Even a great small business idea faces hurdles in the traditional marketplace

Clothes that fit real women. You’d think that would be a no-brainer for a successful start up. Women everywhere complain that ready-to-wear clothes are made for tall thin women, but changing the way department stores buy and display clothes is a challenge for the companies that designed a new system for creating clothes that fit women. The problem is that the stores don’t want to stock all the sizes. It’s not cost effective for them.

An article in the New York Times a few weeks back highlighted the problems of Fitlogic and a few other companies with the same idea. They’ve come up with clothes in different sizes by how a woman is built. There sizes are created by body type as well in addition to body size. For pants, they are made for proportionately bigger hips, bigger waist or bigger thighs. You can measure yourself by the guidelines here.

Where can you buy their clothes? In there lies the problem. Department stores who gave it a try didn’t find they sold so well. Of course, no one knows about them. Not even the sales people; so, a huge marketing budget might help. But it seems to me the answer for these companies may be on the internet. QVC seems to be embracing the concept. They don’t have stores, so the display portion of the equation is eliminated. And once they know their Fitlogic size, shoppers shouldn’t have to worry about trying on individual items.

I’ll be interested to see if this is an idea whose time has really arrived.

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