May 24, 2015

New & Local: Bay Thread’s Production for Emerging Designers

Local designers, a new company for your radar comes from RevelationByMe co-creator Eloisa Serrano, who’s started Bay Thread, a company focused on helping designers produce garments in small batches. We got the insider scoop from Serrano on pattern making, quality control and passion for design. Read on for our interview and more about a local company focused on local production.

em>What motivated you to start Bay Threads?As an independent designer myself I faced challenges sourcing affordable pattern makers and found that manufacturing minimums were too high for emerging designers, and I saw a great need for services like pattern making, grading, sample making and manufacturing at lower minimums

How do you hope to help new designers? Bay Thread helps new designers and established designers with affordable pattern making, grading, sample making and manufacturing at competitive rates. We provide assistance from start to finish, as some clients need help starting with the design process all the way through the final production processes. With our low minimums, we give new designers a greater chance of taking their products to market and launching their collections

What do you find inspiring about independent fashion designers? The drive and passion that small designers have is something that everyone should have and apply to everyday life. It is inspiring how much drive they have, and it is amazing how much passion and effort is put into their products. I am also inspired by the creativity that is out there. All my clients are different and unique in their own ways, and it is great to be able to work with such creative individuals.

What services does to Bay Threads offer? We offer services in pattern making, grading, sample making and manufacturing. We can also assist you with design and sourcing for fabrics or trims.

What products can you help create? The majority of our clients are in the fashion apparel industry, but we also can help clients with home decor products, accessory products, children’s dolls and pet products. If you have a creative idea, it is easy to fill out one of our online forms for a free quote.

What are the biggest challenges facing independent designers? I think that large manufacturing minimums are the biggest challenge faced by independent designers today. In today’s economy it is difficult to produce, stock and sell 200 pieces of the same style. Bay Thread offers a solution of manufacturing in the U.S. at 15 pieces per style. These lower minimums give independent designers a chance to produce smaller orders for their customers. Instead of only launching a few styles, they can manufacture a more extensive product line.

What are the advantages of having apparel designs produced by a local manufacturer? Quality control and turn around times are important details when manufacturing your product. The manufacturing process is a complicated one and if problems arise, it is easier to solve them when the manufacture is nearby. When you work with a local manufacturer, turn around times are faster, ensuring deliver dates are met and you save money on shipping.

Any tips for new designers? Have a clear vision of what you want and be passionate about your products and ideas. Also when contracting any type of work, ask questions and ensure your vision is clear and understood by the service provider.

Bay Thread founder Eloisa Serrano

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What’s New in Old Oakland’s Popuphood

In the heart of Old Oakland, it’s time for a catch up session on the latest with Popuphood. New retailers Umamimart and McMullen recently joined the mix of independent shops, and the organization is offering other interested independent retailers an opportunity to apply to the expanding project through its web site. Read on for the details.

Here’s the lowdown: with the rise in popularity of pop-up retail, the idea of a mini neighborhood inspired by the concept presented a unique opportunity for a group of lucky retailers last fall.

Popuphood, an urban revitalization project and small business incubator, aims to draw foot traffic to the heart of Old Oakland while offering local artisans and merchants the opportunity to open temporary shops to present their work to the public.

When Popuphood debuted this past December, creators Alfonso Dominguez and Sarah Filley made it possible for a handful of independent retailers to try out the newly renovated retail spaces of Old Oakland for six months – completely rent-free. Opportunities to sign long term leases after the trial period made the opportunity even sweeter, and five out of eight retailers ended up signing leases. There were benefits to the surrounding community, as well. Along with bringing new energy to the streets, the shops are easily accessible via public transportation and BART, and are only a few short blocks from a handful of restaurants and bars.

The project has plans to expand to more neighborhoods and communities in the future and has created an online platform for interested businesses to get in touch: independent retailers interested in joining the eclectic mix of talent can apply online for their opportunity to connect with Old Oakland – or wherever the next popuphood lands.

More San Francisco fashion news…


Femme Cartel Seeks Fashion Sketches for Upcoming Art Show

Fierce, female Bay Area-based art collective Femme Cartel is seeking fashion illustration submissions for its upcoming show at Public Works, and you’ve got until April 22 to submit your work. These artistic ladies aim to include local talent and are looking for artists with a series of high quality illustrations or drawings focused on fashion design and or personal style. Bonus points for submissions that highlight diversity, including plus size, women of color, tattoos and sub-cultures.

Don’t miss out on your chance to take part in an exciting show, which will highlight the growing convergence of art and fashion by celebrating fashion illustration as an artistic form in its own right. Get a better idea of what Femme Cartel’s looking for on Pinterest and read on for the submission details.

1. ART WORK: Email with a link to your website or online portfolio.

2. HANGING: Artwork must be gallery-ready: all pieces from the same artist must be in matching frames.

SHOW: July 19 2012-August 6 2012

GALLERY: Public Works SF

CURATORS: Emily Howe & Christina Bohn of Femme Cartel

Style + Tech: FASHION+TECH SF Talks Social Media

Social media experts speak on best practices for branding businesses on the net.

Social media may seem easy enough, but if you’re a start-up fashion brand trying to carve out a space for yourself in the digital sphere, you already know that the process can be challenging. It was those very challenges that a group of social media aficionados and tech-curious entrepreneurs convened at Pigment Cosmetics to discuss during the most recent FASHION+TECH SF.

Online branding best practices and the complexities of internet marketing were hot topics, as were product presos from gift bag swapping phone app Swagg, Abrot Bags, talkTECH Communications and brand ambassador company RAF9.

Ania and Farooq of Abrot bags

The evening was engaging and informative with speakers Brad Carrick of Solz Shoes, Sabrina Bruning of Internet Savant, Uduak Oduak of Ladybrille Magazine, Willo O’Brien of Willo Toons, and Vishal Kalia of RAF9, all of whom took part in the panel focused on topics such as “How do you build online influence?” and “How much time do you invest in managing your online community?”

Formerly known as Fashion Mash-Up, this workshop hosted and organized by San Francisco Fashion And Merchants Alliance’s Owen Geronimo concentrated on the business of fashion and its growing relationship with technology. Local entrepreneurs, fashion designers, bloggers, retailers, startups, and tech-lovers interested in networking, brainstorming and sharing new business ideas are just some of the people who attended the event.

Attendees get acquainted with other entrepreneurs during the networking hour

Experts spoke about their company’s histories with social media and discussed how they set up a strategy and got social media to work for them. A few highlights:

- Sabrina Bruning and Willo O’Brien had this suggestion for brands who want more online influence and followers: be proactive. If you want a response from someone, tweet at them first. Just make sure what you’re tweeting is relevant and not spammy.

- Another social media tip that’s easy and effective: if you see that someone you follow is going out to an event, tweet at them to have a good time or wish them good luck. A little kindness goes a long way, and can help your brand get noticed.

- In terms of online social marketing tools, Twitter and Facebook seemed to be the fan favorites amongst the workshoppers, though the merits of newer applications such as Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram for visual-heavy purposes were also noted by several panelists.

Designer Ben Raviv (left) and SF Indie Fashion's Alexandra Naughton having fun with the #fashiontechsf hashtag sign.

Photography courtesy of Alexandra Naughton (except last photo, courtesy of FASHION+TECHSF)

More San Francisco fashion and technology

Alexandra is a San Francisco writer with a passion for style and creativity. You can find her on Twitter @theTsaritsa


Good Gov’t: Mayor Lee Launches FashionSF

Mayor Ed Lee tours the Cayson Culinary Designs facility on Oct. 25 (image via flickr)

Who says San Francisco doesn’t care about style? Even the Mayor’s office is getting behind the local fashion industry with the launch of FashionSF, a new program that’s part of  the City’s Start Here, Grow Here, Stay Here economic development initiative.

Introduced on October 26 at longtime local manufacturer Cayson Culinary Designs in the Bayview by Mayor Ed Lee, District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen and local fashion industry executives, the program dedicates city staff and resources to supporting the growth and retention of apparel companies operating in San Francisco.

You don’t need us to tell you that San Francisco has a rich history in fashion and garment manufacturing. Along with major labels such as Levi’s and Gap, there are many smaller companies producing garments within city limits. (For more on that, check out our recent coverage of SJ Manufacturing, a SoMa-based company that works with many local start-up apparel lines.)

But while there are many fashion designers and manufacturing companies based in San Francisco, Mayor Lee thinks there could be far more:

“FashionSF brings together the private sector, educational institutions and the City to work towards a singular goal – to make San Francisco the preeminent location for fashion designer and apparel manufacturers,” said Mayor Lee in a statement. “I am committed to ensuring that apparel and design companies of all sizes can start, stay, grow and hire right here in San Francisco, driving job creation for all San Franciscans.”

So what does that all mean, practically speaking? The City will have a dedicated staff position to serve as a central point of contact to the fashion design and apparel manufacturing industry. A committee dubbed The Fashion Working Group and headed up by co-chairs Roger Kase of Isda & Co and Janet Lees of SFMade will guide and provide support for the initiative, while the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) will be collaborating with the Fashion Working Group to pinpoint key industry needs, challenges, opportunities, and develop a Fashion Action Plan to prioritize and address.

“These are exactly they types of businesses we want to attract, support and have grow here in San Francisco,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen in a press release. “These small manufactures hire local residents and invest in our local communities.”

More San Francisco fashion news


Alexandra is a San Francisco writer with a passion for style and creativity. You can find her on Twitter @theTsaritsa