Friday, February 18, 2011

Author Jennifer Lynne Matthews, Guest Blogger

Please join me in welcoming author Jennifer Lynne Matthews as the special guest blogger here at Thoughts in Progress today as she makes a stop on her virtual book tour.

Jennifer’s current release is FASHION UNRAVELED. Here’s a brief synopsis of the book: FASHION UNRAVELED offers an inside look into the operations of a small fashion design business. This book offers tips, tools of the trade and valuable insight into the industry. This acts as a guide for developing a customer, market and collection. The book introduces the reader to sourcing and production, as well as explains marketing concepts. Whether the reader is an entrepreneur, designer, student or craftsperson, this book will guide one through the business implementation process.

FASHION UNRAVELED introduces an in-depth look at creating a costing model, solid pricing and realistic budgeting. FASHION UNRAVELED is user friendly and was designed for the creative mind. Chapters are laid out with definitions and web links located in the sidebars of the book for ease in use. The second edition features over 400 pages of information transforming this into the "must read" resource for every designer entrepreneur. This book offers a new case study feature, following a small fashion business through their business launch, including their business plan. FASHION UNRAVELED also features several designer interviews, including a Q&A with British designer Timothy James Andrews and couturier Colleen Quen.”

As an educator at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (San Francisco & LA), Jennifer recognized that there was a need for a step by step educational manual to teach her students on how to start their own business. Consequently, she wrote the first edition of FASHION UNRAVELED in 2008 to provide such educational material; the second edition just recently came out. Jennifer stopped by today to talk about how “a business plan is not the end of the world.”

Business plans can be intimidating for anyone, which probably explains why there are thousands of books on how to write one. But do YOU really need one? Answer this question:
Do you sell things you make, resell merchandise you buy or sell your services for a profit?
    a.  Yes, I make a living doing it.
    b.  Yes, I’m making some money but I’d like to make a living doing it.
    c.  Yes, but it’s just a hobby that brings in a little extra cash.
    d.  No.

If you answered d, please proceed to the next article, I don’t know why you would even be reading about business plans. If you answered a, b or c, well then, we need to talk business plans.
I think the scariest words to an entrepreneur is “business plan,” so let’s make this subject a little less frightening. Here are 5 reasons we use a business plan.
1. Entrepreneurs are creative individuals, and as you may know, creative individuals are highly susceptible to short attention spans and the curse of unending multi-tasking. A business plan keeps these brave souls in check and organized.

2. In the excitement of starting a business, entrepreneurs want to buy anything and everything to get the business going. The business plan makes you lay out your planned expenses so you don’t go bankrupt before you even launch your business.
3. Business plans make us take everything into account and bring everything into perspective. It lays out what you expect to get out of your business, when you expect to see a positive cash flow and how you plan to get your customers?
4. Everyone has a million dollar idea, but how many of those people are able to make a million dollars off of it. With careful budgeting and forecasting, you can see if your million dollar idea is going to be your life force, transform itself into a thousand dollar idea or become the bane of your existence.
5. Because it’s for you and no one else!
The words “business plan” gets the reaction out of most as if someone scratched their fingernails down the chalkboard. But you know what? You can call it something else. Call it your gold plan, your kids college fund or your retirement plan, but for a business to be successful, it is a good idea to create a business plan even if you never show it to anyone but your cat Murray. 

Jennifer, thanks for guest blogging today. I think the words “business plan” can sometimes be a little overwhelming. I like the idea of calling it sometime else.

Now for a little background on Jennifer, also a lingerie designer and entrepreneur, who began her path in the fashion industry in 1994. She attended Florida State University, then the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, completing her degree in 1999. With a specialization in intimate apparel, she began working in the industry as a stylist and freelance designer.

In 2002, Jennifer opened her own business, Porcelynne Lingerie. FASHION UNRAVELED is built on Jennifer’s experience in both opening and sustaining a successful business. She brings the knowledge of running a small business and her expertise in the industry into her book and it continues into her classroom teaching.

Jennifer has won numerous awards for her designs and has received worldwide accolades for her work, including the Best of the East Bay and the Best of San Francisco Mastermind awards for her lingerie designs. Her most recent project has been on a reality TV show (currently being pitched to networks) as a co-producer and fashion consultant for a lingerie design competition show.

Future plans include authoring a collection of books on lingerie design, draping and clothing construction. She also aspires to open a showroom and education studio in the garment district of Los Angeles. For more information on Jennifer and her work, see and

So what are your thoughts on a business plan? Does just the mention of the words bring on stress?


  1. Jennifer, thanks again for stopping by today and sharing your take on a business plan with us. Wishing you much success with your book.

  2. Jennifer, some solid points of the need of a business plan. When I was an independent consultant a good business plan was vital. It's just a good net that gives you a), b),and c). I couldn't have survived without one.

    It's not just operating info but the money needed to survive, promotion to bring in business, knowledge of the market and it's strengths and weakness and how to navigate during those *famine* times, and the time needed to DO the business chores and services.

    You're correct. Most creative people do have short attention spans and that can fail you quicker than anything. I've always been a great *idea* person, but I've learned to implement those ideas succesfully.

    Good luck with your book, ma'am!

  3. Love the forms that Jennifer has in her book to lead the enterpreneur through the steps of forming a business. Definitely a book to keep!

  4. 'Creative' and 'business savvy' frequently don't go with each other. Good idea to make a business plan simple.

  5. Mason - Thanks for hosting Jennifer.

    Jennifer - These are terrific points about getting and using business savvy. It's not enough to have a wonderfully sparkling idea. You have to develop, learn and use business sense, too. Thanks for sharing how!

  6. I'm all for any type of plan, outline, structure, before a project begins to help ensure its success. They are a great way to really shine the million dollar idea :)

  7. What a wonderfully helpful "to do" book with a creative spin!

  8. Thanks for the good advice, Jennifer. Your book, while published at a niche, 'target market' will have a very broad appeal and large market since good biz practices are generic and apply to ANY entrepreneurial endeavor - as I see you know, understand, and are able to advise!

    Best wishes on your tour and many sales!

    Marvin D Wilson

  9. Thanks for this guest blogger, Mason.

    Jennifer, great post. It's nice to see some non-fiction, especially when it's practical stuff about a cool industry like fashion.


  10. Thanks for hosting, Mason!

    It sounds like an interesting and very useful book! Great post.

  11. Well, a business plan sounds daunting, yet I think it may be a good idea if I try to be more professional and business-like before I publish more collections of stories. So if we want to do more than just write for fun, writers also need plans and schedules in order to achieve success.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.