I'm being asked frequently what is happening with my hospital gown design since I revealed it a few weeks ago. Well, not a great deal at the moment. Unlike my previous business model where I designed, created and sold everything myself, the hospital gown falls in a different category.
For a start, I'm in the process of arranging a photoshoot. Where once I would have sorted a couple of models and a location then proceeded with the photographer to direct the images, the gown requires more thought. I'm trying to arrange a medical setting, possibly a hospital where we could have a clinical backdrop, but this is not as easy as you may think. In the meantime my photography consists of the gown on a mannequin against a white backdrop, not ideal.
I made inroads by seeking the advice of business professionals through the local Growth Hub who have been extremely helpful and supportive. So much so, that I came away almost bewildered by the possibilities. When I was making pop fashion I knew my customers and how to market the product, I had (still have) a real passion for that genre. Whilst I have total belief in my hospital gown design, I'm still struggling with how to market it and most importantly where to sell. In my mind I was heading along the same route as before, making, photographing, selling. However, according to the experts, this has a far bigger market, therefore I need to plan.
Missfit Creations was synonymous with me, I lived and breathed the business, it was reflected in my lifestyle, I wrote the rules and wore the tee shirt. At the few corporate events I attended over the past 15 years, I would have stood out. Hair in multicoloured dreadlocks and clothes appropriate to my trade, pop fashion, fun and funky and definitely not serious. Despite not feeling comfortable about these business meetings, I would fit in far easier dressed up, it was almost like wearing a disguise and after all, I was advertising my own enterprise. Now however the mask has slipped, if I want to sell hospital gowns to private health care professionals I have to look the part - I don't mean turn up in a hospital gown!
What to wear to a meeting is obviously not my foremost concern. Despite having a viable business plan, actioning it is what I'm falling down on. I've always designed and made everything myself, arranging for a manufacturer to do that job is new territory. My customer base consisted of boy and girl bands, drag queens, dancers and individuals who wanted to show off. I can't send a hospital gown down a catwalk to the sound of the Black Eyed Peas, Pump It, can I??
It took me over five years to realise I was on to a good thing and finally protect my design. It's now taken nearly six months for me to start talking about it and featuring the gown on my website. That next step is all important and I don't want to get it wrong.