So what the hell am I doing? “Oh I know, I’m going to create my own ‘plus size’ active wear range!”. (Have I told you how much I hate the term “plus size”? That might be for another post.) In the initial burst of energy this seemed like a fantastic idea — and I still think it is — but there is just one little hurdle: I know nothing about clothing manufacturing. So where do I begin?
I’m not one to be dissuaded by the (relatively tiny) issue of a lack of experience, so in my typical way I decided just to charge in. (I’ve never really believed in “RTFM”.) My dad once told you me you eat an elephant one bite at a time, so if you’re with me on this you should probably get comfy — this is going to be quite the journey.
I’d started by discussing the difficulties of finding decent activewear with some close friends, and the more I talked the more I wanted to create something. I came up with the name, second-guessed it, and finally decided it just didn’t matter — either there is a need in the market or there isn’t. I did some research into the activewear industry, Googled for all the “plus size” (that phrase again!) gear I could find, and started putting together my business plan (a Word document at first, but I’ve sinced switched to LivePlan).
Still, it’s hard to find good examples of Australian market analysis, especially for free, so I thought I would just get something out there and gather feedback that way. After getting a logo created (on Fiverr — several tries before I found one I like) and registering the business name, I created a print-on-demand campaign on Teespring. Good support from my lovely friends (thanks guys, you know who you are!), but then I was a little stuck on “next steps”. I ordered some fabric samples and read up on the process.
Then, luckily, I found out that a friend (my yoga teacher and dietician) had also been thinking about activewear, particularly for kids. We talked about our ideas, and she passed on some contacts she had, including a pattern-maker! Great! The perfect excuse to go shopping: get samples of clothes that we could use to design our own “stable”.
(I’ll probably run some more Teespring campaigns while I figure out the products, but I recognise that it’s not particularly good (Australian dollar) value to buy and ship t-shirts from the US, so it’s more a question of … can I reach a market outside my direct social circle? Do these slogans work?)
And that’s where’s we’re up to! I have picked which items I want to produce, and will be getting the pattern-maker to design them up for me. Once that’s done, I’ll have to pick some fabrics and find someone who can sew…
The website is up now, thanks to my partner Glenn, and I’ve created various social accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), so if you’re not already following us — and you want to hear more of this story — then please do!