There is only one person in the history of the world that not only achieved their New Year’s resolution but also completely surpassed their goal – Pippa Oostergetel. She only wanted an Etsy store, however over the last four years built Squeak, a clothing, accessories and home wares brand known for their beautiful, colourful digital prints.
Now before you start claiming that she can’t be human because no one actually completes a New Year’s resolution and therefore you can’t achieve what she has; you need to know that it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Pippa. She’s had more than her fair share of manufacturing mishaps, which she has shared with us in the hope that you can learn from her mistakes.
Mistake #1: Your manufacturer didn’t keep a sample
You have spent two months sourcing a good overseas supplier; you have sent more emails that you can count trying to correctly articulate the product you want. The sample arrives. It’s so perfect that you do a little happy dance around your studio apartment and give payment for the bulk order. Then after 3 weeks of impatiently waiting for your new products to arrive, there’s a problem.
It’s different. The colours are off.
This is exactly what happened to Pippa. She grilled her suppliers and found out that they only made one sample, which she had, so they had nothing to match back to. “I thought it was common sense that you make two samples,” Pippa admits.
So what advice does Pippa have for you to avoid this scenario? “Make sure they keep a sample.”
Mistake #2: Your samples are made in a different manner as your bulk order
Most people wouldn’t ask suppliers to make sure that samples are made in the same manner as their bulk order. It seems unnecessary, as that’s literally the sole reason for getting a sample. Right?
Yet this is something Pippa does, and you should too.
After accepting a stunning sample for an order of quilts, the bulk order that arrived was “clearly just completely different.” The stitching was awful and Pippa had to correct all 400 quilts by hand on her living room floor.
When pushing the supplier for an answer on the poor quality quilts, it was revealed that the samples were made on a different machine to the bulk order. “The sample machines could stitch tighter. My samples were being made in a completely different way to how the bulk order would be made.”
Unfortunately for Pippa the sampling machine was too slow for the suppliers to use it for bulk orders and therefore they had manufactured her quilts on a completely different machine.
Pippa’s solution? Be really clear and tell them “not to bother giving [you] any samples that are not from the machines that will make the bulk product.”
A few manufacturing mishaps would never hold back someone as talented as Pippa. Even whilst tearing her hair out over botched bulk orders and trying to understand broken English, in 4 short years she has still managed to win the Australian Fashion Film Award and unlike most people, can actually fully financially support herself through her business Squeak. So even if you are having your own manufacturing nightmare, you now know that it doesn’t have to break you and with Pippa’s advice, you will never end up with 400 faulty quilts!
WANT MORE ON PIPPA OR THE BEAUTIFUL SQUEAK DESIGNS?
Can’t get enough of this featured LMB? Look below for all the ways you can reach out to Pippa Oostergetel! (PS – I’m pretty much in love with the Squeak scarves and am buying one as I publish this article…for research of course….)
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Rebecca Ridhalgh currently works in Banking and Finance and runs her e-c-commerce business JetSetGel. Obsessive about business and the entrepreneur space and always a feminist at heart — Rebecca loves her opportunity to meet impressive female business owners and learn from their experiences. Contact Rebecca via [email protected]