, textures, and stitches. For example, if you design a beautiful fair isle design with snowflakes and reindeer, you should save each individual motif so that you can use this same motif in a different design. Patterns are subjective. When you present your work, if the designer wants to make changes or does not want to use a particular design, you can still use the individual elements of that design to make a totally new design in less time.
6) Build Your Own Library
Trends change every season and it is useful to have resources to use to get started on your design process. There are many books and magazines available that are a great resource to add to your library. As mentioned above you can also build your own library (physical or electronic) of motifs, textures, and stitches. You can also build a library by cutting swatches from vintage sweaters or other garments purchased. Having this resource library will help you have a starting point for your designs. It will also help you work faster!
7) Stay Connected
If you are employed as a sweater textile designer working for a company or brand, it is a good idea to build your contact list of sweater swatch service companies that you can call upon to purchase new original sweater swatches from each season. People move around a lot in this industry, so keep a stack of business cards from the various sweater swatch studios, connect with them on LinkedIn and Instagram. See my post “How To Use LinkedIn To Network In The Fashion Industry.”
Join their mailing list if they have one. Many sweater swatch studios travel from out of town, so you want to be sure you know when they will be available. This will also help you be aware when they come out with new collections of prints.
8) Build Your Own Email List
These last few tips are for those who have their own sweater swatch service business or who are freelancing as a sweater textile designer. I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay regularly connected with your customers. People move around a lot in the fashion industry. Be sure they have a way of getting in touch with you when they move! Connect with designers via LinkedIn. Ask them to follow you on Instagram. And send out a monthly newsletter informing your customers of your latest collections, trends, etc.
9) Sell, Sell, Sell!
A successful sweater swatch business is one that spends as much time on sales as it does on design. Don’t wait for the designers to come to you. Schedule those cold calls every time you have a new collection of sweater swatches to show. Stay informed of your designer’s calendars and when they might be looking for new concepts for the next season so you won’t miss the boat.
10) Anticipate Your Customers Needs
If you offer the most amazing customer service to your clients they will come back to you over and over. As a sweater swatch service business, you need to anticipate your customers’ needs and make it a no-brainer for them to buy from you. Make sure your designs are production friendly! Offer ways to simplify the stitch or construction if necessary to make the pattern more affordable to produce. Consider offering add-on services such as colorway creation for them. You can also offer them trend research so they can make an informed decision why they should buy from you.
Fashion Knit Business Series:
If you or someone you know is interested in working as a sweater textile designer you can read the entire blog series here. Learn what it takes to be a successful sweater textile designer, and how to start and run your own sweater swatch service business.
- What Is A Sweater Swatch Service Company
- How To Get Representation As A Sweater Textile Designer
- Top 10 Tips To Be A Successful Sweater Textile Designer
- How To Build Your Own Sweater Swatch Service Business
- Advice From Top Sweater Designers