COMEBACK BLOG after 2 years of Do or Die, our story …
So let’s start at the very beginning....
Two years and so many months ago the idea of FitzMe was invented around a coffee table at our gym. Ideas and excitement filled our heads as we discussed our newly formed business idea of Plus Size Woman’s Active Wear. Being employees of the gym we had front row seats to an abundance of different styles and colours of active wear and knowledge of a lack of plus sizing.
THE BALI TRIP
Fast forward 2 months and we embarked on a 2 day trip to Bali. Bintangs and massages aside, our trip was very unsuccessful in regards to seeking out quality material and a sourced manufacturer, but was extremely successful with the realization that we wanted to oversee and have full control over our product in Perth.
THE HUNT BEGINS
Weeks and weeks we searched the web for the right quality material and a manufacturer. A manufacturer that deals with Lycra, spandex, the stretchy stuff in Perth was proving to be very stressful and NON existent!! So we thought…
Finally after weeks and we mean weeks and hours upon hours, we sourced our material and then, alas, we came across two Lycra manufacturers in Perth. We visited them both and choose appropriately whom we thought suited our brand, terrific, or so we thought.
THE WAITING GAME
So let’s be clear here, we have no idea on manufacturing at this stage, we drew our designs and we knew how we wanted our product made in regards to quality, extreme comfort and final finish but we had no idea on a time scale, but we kind of had an expected idea!!
The initial “Sample Products” happened fairly quickly and we were pretty much happy with the results however our manufacturer seemed to have “production” problems with our initial design vision so we followed their advice and altered our design to alleviate and simplify these issues arising in future manufacturing.
Fast forward on and without going into too much nitty gritty detail, we waited X amount of weeks for our first delivery of ordered product, which, brought our first concern of the poorly stitched in labels! Straight away we aired our concerns of this piss poor look, to get a reply of “we worked with what you gave us”!
This was the start of a very long process of getting our leggings in drips and drabs and months of waiting!
TIME IS MONEY
Active wear has its place in the fashion industry in terms of trends in colours and patterns. So our chosen fabric at the time of purchase was well on trend and was hardly seen anywhere else in active wear, so you can only imagine our anxious frustration when we were still “waiting” for our product and then other companies in active wear starting to produce in the same fabric pattern. This in mind, we set a date for our launch of FitzMe, no more time to spare we had to get our product on the market!!
We gave our manufacturer a date and time and all was agreed that we would have our talked about product on time. The week of the launch, once again disappointment prevailed and we were left scratching our heads but we went ahead and launched anyways and we had a small but successful turnout. So by now you get the gist that things aren’t going to smoothly for us and things are about to get a lot worse!!
THE RETURNS AND THE SLAP IN THE FACE
So now after the long wait in production and still not having full product order, came the first of our returns!!
The stitching had started to unravel.
“Ohhhh For Goodness Sake we haven’t even started yet and we already have returns”! What the Fairy Godmothers!!
So back to the manufacturer we go with this issue and the response was “I don’t quite know why this is happening” WTF
A couple more returns and still no explanation.
Now remember, we are a brand new business with a company name that we cannot afford, (as we have wasted time and money already) to have any bad vibes or bad word of mouth. It’s just not what we are about and not what we wanted to produce AT ALL. So when matters are out of your hands in the producing of your product and you trust a manufacturer on their job, it’s a bit sole destroying. But like I said before, it gets worse!
THE PHONE CALL
Now we are at the stage of waiting, again, for our manufacturer to try and rectify the problem of the “unstitching”
In the meantime we had our first Expo booked and was told confidently that our ordered product would be ready. But unfortunately, what are you shocked? It wasn’t ready to pick up at the time scheduled in the day to pick up. So a disappointed text from us led to a very unpleasant phone call from manufacturer with lots of F-ing and blinding, as apparently we were very unreasonable!
Swiftly after, the manufacturer rang back and tried to get themselves out of the very irate phone call, another day and time was arranged for later that week to pick up product!!
So yes, we had massive concerns, but where were we supposed to turn at this point!
The Expo went ahead but still with not the entire ordered product, so we worked with what we had.
A NEW HOPE
At this point we still did not have an answer to why the leggings were unstitching and was waiting to get back a pair that the Manufacturer said that they could rescue. But before we actually got this pair back we had an email from our manufacturer informing us that they were resigning as our manufacturer and thought it best for us to find another one!!
Well to be honest, we were like silent!!! What now!
The saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” at this stage could not be more true to words.
Straight away we got on the blower to a contact in Melbourne who was a fabric supplier seeking advice and possibly a manufacturer in Melbourne. Not ideal but “Help us Obe One, you are our only hope” and that he truly was. He gave us a contact of another possible manufacturer in Perth that also supplies the same fabric as he.
So let’s recap where we are at this stage in regards to our unstitching garments and unfinished garments. We have X amount of garments that are all potentially faulty that have been sold to X amount of people and we have X amount of garments that are potentially faulty waiting to be packaged up and we have X amount of garments that are potentially faulty and unfinished still with the ex-manufacturer.
The first meeting with our new manufacturer was one of despair. We really had no idea at this stage of our fate. Our new manufacturer gave us the grim details that all of our leggings had not been sewn with enough seam allowance hence the unravelling cotton and that within a very short amount of time once the leggings were worn and the material stretched the seam’s would split!!!! “Brilliant absolutely cosmic”, “so what now”? “Well you will have to unpick all the seams and cut off the waistbands and cut down the legs and then we can REMAKE all the leggings for you but will have to go down in sizes”!
So what this means is that a size 24 will become a size 20 and so on and so forth down to our starting size 14 becoming a size 10! We did not choose to go to a size 10 and 12 it was totally by default. Seriously, it still gets worse!
LET THE CUTTING BEGIN
So now accepting our fate, well no not really we still have not got over it, the daunting task of us having to start cutting what we waited so bloody long for had all three of us in an absolute pickle, to say the least, plus we still had material and unfinished leggings with the ex-manufacturer to collect, and god knows what state that will be in?
Put it this way, at this point we didn’t know our arse from our elbow, we just didn’t know where to start and once all of our belongings were reclaimed from our ex-manufacturer we literally sat in an absolute train wreck, nothing made sense it was a pile of hideous shapes of material.
Our new manufacturer once again came to our rescue and helped us sort what only can be described as a pile of shit into an organised pile of shit and upon commencement of the grim task of cutting the leggings we came across more shit! We had to unpick all the thread from the waistbands which would separate them from the legs and then unpick the elastic from the waistbands and then cut along the seam of the leggings to be left with material that we could make good and remake all our leggings AGAIN!
When we started this very hideous and grim procedure, which we might add took hours upon hours and with help from family and friends, we found that one pair of leggings had 3 to 4 different coloured thread and that the elastic in the waistband was perished! Yep, it was yellow it fell apart in our hands. Not only that each pair we unpicked and cut in a specific size were different sizes in themselves, not one pair of leggings in a specific size was the same diameter in the waistband or within their specific length!!!!
OK so this is now totally fucked!!! This is where we got so thankful in one breath but so utterly disgraced in another. Knowing that we put our trust and respect into a so called professionals hands to produce product for our new business that we were so excited and passionate about is shameful and despicable.
We now are paying double for our product to be made and it has taken triple the time it should have done.
Moving on, you have to move on. In the good wise words of Winston Churchill, “If you’re going through hell, keep going” and that we did we got through the shit, sat in a pile of shit and made good of shit, because we never lost sight of why we started this business in the first place.
We now have a wonderful, thoughtful and kind new manufacture that is now working with us to produce the best in function, comfort and durable active wear for woman of all shapes and sizes as we understand that one size has many shapes and we will continue to make functional, comfortable and durable active wear for every woman’s size and shape because in those wise ole words again of Winston Churchill…
“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see”
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”