I have pretty much covered all the basics for building the foundation in my little adventure in designing leggings for tall women. I happen to be at a stage where I am evaluating all the minor details that can make this great(!) scheme even greater. A minor stumbling block I seem to be hitting at this time (there is always something isn’t there?) is my ability to keep a steady focus in terms of business content across all my different media sources. And how does one truly separate the business from the personal in these highly public and often uncensored realms?
Especially when I happen to BE the brand…
Everything that I think and do is a direct reflection of what I hope to solve and achieve in this venture. I am the very definition of my ideal consumer – tall, long-legged and confident in her ability to use fashion as a means of communication. Add this to the fact that every awkward experience I have ever lived as a tall woman provides me with an example that I can draw upon when attempting to meet the needs of others just like me. This is my value proposition. Because I know that I am not alone in my long-legged clothing struggles. But how do I NOT let all my oddities and personal quirks slip out when my phone is literally attached to my hand and I have become conditioned to record every waking moment of my life for everyone to see in an attempt to gain more credibility (read – followers)?
Yet I like to think that these random insights into my own personal life offer a sense of authenticity to the brand that can be difficult to achieve otherwise. These experiences provide a human element to the mix that cannot be replicated or planned. But I can see how from any traditional business marketing perspective that this type of unplanned and random personal exposure could be seen as ultimately harming the brand; making it appear somehow not professional or too “homemade” or just plain silly and vapid.
So my question to you is – are these traditional marketing ideologies even relevant anymore?
For the first time in my life, I cannot wait for summer to come to an end. In my ideal fantasy life, I see myself frolicking in a bikini on a hot sandy beach, living in some lovely tropical place, covered in nothing but sun, sand, with my perfume of choice being a mix of salt water and Hawaiian Tropic bronzing oil. I see lots of flowy, loose fabrics with the wind blowing through my hair…
Snap back to my real life, boxed in by four seasons with plenty of weather ups and downs, dreams of my leggings provide me with a similar sense of escape and excitement but in a much more marketable environment. Because really, who wants to wear skin tight leggings in the middle of an Ottawa heat wave? And as much as I love them, I look rather foolish in 30+ degree weather wearing them around the city in an attempt to gather market research and promote them to potential customers. This would inevitably attract the WRONG type of curious glance as I strut (read sweat) down the street. “Is she nuts?!” “Does she not realize how hot it is outside?!” Definitely not the reaction that I am going for in this marketing campaign…
So, while I rarely ever look forward to summer coming to an end, in this particular case, it cannot come too soon. And this morning was the first time where I could feel the crisp fall weather creeping around the corner. The air is starting to smell different. The days are starting to get shorter once again. Thoughts of cozy sweaters and stiletto ankle booties are swirling about my styling mind as we speak. And I now have the appropriate context with which to promote my leggings to others without looking a little crazy in the process.
Patience is clearly a virtue. But I think I have been patient enough.
I think that if one really wants to make money in business, one must try to sell something that is completely meek, practical, unassuming and not sexy by any means. Anything other than the utterly mundane exposes the product to the inconsistent and ever-changing whims of the consumer. I shudder at that thought because I am acutely aware of my own whims. And I really don’t want to find my carefully crafted leggings at the bottom of the bin at Winners, tossed aside simply out of boredom and peer pressure.
“Keep things simple” I’m told. “Don’t over-think your product”! But if I don’t make clothes, what else will I create? All the really good products have already been developed! I was born decades too late!
What is mundane? Toilet paper comes to mind here. Toothbrushes are equally interesting. They somehow have massive R&D budgets allotted for “innovation, design and function” when we all know that its really just slick marketing at its best. It’s a brush with bristles. Yet, slap “new” on its package and I will fall for it each and every time. Gold-mine… And think of all the little hinges and springs attached to millions of products that seem so trivial yet are so critical to the overall functioning of said object – especially realized when they become lost in a DIY repair project – that are being manufactured and sold at an astounding rate.
Sadly, fashion does not fall into this category by any means. Has this been my first major mistake in business? Knowingly entering an industry that is fickle, over-crowded, over-emotional and vapid?
Ugh. Maybe I need to clarify the real reason why I went into business in the first place then – to make money (would be nice…) or to simply create something that brings me joy as I walk down the street?
New goal for this week: To stop one tall woman per day and let them know that I design interesting and fun leggings for them and to engage in some informal market research. Seems very realistic and prudent to me. In order for me to achieve this goal, it will be critical to scan the crowds in my daily travels and seek out my targets with the precision of a laser and grab hold until I can engage with them.
But in reality, we all know that it won’t be THAT hard for me to lose them…
I will say that I am always surprised to encounter other tall people in my travels. I am so used to standing out in a crowd that when I do come across someone who can look at me directly into my eyes, I become a little flustered. It’s almost like I have found a long lost brother/sister who understands EVERYTHING that I go through on a daily basis who I am meeting for the very first time. Should we hug? Neither of us will have to do the awkward stoop – what a refreshing change! Ok – snap back to reality…
But there is this inherent connection that exists between us as we silently pass and communicate to each other with only our eyes as if to say “what sup” or “I got your back”. The exclusivity of this group is fiercely protected. Thankfully being one of them, I can gain access rather easily.
And I am fairly certain that I will be surprised with the results.
Even though the weather is going to be stunning and I am going to be stuck indoors climbing on bolts of fabric in dirty, stuffy, hot warehouses, I can assure you that nothing is bringing me more pleasure than this thought right now.
And if I can find a fluorescent melon shade, I think I just might collapse with sheer joy.
What can I say – it takes very little to please me…