Have you ever had an idea for a product? Have you ever wanted to start your own business? If you answered yes to either of these questions, keep reading to see how I took a pain point and turned it into MerriMane.
My pain point was in outerwear for my children. I wanted one jacket for my girls that would look appropriate for both casual and formal activities, was ultra comfortable, and machine washable.
I was tired of wasting money on beautiful wool coats my children would begrudgingly wear once or twice. I was also tired of how my children would top an adorable outfit with a sporty fleece jacket that was often pilled and looked worn after just a few washes. As a mother I started thinking, what if there was just one jacket on the hook that could make everyone happy? We would get out the door looking and feeling good without any arguments. I had a long way to go but the initial concept was forming.
STEP 1: WRITE DOWN YOUR IDEA
Sounds simple right? The act of putting it in writing was a big step for me. Putting it on paper suddenly made it more real. You can use a journal or your computer or a piece of scrap paper - just get it down and then start to expand upon it. I was initially using my phone and would just add to my note any time an idea came to mind - at school drop off, at the grocery store, in the middle of the night. After a few weeks I had a real handle on what I wanted.
Here is my scrapbook that was created a few months later. It includes all of the original notes from my phone and my "must haves" which I get to later.
STEP 2: RESEARCH YOUR PRODUCT
I found it challenging to obtain market research on the children's clothing industry for free. I certainly couldn't afford to buy research so I had to do my own.
I observed families walking into church, at concerts and sporting events. What were children dressed in? Were they fussing? Did they seem uncomfortable? Did the child's style of dress align with the parents? Were they dressed appropriately for the event?
I also went shopping - I visited large department stores, small boutiques and online retailers to ensure I fully understood what was available in the marketplace.
I asked every person I could find about the jackets they chose for their children and why. I have heard from people that they are afraid to put an idea in the universe but you can't be scared. I told each person I was speaking with that I was designing a new style of children's outerwear. I didn't know if it would all come together just yet but I was giving it a go and friends and strangers alike were overwhelmingly supportive.
STEP 3: REFINE YOUR IDEA
I took my initial notes and my subsequent research and started to craft what I wanted. At this stage my ideal jacket would need to meet all of these requirements:
- Style must work at the playground in sweatpants or for a more formal event in something dressy
- Ultra comfortable – nothing restrictive, must feel like a sweatshirt
- Durable and machine washable fabric - I want it to look like new after washing. NO PILLING!
- Tailoring and design details more similar to adult clothing
As of Step 3 I know in general terms what I want my jackets to have but I don't really know what they look like. It is also important to note that I had absolutely no idea how I would make the product at this point either. Remember, I have no experience or contacts. It is so easy to second guess yourself or stop when you worry the mountain is too tall to climb but don't let this happen. Take it one step at a time. I just kept brainstorming and in the next email I tackled sketching and how I had my first prototype made!
So now you are ready to learn my contacts - I am sharing every single person I worked with here so sign up to receive the complete guide!!