We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennie Yu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennie, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
In the apparel industry, one thing that outsiders need to be aware of during the process of developing your own clothing line is, it takes time, a lot of time. Each step of the process has its own micro process within it, each with its own set of requirements and timeline. Let’s say we would like to develop a line of children’s wear. You need to conduct market research, hire a designer, have the designs created by a pattern maker, prototypes sewn, samples fitted on fit models. At the fit session, you need to ensure that 1) the design is properly represented in the initial prototype, and 2) the sample fits as intended. Once those issues and any other concerns are addressed, it’s back to adjusting the pattern according to the new changes. Another sample and fit session ensues and this process continues for typically, three rounds of prototyping. If it goes beyond that – then you need a new pattern maker! Once the fit sample is approved, then the pattern needs to be graded, which is when you scale the sample sized pattern to smaller and larger sizes while maintaining proportions. Next, you have size set samples made and fitted to all sizes offered to ensure/confirm the grading is what you prefer. Remember, this process is for a single style in your line, so if you have 10 items in your line, you would have to go through this process 10 times. This is just one of the many steps/processes that occur in creating your own clothing line. Other steps have their own processes that the professionals in their field would help guide the client with that I’m not even aware of. While you are working on developing the line, I’m sure someone is working on marketing, which is another realm that I am not even remotely versed in. Let a pro take it from there!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
After a flat pattern class in college I knew that was what I wanted to do! It was something technical in such a creative field and I knew that those skills would be appreciated as the pattern maker is someone who could bring a design to fruition. I have been fortunate enough to work and learn from some of the best in the industry and I loved problem solving fit and pattern issues, sometimes it keeps me up at night thinking of the problem at hand but in the end, with a little trial, error, and perseverance the problem is solved! Plus, I love the cause and effect aspect of pattern making especially when I have figured it out. It is such a rewarding feeling knowing that your hard work paid off and that you have learned something new in the process.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Fortunately, we live in such a great state, we have mountains and the city so close to each other. Day 1 – I would start by taking my friend hiking at Chautauqua in Boulder, since that’s where I live, and see the Flatirons. We would have dinner at Japon, a delicious Japanese restaurant with a tank of live jellyfish on display, on Pearl Street that night while she is acclimating to our altitude. Day 2 – I would take her to downtown Denver to check out the shops in Union Station and dine at one of the restaurants. Day 3 – Go to Central City and check out the historic Opera house with a show and maybe stay at one of the hotels since we would also be checking out the slot machines since you’re there. Day 4 – Spend the day at Rocky Mountain National Park with an overnight stay at the Stanley Hotel to test our nerves! Day 5 – Farmers market downtown Boulder for a home cooked meal. Day 6 – Attend a show at CU’s Shakespeare Festival – the outdoor seating and ambiance is a perfect setting for any Shakespeare show. Day 7 – Depending on how my friend feels, we could go for a mountain bike ride on any one of the trails outside of Boulder or even on the bike paths.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Definitely my family! I wouldn’t be where I’m at without them, they have given me tons of support long before I started my business. They have been with me from the beginning of my career as a pattern maker after college, in the job market, and now as a business owner.