November 1, 2004
Q: I was employed by the U.S. Postal Service for 16 years and now I’m retired. I have always loved fashion designing and would like to design uniforms for large corporations such as the Postal Service. I investigated it while I was an employee, but the people I talked to weren’t helpful. My new talent is designing business cards/brochures. As a single parent, it’s about doing something I like, making money, and being an example for myself and my child. I need help to get started.
–Via the Internet
A: The first thing you should do is decide on the direction you want to take. Is your goal to design uniforms or business cards? If the former is your choice, contact professionals through your network at the Postal Service. After 16 years, you should know at least one person who can connect you with the designer/manufacturer. If possible, see the uniforms, review the workmanship and quality, and ask specific questions about what the client expects of the designer.
Although you may have the talent, you’ll need to do some research. Reach out to organizations such as the Council of Fashion Designers of America (www.cfda.com), a trade organization for America’s leading fashion and accessory designers. This organization offers many resources to help you get started including a calendar of events, educational partners, and links to other organizations. Whether you design shoes or uniforms, read Careers for Fashion Plates and Trendsetters by Lucia Mauro (McGraw-Hill; $12.95).