6. Theresa Olson
Entry Category: Emerging Designer
Designer Name: Theresa Olson
Branding Statement/ Bio Info:
Bigringsmallcog is a line designed to fit into a well defined niche market whose needs exist and are currently not being met. The line will gain traction and recognition by establishing a place in this niche market then move into more mainstream distribution. This line is distinct and branded and what a contest like Seamless in Seattle is meant for.
Seattle has a large and visible cycling community. That community ranges from competitive racers to commuters/weekend riders to folks who hop on the Burke Gilman trail whenever they get a chance. These people have disposable income they spend on their bicycles and technical clothing. They like people to see that they are part of the cycling community but they do not necessarily want to walk into a bar wearing tight spandex shorts with a chamois crotch pad or a loud yellow team jacket with reflective piping. They want to show their membership in the cycling community but look good. This line allows the me to do that.
At the same time, the classic beauty and style of the line makes it very appropriate to the current trend in apparel of vintage clothing. The look is clearly “retro” but has the modern twist of conformable fit and wearability.
Customers do not have to prowl around Goodwill or expensive retro shops to find what they are looking for. They can buy items from this s line.
The warmers have a great potential to catch fire in non-cycling communities and carry the line into those markets as well. “Bigringsmallcog” is unique and catchy. The leg, warm and neckwarmers cal all be worn with many times in the client’s closet and can be functional (keeping legs warm), fun and sexy.
There is currently nothing in the market that fits this need. It either leans to the fashion side and is expensive, fitted and limited in application or leans to the performance side and is simply not amenable to casual wear.
The phrase “big ring small cog” is one frequently used by cyclists to signify a difficult gear ratio that if used successfully, leads to the best results and allows the rider to go farther and faster. It is much more work for the rider but if done successfully the rider has a greater chance of surging to the front and winning.
This signature phrase is consistent with the inspiration for my line and my philosophy about this venture.
Classic cycling wear. In this era bicycle racers wore simple, classic and well made garments that served their purpose and identified them in the field of racers. The garments were built to last and conveyed the beauty of the sport while serving riders well.
There was nothing technical or performance oriented about the pieces. They relied on good construction, durability and recognition.
Dress - This would retail in the $150 - 200 range. I have designed it so it is amenable to production with very few steps at the factory. It has over lock construction and no findings. My major expense it the fabric.
Skirt – This would retail in the $100 range. The elastic waist and zipper are easy to get through any factory. Again, I designed this with factory production in mind. This could be easily sewn at any cut and sew
Top – This would retail in the $125 - $150 range. There are three fabrics (2 woven wools and one wool knit for the collar), 2 findings (zipper and button) and embroidery. Again, the construction is very simple in a factory but the fabric and embroidery add to my cost.
Jacket – This is the signature piece and would retail in the $175 - $200 range. This jacket (like all tops) has shirt sleeve construction and very simple sewing in a factory. But because it has more materials (2 woven wools for body, knit wool for ribbing), zipper and embroidery it is more expensive. Also, since it is the signature piece it will not be as available as the lower price items.
Warmers – These pieces will be where I will make the most margin and hopefully buffer the risk in going to market. I would retail each in the $30 - $35 range but I can produce them. I want to make these affordable to get them into the stream of commerce and publicize the line. I will probably give some away to local cycling clubs/teams.
I will sell on line as well as on consignment in several niche shops. I have already spoken to Hub and Bespoke. I have connections at Blackbird and several other small stores. I will approach other stores that carry local designers. I know my progression in this contest will increase my marketability so I am waiting to see if I progress before I finalize my marketing materials. I will also approach local teams/clubs (see above) to gain visibility and recognition. I have already purchased the domain, have a face book page and explored trademark. (I am waiting so see how I do in the contest before I proceed with that process as well.)