People in Production: Dispatch Team at Maggie Marilyn
24 August 2017
Posted in: Good to Know, Industry, H&F Presents, Fashion Thinking, Opinion
Hawes & Freer presents ‘People in Production’. An insight into the people, brands and roles in the production side of the New Zealand fashion industry.
Globalisation has given us access to a range of product around the world, in fashion it has helped local designers to showcase their brands to a global audience. If there is any Kiwi brand who has felt the pressure of this, it is the relatively new label, Maggie Marilyn. For our last week of this series, we spoke to Aimee (Production Manager) and Olive (Production Assistant), two girls who make up the Maggie Marilyn team. They also assist with getting product out the door to meet the deadlines of their distributors, read on to find out how they keep up with this growing brand.
How long have you been in the industry for and what role did you start in?
Olive: This is my first year out of university so not long at all!
Aimee: I've been in the industry for about four years now. My first role was as a Workroom Manager - so I organised for all the samples and made-to-measure pieces to be made at a largely made in NZ label.
Tell us a bit about your roles at Maggie Marilyn.
Olive: My role is to assist Aimee in all things production. We run to an extremely fast turn around so it becomes a real mix of jobs, in order to get things done on time. Anything from organising the trim bags, dropping cuts, quality checking and many laughs in between.
Aimee: I'm the Production Manager, and Olive is the Production Assistant. Maggie is also fully involved in what's happening with production, and we have an amazing pattern-maker we work really closely with - so we're a really close knit small team. As the production team our job is to take the sales orders stores have made after seeing samples, and turn them into thousands of garments delivered to stores on time. We have to make sure the fit of styles is perfect, and that they're constructed beautifully. We need to order fabrics and trims, liaise with our cutters, makers, and people who work on special processes for us during the make of styles - like quilters, fabric dyers etc, and generally make sure everything is moving along to schedule in terms of us being able to meet our deadlines. When styles are delivered to us, we check them over really thoroughly to make sure they're up to our high standards, and then we package them up to ship off to locations all around the world.
How important is it to meet deadlines in such a fast-paced industry?
Olive: Deadlines are very key. Our stockists would lose a lot of faith in the brand if we didn't deliver to them on time. In order for us to deliver to our stores, Aimee and I need to work to a tight schedule as well as making sure we are keeping up with each other, so that we work better as a team.
Aimee: It's definitely one of the most important things. The longer styles are in store, the longer they have to sell.
What advice would you give to succeed with time management?
Olive: Sit down at the beginning and end of your day and go through what you have to complete and when. It is so helpful to know where you're at, and if you’re feeling behind you are always aware.
Aimee: I think the best way to manage your time is to be organised so you can make the most of each day. I make a daily to do list - thinking through what my priority tasks are, and what things can wait until later - and work through it, revising it at the end of each day. Production can be so busy and fast paced that sometimes it can feel like a million things happen in a day - so I always try to write down notes about things as they pop up so I remember everything, and can look back on them later if I need. We also have a big catch up every few days to go over exactly where every style is at, so we're 100% across everything and know what our big priorities are.
What qualities and skills are important to work in a production team?
Olive: Problem solving, organisation, fabrication and sewing knowledge and you can't let things get to you! You must pick yourself up and press on in order to get the job done.
Aimee: Production can be stressful at times, so I think the most important thing is to have a positive attitude and support each other - and then most things feel like a breeze. It's also important to be really hard-working, have stamina and be a great problem solver.
What is something you learnt about the industry that you didn’t know before?
Olive: To be honest I think most fashion design graduates think they will go into a role that is all sunshine and rainbows, but it is hard work, and you have to be willing to do the good jobs and the bad jobs with a smile on your face. There is so much to learn every day and that's exciting!
Aimee: How hard everyone works!
Do you think this is vital information for people who want to get involved in the industry? Why?
Olive: I think so! I mean I do believe our generation has an issue with working hard, and expect things to come easily but that's not the way. If you are passionate about the industry, then work hard, prove your worth and people will notice and want you on their team!
What would you say is the biggest challenge you face?
Olive: There is always a little bump in the road that you have to solve, and often for us we have to make a decision relatively quickly. We all have to remember to take 5 minutes to breath, weigh up all the options so that we know we are making the right choice.
Aimee: A big focus for us at Maggie Marilyn is that our production is all made in NZ (apart from our knitwear which is currently made in Italy). It's something that's really important to Maggie, Olive and myself, as we're really passionate about the brand being ethically produced. We hear stories from all corners of the industry about what it used to be like before huge amounts of production moved offshore. It's been a huge challenge for so many people and businesses. We have an amazing network of skilled people in NZ - sample machinists, cutters, makers, pressers, fabric dyers - the list goes on! - that we love working with and want to keep building relationships with as the brand continues to grow.
What opportunities does your role provide for jobs in the future? How can you grow?
Olive: I think at this stage the role is pretty open to any direction. We do so much in one day and learn aspects of each area. I'm loving where I am at and I'm looking forward to where I organically move too.
Aimee: With each season we learn more and more, and as our team grows new opportunities develop for us within the brand. It's crazy to think that the Maggie Marilyn brand has only been around for about a year! It's grown so so quickly in that time - each new season is a new challenge for us to see how much we can achieve. It'll be exciting to grow with the brand and with Maggie.
Maggie Marilyn is a New Zealand based fashion brand that launched in September 2016. The debut Maggie Marilyn collection is sold exclusively online at Net-A-Porter.com and instore at The Shelter, Auckland, New Zealand. A combination of strong tailoring and youthful charm, the Maggie Marilyn collections are delivered with a real sense of confidence and modern luxury.