Surfing around

I’m trying to do a little more this week with my podcast, and have been reading up on news related to sewing. I am going to have a show on the world of the WAHM (Work at Home Mama) very soon, maybe next week. To that end, I discovered this article. I wanted to share it with you before I ran carpool and it flew out of my mind. New podcast hopefully up tomorrow


From Entrepreneur Magazine
A Plus-Sized Opportunity

The plus-sized market is ripe for business opportunity if you offer high-quality products.

By Karen E. Spaeder
November 17, 2006

The numbers don’t lie. The average American woman is a size 12 to 16, and 30 percent of all U.S. adults are obese. Meanwhile, London-based researcher Mintel International Group Ltd. reports the plus-size clothing market reached nearly $32 billion in 2005. It’s no wonder plus sizes are making waves.

In fact, within the plus-size market, niches are cropping up for the underserved–including plus-size clothing for petites and pregnant women. “Each of [these groups] has a real need for stylish clothes in their size,” says Candace Corlett, principal at New York City retail consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail. “While department and chain specialty stores offer good selections of plus sizes, the selection in the niches of petite and maternity are slim pickings.” The reason? There’s just not enough traffic to justify devoting more than a few racks.

Natalie Weathers, assistant professor in the fashion industry management department at Philadelphia University, adds that over-40 women, including plus sizes, are craving more variety. This market segment “wants to wear age-appropriate clothing but have a hipper look,” she says. Some entrepreneurs are responding with websites or boutique stores, offering outstanding service that makes customers want to go out of their way to visit.

You’re not limited to these niches. The NPD Group also reports that one-third of overweight children wear adult or junior size clothing for lack of properly fitting children’s clothes. Nor are you limited to clothing: extra-large products like baby seats, doorways, caskets, furniture and bath towels are also in demand.

Getting Started
How can you find the perfect fit with a plus-size business of your own? Keep in mind:

  • Be innovative. “Remember that “plus” is not actually a niche market in the United States,” says Natalie Weathers, assistant professor in the fashion industry management department at Philadelphia University. “Avoid predictable, mundane design in terms of fabric and print, in the same way you’d avoid the predictable and mundane with a jet-set target-market group.” That goes for any plus-size product. A predictable, mundane furniture piece isn’t going to sell any better to a plus-size consumer than it would to the average slim Jim.
  • Do your homework. What is your target market? You can’t just choose plus-size consumers as an overall market; narrow it down to a specific segment. For instance, do you want to sell to teenagers? Businesswomen? Brides to be? “Do not underestimate thorough and holistic market research,” says Weathers. “Get the demographic and psychographic angle on your targeted customer.”
  • Partner up. With more and more companies catering to plus-size consumers, the co-marketing opportunities abound. For instance, if you sell plus-size towels, why not partner up with a company that makes long-handled sponges? If you sell plus-size armchairs, why not partner up with someone who makes plus-size footstools?
  • Think globally. You’re likely on a limited budget, and that means you may need to look overseas for manufacturers, since going domestic can be cost-prohibitive. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. But there’s plenty of assistance available. See our article “Finding International Manufacturers” for help in planning out this phase of startup.
  • Compete on quality, not quantity. Go for a high-quality product at a premium price, rather than trying to produce mass amounts of a product that’s priced lower but may end up looking cheap. “You should be marketing it as something you can’t find in a department store or mall,” says Weathers. “Use the higher-quality materials–that way, you can justify the scarcity in terms of volume.”

Material Mama Podcast #6

Click to listen:

With a surprise at the end for your children!

Vogue Pattern 7894

funky monkey flannel
Sunrise Design
Dharma Trading
Juggling Jello
Nutmeg’s method for gathering
Nutmeg’s method for tracing Ottobre and other European/foreign patterns
Doll pattern instructions for practicing tracing
Here’s the doll pattern

Ottobre’s Website click the button on the left that says “in English”
Free Ottobre patterns to try.

These are in .pdf format:
Tank Top

Material Mama Podcast #5

This is a short one, Mamas. I decided to go ahead and read aloud my Material Mama Manifesto, and while I was at it, give out homework! Can you tell I used to be a teacher?

I’d love you to post your homework here, or you can record it and send it to me at megan at cookiepants dot com and I’ll try to get it on one of my shows. I love to have listener interaction!

Some links to stuff I chatted about on Podcast #5

Material Mama Sewing Manifesto

Sewzanne’s TFD (to die for) brown and rust stretch cord.

If you hurry, you might score some kitty twill or Farmer’s Market (The Farmer’s Market is very spendy at 18.95 a yard but it’s yummy!)

The song I played at the start and end of the program is Illuminated Soul by Joshua Kadison

Material Mama Podcast #3

New! Click here to listen:

I have gotten so many questions from people who want to listen in, but can’t figure out if they can. The short answer is YES! You do NOT need an iPod to listen to this webcast. I have copied a very short explanation from here:

“What do you mean I don’t need an iPod to listen to a Podcast?”

First and foremost a show is an MP3 file (which I provide to you below, or you can click the green box, above) and all you need to play it is an MP3 player. There are multiple 100’s of Millions of MP3 players out there – They are called computers. With the help of FREE software such as iTunes or Quicktime or Windows Media Player – You are already able to listen to a Podcast. You only need an iPod or other Mobile MP3 Player if you want to listen to a podcast while you are working out, driving to work or taking the dog for a walk….

Material Mama Podcast #3

Okay, on to show notes 🙂
My new machine! Kids not included

Kenmore Ergo3

Interesting factoid about the Ergo3 Redsign

“And the costs don’t stop there. Once Metaphase has redesigned a product, companies then have to revamp their existing manufacturing equipment. For instance, one client recently worked with Metaphase to design a sewing machine for Sears, Roebuck’s Kenmore line, and spent close to $1 million to adapt its manufacturing to accommodate the new machine. The Sears Kenmore Elite ergo 3 came out a year ago, priced at $1,999, about $500 more than the previous top-of-the-line model, partly because of the manufacturing costs.”

My Machines (sigh) on eBay

Sewzanne’s interview with Heather Ross

Material Mama’s Sewing Manifesto

FAO Schwartz

Don’t Download This Song

Joshua Kadison

KS Undies

Creative Memories Sidekick