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by Sarah Eadie

Behind the Budget: Sara Bergman’s Simple Goals for Launching Your First Fashion Line

Woman from behind a window with art supplies

In this post we refer to Goals, Simple’s in-app budgeting tool. If you’re a Simple user, you can click on the Goals to set them in your account. If you’re not a Simple user, take a second to read more about Goals.


Sara Bergman has been steadily moving up in the Portland fashion world since moving to the Rose City 8 years ago. She began by making costumes for modern dancers and acrobats while assisting other local designers. It was here that she learned the basics of apparel design and manufacturing.

Sara knew she was on to something when she sent her Railroad Circle Blouse to a local boutique. The small batch of shirts quickly sold out. Sara could barely keep them stocked.

“It was the first time I had designed a really successful product,” she explains. “As a designer, I am always trying to strike a balance of making a product that is unique and beautiful, as well as durable and affordable to produce.” This experience gave her the confidence that it was possible to make a living doing what she loved. The Railroad Circle Blouse is still one of her best-sellers!

A popular railroad circle blouse

The popular railroad circle blouse. Photo credit: Mikola Accuardi

In 2010, she launched her own line and Etsy store from her basement. As orders began to grow, she transformed a building behind her home into a studio where she could have more room to work on her garments.

Here, in her own words, are Sara’s suggestions for Goals to set before launching your first fashion line.


High-quality sewing machine

“My sewing machine is my best friend. When you invest in the highest-quality machines, you save a lot of money and time in the long run in terms of repairs, quality of the stitches, and time spent adjusting the thread tensions (this is a major headache on a lower-quality machine). This is the one investment that you shouldn’t pinch pennies on.”

High quality sewing machine
$1700

Dress form

“When I first started designing years ago, I used to create patterns by trying the garments on myself, and trying to pin and mark them while wearing them. It wasn’t a very efficient or precise method. Buying a dress form was a real game changer in terms of patternmaking and draping, since I could pin right to it.”

Dress form
$300

Industrial iron

“The iron is on all day in my workshop when I’m in production mode. I kept burning out cheap irons before I made the switch to an industrial one, and I’ve never looked back. This baby kicks out some powerful steam!”

Industrial iron
$150


You can find Sara Bergman on Facebook and Instagram and at her website, ILoveSaraBergman.com.

Disclosure: Hey! Welcome to our disclaimer. Here’s what you need to know to safely consume this blog post: Any outbound links in this post will take you away from Simple.com, to external sites in the wilds of the internet; Neither Simple nor The Bancorp Bank, our partner bank, endorse any linked-to websites; We didn’t pay/barter with/bribe anyone to appear in this post. And as much as we wish we could control the cost of things, any prices in this article are just estimates. Actual prices are up to retailers, manufacturers, and other people who’ve been granted magical powers over digits and dollar signs. Sarah is not a Simple Customer.