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Design Directory Feature
Shelley Ediger: GarmaTech
We had a fun catch up with one of our original Design Directory professionals, Shelley
Name: Shelley Ediger
Industry: Pattern making / production / manufacturing
1. Tell us a bit about your business.
GarmaTech is a one stop shop for garment and textile design, development and production services. We have a menu of services available and clients can choose which services they require. We are here to work along side brands and designers to assist wherever needed throughout the process.
2. How did you get into the manufacturing/production industry and tell us about how you got your business started?
Accident? I had always wanted to work in design and had a great job as Senior Pattern Maker with another company but felt that I had outgrown my position there and wanted to keep learning and exploring the industry. At that time I was offered another Pattern Making position at a factory. Pattern making in a design house is very different from pattern making at an actual factory location. It was the perfect challenge I was looking for and I learned a great deal more about how to improve my pattern skills as well as how a factory works. While working at these two jobs I was also free lancing Pattern and Design while operating my menswear company dEDGIER. I was continually asked if I could help with cut and sew production for other smaller companies because I had a team of home sewers making my mensear line. Eventually I said yes to one client, and then one more and it all began to unfold. My freelance pattern clients became small run production clients. The space I used for pattern drafting turned into a small cutting room and the factory I had been working at as a Pattern Maker encouraged me and allowed me to cut back my hours to spend more time building my small business. Eventually I named the small side hustle and worked tirelessly to make sure it grew!
3. What do you love most about your job and why? Does the reality of your business match up to your expectations you had before I starting out?
I love that I have found a way to be a very active person in this industry while being able to work behind the scenes. Owning a brand is fun, and I still do enjoy it, however I have always felt hindered by the fact that I am not a social media expert - nor am I personally a marketing expert. I love working on big projects and being able to work with inspiring designs, brands and other companies.
4. The Directory was created as a resource of local professionals for small business owners to access to help them grow their business. What resource did you find most helpful when starting up your business? Mentor, friend, co-worker, website, books, etc.
Friends and family were certainly a huge resource when starting. The support and encouragement and the act of showing up when I needed a hand is something I will forever be grateful for. My first boss at my first actual industry job, Helen, was also a huge mentor as she is a true expert in the fit and pattern drafting area. She gave me a chance in a job where I was underqualified and taught me the pattern drafting techniques I needed to succeed. She is the one who was able to connect the home learned and college taught knowledge I had with the technical and actual working skills I needed - and made it click together. Lastly the team at the factory where I still do contract work was an undeniable wealth of knowledge, help and support. I was the youngest by far on the team and worked along side each other specialist with 40+ years working in the industry. This taught me about costing, projections, factory floor planning, garment finishing, cutting - everything. I was able to work one on one as a part of a small team in a huge company to learn everything. I don't think there is any one book that could ever provide that type of experience.
5. Who is a fellow Winnipeg-based entrepreneur/creative professional you admire/would love to collaborate with and why?
I can't even begin to list the names of local entrepreneurs who I admire! Both of you for example! I remember years ago when you sent me an email about starting Kinship and asked if I would speak at your first seminar. It is exciting to watch companies here in the city come together to share their knowledge and work together.
6. What are you most excited for going forward? Any new projects on the horizon?
Going forward we have developed our True Transparent Manufacturing Program which I am ecstatic about. This program offers ethical overseas manufacturing through our partner factories with low minimums and a fantastic end product in customers hands. We have outlined a very specific criteria for factories to follow in order to be classified as ethical and truly transparent. Clients get visuals from the overseas factories of their products being made, all design / pattern and fit references are done locally.
7. And finally, we have so many people in our community looking to start their own business or are still dreaming up what sort of business they want to start. Do you have a piece of advice you can you share with others looking to start their own business?
Start Small and let your plan unfold naturally. I speak about this very regularly as we work with a lot of start up's and I believe this advice is relevant in any industry. Have a dream and a plan but also know that you cannot force it to go that way. Just take the first step - look around and see what's working. Then take the next. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would open a factory and develop the systems and programs that I have but I just took one step many years ago and then with countless hours of work, I followed the open doors and opportunities that felt right.
A huge thank you to Shelley for contributing!
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Mad About Style
Rose + Doll
GarmaTech has worked with local brands manufacturing their designs including Mad About Style and Rose + Doll
"The support and encouragement and the act
of showing up when I needed a hand is something
I will forever be grateful for."