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Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst

E-Commerce Elite Podcast: Featuring Candice of Evangeline Rose Swimwear

In this episode, I met with Candice Evangeline of Evangeline Rose Swimwear to discuss her insights on e-commerce and the product manufacturing game. Candice got her start into swimwear because she saw an opening in the market for women who wear sizes between plus and regular. Familiar with the yearly struggle of finding the right swimsuit, she saw an opportunity. With a background in fashion arts and after working with marketing startups, Candice decided to go her own way and create a more size inclusive swimwear line. With a sense for what makes her product and brand stand out from the crowd, Candice has added the taken things to the next level by adding the feature of biodegradable fabric to her product line.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Stories and advice on getting into the manufacturing game
  • Mistakes and lessons learned in manufacturing a product outside of your own country
  • The value of patience in getting started and the years that follow

What is your top advice for working with manufacturers on a product?

Candice emphasized several times the need to have patience, because miscommunications happen. Some things are not going to go right- especially if you’re manufacturing overseas. The first manufacturer she worked with was in the Philippines. With so many steps to the fashion production process, timing was tricky to coordinate. Overseas shipping times, sampling, handling different fits- it was a long time between initial design and having a product that was ready to sell. It took 2 years for Candice’s first collection to be ready. She eventually switched manufacturers to find one that would accommodate custom designs as opposed to wholesale. Candice also cautioned that you never know when a manufacturer is going to go down for no reason and you’re just left to fend for yourself.

What was the biggest lesson you learned as you got started?

Keep it simple. With her second swimwear collection, Candice simplified things and the process went a lot smoother. Candice and I also discussed the importance of finding a manufacturer that align with the ethical standards your business upholds. After switching manufacturers and some trial and error, she found a manufacturer that could work with her on biodegradable fabric. Since fast fashion notoriously has an impact on the environment, Candice wanted to move forward in a direction that would make her brand part of the solution, instead of part of that problem.

How did you go about finding your manufacturer?

Candice’s answer echoed where most people would start: Google.
It’s become easier with time and technology; she first started researching in 2013. The majority of what she could find at that time was manufacturers with very large minimum requirements. Candice pointed out that it’s worth reaching out, because on some wholesale websites you’ll find lists of what they do- but if you reach out they’ll do custom work as well.

What is the timeline on actually receiving your product from overseas manufacturers?

Something to be aware of is that from the time your manufacturer actually completes an order, it can take months to reach you- depending on current circumstances. Candice discussed how if you order something that is already in stock from wholesale, on average it takes a month. If you order custom product however, it can take 3 months. Additional factors, like mail issues or major disasters, can make the process take even longer. Candice’s first manufacturer was hit by 2 major hurricanes. Other manufacturers shut down for a month to celebrate Chinese New Year. She re-emphasizes the need for patience because there are so many factors involved, and you just don’t know what will happen.

What technology do you use on your website?

Like many early in the website creation process, Candice started on Wix and liked how customizable the features were. She eventually had to switch because Wix doesn’t offer a plugin for credit card payments- they only take PayPal. Candice currently uses BigCommerce, which she describes as being a little complicated but more in depth. It’s more robust features have enabled her to expand her e-commerce options.

Candice’s parting advice:

BE PATIENT.
Things are going to go wrong, and more often than you like, things are not going to come out the way you want them to when you want it.
Follow the adage: Hope for the best plan for the worst.
Especially when it comes to the design process and manufacturing, things may take longer than expected. Don’t set rigid timeframes, because it’s an unpredictable venture.