We had a talk with Natalie Yagi, founder and CEO of Points of Measure, a free education platform for freelance designers, students, and aspiring designers to get real, practical knowledge for their fashion careers. Points of Measure fills the gap in the market for such a valuable resource to help designers navigate their careers.
1. Who are you and what is your business?
My name is Natalie Yagi. I am a Garment Technologist and Designer specialising in technical outerwear and couture. I am the founder and CEO of Points of Measure and Nascent. Points of Measure started as a place for me to display my freelance design portfolio, but has since transformed into a free education platform for Fashion Professionals. Nascent is my demi-couture brand which focuses on gowns and accessories. Each piece is made from 100% hand dyed silk. Designs are freehand painted by me to create wearable textile art. I pattern and construct each gown using couture techniques.
2. What made you decide to start ‘Points of Measure’?
Points of Measure started as a place for me to display my freelance design portfolio. As I continued to work with clients I realised they needed some basic education on the design process for me to be able to fully serve them. So, I started creating educational blog posts that would be supplemental to my custom services. Eventually, the focus for my mission shifted from custom services to education for Fashion Professionals. I began to see that there was a big hole in the market for freelance designers, students, and aspiring designers to get real, practical knowledge for their fashion careers. As a young designer coming up in the industry, you really don’t have many people helping you up the ladder. I wanted Points of Measure to change that, to be that support system for designers starting their career.
3. What is the vision for your company?
The big picture for Points of Measure is to become a leading platform for Fashion Education and resources. I ultimately want it to become a place where new and experienced designers come to reference information, continue their education, and find new resources.
4. What services or products do you offer?
Right now, I offer 2 services. A “Design Your Collection” package which is an all-inclusive package for the design and development of a full collection. I also offer one-on-one consultations to answer questions and give advice. However, I am slowly transitioning out of custom services and focusing more on providing my audience with value through my free education. To supplement my education, I’ve created several digital resources which act as support for those designers who want to DIY their way through the design process.
5. What is the best thing about your job?
This answer changes for me so often! The very fact that own my own businesses is the best thing in the world to me, it’s what I’ve always dreamed of. Currently, one of the best things about my job is the messages I get from my audience. As I’ve been transitioning out of custom services and into free education it has definitely been hard. As you can imagine, a large part of my income has gone down. However, when an audience member messages me that I’ve changed their life and given them the tools they need to follow their dreams… that makes all of it worth it. I feel so blessed to be touching so many lives. My goal was to help one person and I’ve helped so many more than that already. I’m just getting started.
6. Can you tell us a bit more about your experience in the fashion industry, in terms of your roles as a designer and garment technologist?
I actually started my career as a muralist! I eventually realised that I loved making art for myself more than for my clients, so I wanted to find a way that I could serve clients and still be fulfilled in what I was creating. I realised that fashion design was a great way to do that. I’d always loved making my own clothes and designs growing up. So, I got my BA degree in Apparel Design as well as a BA in Accounting (so I would understand the business and financial side). My first “real” experience was interning for a local couture label, Luly Yang Couture. I was eventually hired on as a Bridal Consultant there and learned so much about the bridal and evening wear industry. I was very fortunate to get a behind-the-scenes look into couture construction and design. Through my University I was connected with many fashion shows (Vogue, Neiman Marcus, and more) where I worked backstage and got to experience luxurious garment construction. The goal was always to start my own label, but with my impending graduation I knew I needed to land an industry job to get some more experience. I went on to work as an Assistant Technical Designer for one of the largest promotional goods companies in the US. After a while, I transitioned to an Illustrator role at that same company (which was sort of like a mix between Technical Designer and Designer) and was exposed to even more garment categories. I worked on product for big names like New Era, Ogio, and Nike. At one time I was managing 7 brands and over 20 garment categories. I definitely got the experience I was looking for! So, I struck out on my own. I had been freelancing on the side and now was taking it full time. I’ve worked with hundreds of clients in over 17 different countries. Now, I focus on relaying everything I’ve learned through my educational series and get to talk with fashion students all over the world. Plus, I have been working for over 5 years on the launch of my own brand which will be launching, finally, this year.
7. What skills are essential for these roles?
For the roles of a Garment Technologist (or Technical Designer) and Designer you must have an excellent understanding of garment construction, fabrication, pattern-making, grading, and design principles.
8. What piece of advice would you have given to your younger self?
I would have told myself to stop waiting to be ready and just go for it. I was so busy researching, calculating, and thinking about if I was making the right decision (to start my own company) that I wasn’t actually doing anything. I wish I would have at least started a social media presence or something a little bit earlier, because I would be much further along now. You’re never going to feel 100% ready, but if you want it you just have to do it.
9. What are you most inspired by?
I think one of the things I’m most inspired by as a designer is art history. It is truly fascinating. I am absolutely an artist at heart – fashion design is just how I serve the world with that passion.
10. How would you describe your style, in three words?
I always wonder what people think when they look at me. “How is this person a designer if her personal style looks like that?” Honestly, I used to love dressing up but lately I’ve been so focused on working that I just want to be comfortable. I’m still inspired by unique, funky pieces. I grew up thrifting and scouring vintage shops. In three words: comfortable, funky, neutral
11. What are your plans for the next 5 years?
Here’s where things are headed:
-Complete a base of Fashion Education for Points of Measure
-Expand into advanced education on Points of Measure
-Soft launch Nascent
-Continue creating collections for Nascent
-My goals right now are to show at NYFW, compete in WOW, win the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund, and get on Forbe’s 30 under 30
12. What do you think of Chanodil?
I think Chanodil is a very exciting new platform that could be a big help to freelance designers.
If you’re looking to contact Points of Measure, you can contact them via: