NOTE: The wrong business model made it into the enterprise plan I submitted. They look the same, and in my panic, I posted the wrong one and completely forgot to check. The business model I am posting now was updated when it comes to channels, and no longer figures print as a way to gain visibility. It also does not have the same cost structure seeing as the only things that the platform will cost me and whoever invests in it are the domain and the website plan I chose.
Brief: We’re essentially tasked with making the necessary documents to launch a business and attract potential investors, that includes an enterprise plan and a pitch presentation. We have free rein on what those businesses could be. Most people paired up. I was initially with Diana, but we ended up wanting to do different things, which is fine as I’ll be able to work on the platform idea I have.
At the beginning of 2020, I presented the idea of an online bespoke adaptive brand. The idea is to propose similar services to a tailor but online. People would design clothing adapted to their specific needs. Customers will not have to leave their homes, have their measurements taken by someone unknown (think autism or other ‘afflictions’ that might lead to sensory overload or a general problem with strangers), and they will pay less than they would for a tailor. The idea is to simplify the tailoring process and do something half bespoke, half ‘fast fashion’ with the use of customisable templates. The customisation of these templates would include openings, such as back openings or side openings rather than ‘traditional’ front openings, as well as fastenings, zippers, pressure buttons or velcro.
After presenting it, I realised that the idea was fairly complicated to understand in one go. Mostly due to a lack of visuals and my difficulty to explain it in one sentence. Both of which are entirely my fault. An additional problem I had with it was that the market is widely unknown, and the fashion industry is an extremely difficult place to get into. I’m an art direction student, not a fashion student, much less a medical student. So I have to create a place for it, hence the idea of the adaptive retail platform.
I’m wary of having both online and on-campus lessons and of not following or investing myself as much as I should. I tend to get distracted. However, I’m excited to see how that goes, an opportunity to work on a business and develop it to maybe launch it at the end of the year.
I try to keep myself updated on what goes on in the fashion industry and that has led me to spend hours on big retailers like Farfetch and Net-A-Porter, comparing prices, materials, the marketing etc … I spent hours in 1st year looking for adaptive clothing brands. Most of them were American and either aimed at wheelchair users or elderly people. The clothing is mostly cotton, monochromatic or with outdated prints and doesn’t convey anything more than usefulness. Eventually, I found some brands in the UK, such as Able2Wear and Izzy Camilleri Adaptive. There’s some in France and I’m sure in other countries where the language barrier makes it harder for me to find anything.
I spent hours because it was for research on a project that lasted three months but I don’t expect disabled people to spend as much time as I did, nor should they have to. A blog referencing these brands would be helpful.
- Farfetch sells its good for a 25% commission. It adds an extra 8% if they’re the ones taking care of the delivery (I’m not entirely sure what they meant by that because it seemed to me that they took care of everything so that clients would have their packaging and their name) I was maybe wrong, I know that Net-A-Porter takes care of everything regardless of the brand.
- Partners were quite hard to understand, I mean I don’t have any partners? What makes me so sure they’ll accept anyway? And I’ve just realised when writing this that this is exactly what a business plan is about: estimations and predictions. I keep gaining new perspectives on who partners could be. Adaptive clothing brands is a pretty obvious one. There’s also the health sector, as well as organisations, such as Runway of Dreams Foundation and Cur8ABLE.
- Target audience has always been a tricky one. For Adaptive Bespoke, I wanted to include everyone, not understanding that targeting a specific customer would make things easier and more effective. I only recently narrowed it down. However, most brands have their specialisation and there are not enough brands out there to do a platform just for one type of customer. It might be possible for wheelchair users and elderly people but that’s about it. I talk more about this in the brand identity part below.
- SWOT: For some reason I enjoy doing SWOT analysis. I never know how to start but eventually it makes sense and is a great way to remind yourself what’s happening around your business and how it positions itself within the industry and the current economic and cultural climate.
- First review of our business plan: I’m writing this a fair bit of time after this lesson because my initial reaction was overly emotional and dramatic. Tinashe and Niall have the same idea I have, which was unexpected. I’ve gotten attached to that project and I didn’t expect to be confronted other people having the same ideas I do so soon. It’s not really about having the same idea, I’m not kidding myself into thinking that I was ‘alone’ to begin with. I guess the possibility of that huge unexploited market being taken by someone skilled and driven like they are, scares me. My disastrous reaction got me thinking and ironically, we had a guest lecturer (recorded interview, I need to find her name again), not long after, whose Pokemon Go idea was stolen. That was quite a learning curve. I have no idea how I expect to get anywhere in this industry if I throw a tantrum every time someone has a similar idea.
The positive point is that it got me to work harder, for a while. I wasn’t going to kid myself into thinking I could maintain this much drive and energy for an extended time period and I was right. I got all the research and paperwork done and then procrastinated instead of starting anything concrete.
Probably one of my favourite parts of any project for a client. When it’s your own business, it’s much more complicated. HOW are you supposed to chose one colour palette, typography and design style and STICK TO IT?
On the one hand, I have Net-A-Porter and Co. with a minimalist and luxurious vibe to their website. On the other hand, there are adaptive clothing brands that seem to have a proclivity for colour and friendlier looking designs. Following that logic, putting the two together would make the platform look luxurious but friendly, right? I need to test that but mixing the two does offer more advantages than just being easy to come up with in the first place. I mentioned earlier that I want to make it accessible to as many people as possible. The idea is to make something rather neutral with a youthful edge, most likely through the use of typography and colour. I do love a vibrant blue.
There won’t be any logo. I found a name and a typography that work, and people know from theget-go what it is. I’ve also chosen the name because it’s easy to know what it is. It’s transparent and easier to remember. Adaptive Fashion is already obscure enough without adding to it.
Website building is fairly easy, especially when you start. That is until you get cocky. I still haven’t figured out how to solve my ‘store’ problem. It’s currently only available in the children section, but I’d like to one day sell to adults. So that’s quite problematic. I also haven’t fully understood how to scale it to fit different types of screens but we’ll get there. I’m still trying to grasp how everything works and what the options are. For now, it’s a prototype that is nowhere near finished and is only functional enough to convey the general idea. Another problem that got me thinking was categories. Ideally, I’d like to include womenswear, menswear and childrenswear. Do you do three categories inside the shop tab? Do you dedicate three different tabs? What about filters?
I decided to make three distinct shops as it’s easier and informs the customer of where they need to go within a few seconds. I’d also like to include an alphabet of brands. Click on a name, and it takes you to all of the clothing from this brand. I didn’t figure that one out yet either.
We had a pitch presentation lesson and we had to identify why we were doing this business. We compared Steve Ballmer and Steve Jobs. That was interesting and I’m going to have to disappoint but there is no way I’m ever doing a presentation the way Steve Ballmer does his. I came up with the text bellow in less than five minutes. It’s a mess of half-formed, semi-coherent thoughts but I somehow managed to make a pitch introduction that was quite engaging.
I may or may not have prepared for the formative assessments. As an anxiety-riddled individual, it baffles me how I’m unable to pitch anything unless it is completely unprepared and randomly generated. I can already picture the one time too many where that “tactic” will fail.
This formative assessment was quite useful. Mostly because I was called out on my bullshit and asked the question I’ve frankly been asking myself but somehow always have excuses for: ‘why don’t I start?’.
I’ve also come to realise that 25% commission was perhaps asking for too much. I dropped it to 15% with 5% going to charity. I modified the cost structure as I won’t be paying for anything until later on. The only costs necessary to making the Ateliers are the cost for a domain and a website plan, and my part-time salary for a year.
SOCIAL MEDIA PLAN
I struggled. I don’t seem to fully grasp how to market things to specific people and accross the relevant channels.
However, I did come up with a portrait campaign on Instagram. The target audience is quite wide, which is how it’s supposed to be. The idea is to put disabled ‘celebrities’ and ‘normal’ people at the forefront of the brand. Through their portraits and their interviews, I aim to inform the general public that Adaptive Ateliers is for them. I don’t focus on building a community on the website, so Instagram is the place to do so and build engagement. This campaign aims to make people feel represented and included.
Because I intend to work with hospitals, care homes and other institutions like the Red Cross, I need a catalogue they can use. It will be a bi-annual online caltagoue. I have started making prototypes, emphasis on started.
I probably did this part more times than the rest combined. At first, finance did not go well. I also missed the lesson that day. I attended online but it just isn’t as effective and it makes everything much harder to understand. It got easier when I remembered that I’m not making money off of the entire item but just 15%. I somehow forgot about that and remembered just in time to substract and additional 5% for charity. It actually wasn’t that hard, but I suspect it’s only because I glossed over taxes and purposefully left them out.
I’m falling a bit behind. Getting used to online lessons and campus lessons along with so many other things is more difficult than I expected it to be. I managed to get moodboards and a general idea of the design done.
I didn’t submit anything. It was a first and something I never inted to do again. I ended up doing the enterprise plan but not getting it to a degree where I felt comfortable submitting it. I rushed through the presentation to get it done, but it was terrible. I was convinced that, the deadline being over, I wouldn’t be afforded an extension. Turns out you can get one if you bother asking. I got the document finished, albeit it is a bit rushed, especially towards the ends. There are a few mistakes and inconsistencies. As for the video, Natálie forced me to get it done the night of the assignment and helped me through it. I didn’t leave it to the last minute, which made me so much less stressed.
I was excited to work on my own. You have free rein, and the only person you have to put up with is yourself, which was precisely the problem in my case. I usually have a pretty good work ethic but online classes threw me off completely. It was a strange mix of mental health plummeting due to lockdown restrictions and going from 0 to 100% after months of inactivity. Russell did warn us in March.