Now that Halloween is finally upon us, we felt a spooky surge of inspiration to share some of our favorite industry horror stories! Whether you’re a fashion industry veteran, or you’re just getting started, sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. We’ve all had our fair share of disasters, and as grim as it can seem at times, everyone in the industry has had a similar or worse horror story to tell at some point – so just take a nice, deep breath, and know that you’re in good company.
JLD-Studios has seen its share of horror, too, from the roof leaking water over our equipment, to receiving faulty machinery that now acts as a permanent art installation in our warehouse.
Some things are just out of your control, and that in itself can be scary. But, it can also give you some great stories – like the time someone drove a forklift into the back wall of our factory. In fact, they proceeded to deny that they had even done it! Yes, they also insisted that we pulled our wall out 2-3 feet. How? I don’t know, but they eventually fessed up and fixed it. Then proceeded to come through it again a year later!
One client received samples from another factory that were completely wrong and her elastic had been sewn with a single-needle stitch. This created too much tension and wouldn’t stretch, rendering the elastic and sample unusable. Someone else had 1,000 units made overseas, but there was nobody available to do a quality check at the time. When the production order arrived, over half of the zippers were broken. This can be an unfortunate hazard of doing overseas production if you don’t have independent Quality Control in place. To make matters worse, everything had already been paid for—we’re sure you can agree that alone is its own horror story.
Horrors in Sourcing…
We’ve had plenty of horrifying situations when sourcing fabrics, too. Earlier this year, we had ordered some sample yardage, but there was a port strike in Los Angeles; it ended up taking over a month for them to be able to ship. Finally, after all of that waiting, the shipping company had delivered it to our studio’s old address and it never showed up.
A client had decided to move manufacturing to JLD-Studios and her fabric arrived to our warehouse with holes through the first several layers due to improper storage.
Starting production can often lead to delays as sourcing trims and fabrics doesn’t necessarily mean those items are in stock once you are ready to begin.
We sent out a PO for several different fabrics, however, the mill didn’t have one of the fabrics in stock. Instead of notifying us of the status of the order, the warehouse set our entire order aside. It was weeks later, and many emails, before it was uncovered.
Nightmares of the Industry…
Everyone in the fashion industry deals with nightmares like the ones we’ve described. We’ve dealt with factories who spent an entire year telling us our order would be “finished in six to eight weeks,” and worked with manufacturers that didn’t know the difference between Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.
Working overseas can have its share of struggles as well. Someone we know worked for a brand who manufactures in China. One of the brand’s factories went bankrupt and the country of China seized the property and everything inside; meaning that all of their fabrics, trims, and production order was locked inside with it!
The most important thing you can do when this industry hands you lemons is to roll with the punches and try to learn to laugh at these things, eventually. It doesn’t matter if you completely new to the industry, or a veteran, times of crisis happen. They are really stressful at the time, but think of how funny these stories will be to you later!