Most new designers, worry about their first collection. It’s such a learning curve that usually takes longer than originally thought, but thats’s okay as you’re still learning, and most probably working in another job, so time may be a problem. What starts off thinking you’ll launch in 6 months, turns into a year (or more) , and suddenly you launch, you’re up and running , you’re taking in sales and you’ve made it.
However if you’re following the seasonal launches of the fashion industry, in another six months you’re gonna have to release your next collection. And this is where it can complicated.
Technically you should be working on your second collections when launching you’re first due to the fact that buyers buy ahead of the season and factories are booked up in advance. If you’re doing different shapes of lingerie than your first collection then there is the time it takes to fit it etc.
How to over come problems
Don’t rely on your first collection sales to predict your second - first collection sales can be at an all time high (or low), you may have landed a contract with a big shop, and be thinking/presuming that they will buy like that off you again.
You need to take into consideration, how much they were actually able to sell, some companies have budget for new designers and brands, but unless your lingerie significant sold out, they probably won’t place a second order from the second collection, they may wait until your third or fourth or longer to invest in you again.
You don’t have enough data to know what has worked - sadly on your second collection, there isn’t enough time or analyse what did or did not work, or which size sold the best..
You want to produce new patterns and shapes, think about how long it took you to sign off the first collection. For the second collection I would strongly recommend sticking with the same patterns. Vanjo first time around had one bra shape, with and without a cradle, and I launched three collections each season, over the five years it ran - that’s a total of thirty collections with the one pattern.
The flow of money - You probably won’t have been paid for your first collection by the time you need to place an order with your second - bear that in mind.
Overall when designing your first collection, start to think about your second, rather than launch say three or four collections, then only two for the next, try and and keep it consistent. And when I say collections, it could just mean different colour-ways.
Know what you do, what you stand for and your collections will be strong enough to survive getting past the first year. With also planning for the cash flow to take you past the second collection.
If you are not selling into shops directly there is also another option of not doing seasonal drops. So you produce fewer collections but around the year. That is what Vanjo stands for now. Working as a freelancer and writing means I have less time to sew, so I produce smaller collections throughout the year, that also means less waste and I can react on new ideas quicker, and reject ideas that aren’t going to work.