If you have an idea for a new product based on your personal experiences, you should definitely look into creating it.
Just look at today’s interview.
After having a difficult time finding a piece of clothing that would give her the ability to “manage” her cleavage in comfort at work, Julie Crotty quit her job, conducted extensive research and created the Cleavitz™, www.cleavitz.com.
Here’s what Julie had to say about her experience:
Why did you create the Cleavitz?
For years I was trying to find a half-top that I could put under some of my lower-cut blouses and tops so I wouldn’t be showing so much cleavage — especially at work. I also wanted the flexibility to show as much or as little cleavage as I wanted based on the situation. I couldn’t find anything.
I was wearing tank tops and camisoles but the bunching and riding up was so uncomfortable and distracting with all the pulling, tugging and re-adjusting. Even the tank tops would slide on me and I was constantly pulling it up.
With this, I had a tailor sew a few for me in my favorite colors. When my girlfriends took notice they said they had the same problem, and they asked me how to get a few for them as well. It is then that I thought, “Maybe this could be something much bigger?”
What makes Cleavitz so unique that gave you the courage to leave your full-time job?
I really spent a lot of time perfecting the design. No one had created a comfortable top that was specifically designed to help women manage their cleavage. There are many gimmicks out there, and I’ve tried them all.
The first part was the design itself. It took a while to figure out, but a big part of keeping the Cleavitz from sliding down was to make the back higher than the front. Sounds strange, but when you put the Cleavitz on the bottom evens out.
It’s that “asymmetrical design” that provides the fit that keeps the front of the Cleavitz from sliding. (I actually have a patent pending on the design.) And, then there’s the fabric. I tested dozens of different combinations of Lycra® and cotton to get the right stretch to complement the design and provide the perfect way to allow women to show as much or as little cleavage as they desire.
Once I nailed the final design and fabric and I started wearing them I knew I was on to something. It was then that I knew I had to leave my job and take a shot!
What was the most difficult part of starting your business?
Aside from entering into a completely new field with no past experience I would say sourcing the fabric and finding the best manufacturers were the most difficult parts. Going from the kitchen table to full-scale production was much more difficult that I had imagined.
You finally source the fabric, get the markers made and get samples from a manufacturer that look good and you’re ready for production. Then, your fabric source no longer has the quantities that you need… so you find new fabric, and then, you learn your manufacturer can’t meet your timetables.
It took a lot of determination to get my fabric lines established and find quality, cost effective, domestic manufacturers that could scale with my business.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who want to leave their full-time jobs and start their own businesses?
Do as much as research as you can on the business you want to start while you have a steady paycheck. There will always be the temptation to keep the paycheck coming in; to work on your idea weekends and nights and to do your day job so you have steady income.
And that worked for me to a point. Then it became counter-productive because my job always took priority over everything else. I had to take the risk so I planned out my finances, put a plan together and executed it.
I just couldn’t imagine thinking about my idea for the rest of my life and wondering what would have happened. I finally decided to take the fear of failure and use it as my energy to move forward and I haven’t looked back since.
How do you plan to market and promote Cleavitz and why?
You need to break the marketing plan up into two groups of buyers — boutiques and customers via the Internet. Getting boutiques to purchase is a sales channel that includes exhibiting at industry tradeshows and calling on the stores directly. Getting customers directly to our website will involve SEO marketing, and of course print, web and television advertising.
Why do you donate a percentage of all sales to breast cancer research?
I think it is important to give back if you have success. I had success at my last job and gave money to various charities over the years. In launching Cleavitz, I wanted to set something up right from the start where if I had success there was a systematic way that I would be contributing back in a positive way.
It just happened that as I was working on launching Cleavitz, I had a breast-cancer scare of my own. During that ordeal, I spoke to many people that had recently had breast surgery and were looking for something to cover their scars.
With all the low-cut options out there, they were struggling to be fashionable and trendy with a little coverage. Once I became part of that community, it felt like a natural fit, and funding breast-cancer research was a perfect way for Cleavitz to give back.
Thanks for your inspiration and advice Julie. We wish you all the best!
If you want to contact Julie, visit www.cleavitz.com for more information.
And if you have questions about promoting your idea and making your business a reality? Please write to me here or at www.rembrandtwrites.com. I’d love to hear from you.