Some of you might know that I used to make wedding dresses and special occasion wear. Now, don’t get me wrong I don’t miss that at all, I love designing and making dog clothes. But like many of us ladies I struggle to find a coat to walk my dogs in that I really LOVE. You can find one that is waterproof, but too masculine. The snazzy fabric ones are often not even shower proof. Pockets are not deep enough, non existent or in the wrong place for my arms!
I used to make a selection of ladies coats when we first started. Two of the 4 styles sold well, but they were taking too much of my time away from concentrating on the dog clothes, the thing I wanted to do. So, I put them to one side. I still wear those coats and have been mulling over designing something new for a while.
I finally got together with Andrea, my trusty friend and pattern cutter extraordinaire last October when we put a few designs together and got them to the toile stage – calico mock ups. The silly season set in and I had no time to make samples, but in the following months a few things niggled me about the designs. They were not quite right. Andrea and I got together again in June and with a fresh look at them, we tweaked and came up with 2 designs I am happy with. There is a third, but that still needs some work.
Samples were made and photographs were taken, in the rain I might add!! Very authentic! I asked some important questions about sizing on Facebook, got lots of great feedback and now grading to the 3 sizes can be done.
The next hurdle is HOW do we offer them to you. In an ideal world I would make stock in all sizes and colours, but that is 2 styles x 3 sizes x 2 colours for each style – so – if we only make 1 of each style and colour that would be 12 coats. And what happens if there is one strong favourite, one size and colour – then we are left with the others, all made and looking gorgeous but with no new homes to go to. All that money invested in fabric and making – wasted.
We don’t have a factory with lots of cutters and sewers. We are still a small operation, one cutter and 4 sewers so we cannot offer this product for immediate delivery. Each coat takes longer to make than any of our dog coats and the ladies will need time to get to grips with the method of making.
When you run a small business you have two options. You either have a pot of cash to get started, invest heavily in product production before you offer for sale, and hope that you will sell and get the money in to expand and repay that original pot and continue to produce more.
OR, start small, reinvest and grow as you go. This route is often slower, but it is steady and safer. We have always gauged demand as we go, when something is selling well, we make stock. Our Fleece Jumpers are a great example of this. In the beginning they were all made when the order came in, but now we have over 200 in stock at any one time, and re stock as they sell.
The Ladies Coats are going to be the same – we will make them as the orders come in. I have no idea if they will sell, or in what quantities, but I do know that I wanted to do it. I am proud of both of the new coats. I’m excited to offer them and loving wearing them. I’m thinking they will probably be on 14-21 days delivery and need to hope that you feel they are worth the wait.
So, you might want to know a little more about them. Well, there are two styles. A short, unlined, roomy short style, The Chiltern. This is made from our great washable wax cotton – the same fabric we use on our Dorset, Yorkshire and Norwich coats. It has a teflon coating and the drips of rain just roll off. This will be offered in Yellow and Teal. It is a great everyday coat, can be worn on it’s own in warmer weather and with a jumper under for colder days. I love this style, it is perfect for my body shape and my life.
The Malvern is longer, lined and generally smarter. It has deep pockets – as the Chiltern does – and even has a pocket inside for your phone. This style has a lovely fitted top and sleeve and is a flattering A line at the bottom, it is longer and will cover the derriere – a request I had from many of you when I asked what your ideal coat would be. This will be offered in Rust with Tartan collar and cuffs, or in classic solid Grey. The fabric is washable waxed cotton, it will keep you dry in a shower, but not a deluge.
Both are washable – a must for any item of clothing that might get worn and worn.