This is a guest post by the Founder of Fifty One Apparel, Louise Nicholson. Fifty One Apparel is a clothing line helping to eliminate hot flushes and night sweats by providing a comfortable, stylish and helpful clothing range.
Over to Louise…
Working full time with teenage children and a dog to manage, the challenge of launching a clothing range would probably not be on top of everyone’s list of things to do, but when you come across an opportunity it is wrong to overlook it. “Never miss an opportunity” a mantra I give to my children along with “lead by example”. Say no more.
A trip to Iceland a few years ago was the first flicker of an idea when a friend was busy stripping off her coat and jumper in sub-zero temperatures while we were piling them on brought to light the mystery of the hot flush. A few weeks later and a radio programme on the menopause discussing the plights of women and the lack of products on the market certainly focussed the mind.
With a background in textiles I set about working with technologies I had used for other end uses where the properties of the fabrics I believed were transferable to helping women in the menopause. Designs, patterns, samples and focus groups over the next 12 months finally lead to the conclusion that we do have a great product and concept and there was no going back.
There are so many parts to building a brand and in doing so your own personality, passion and values are part of every decision. Fifty One Apparel is committed to producing a quality product using high quality technologies that are fit for purpose, using beautiful fabrics, well made goods at realistic prices.
The technology we use is Outlast which regulates the body’s temperature by taking heat away from the body, storing this heat and when the body begins to cool releases the heat back and in doing so avoids the cool chill that often follows a hot flush. An intelligent fabric indeed and one which has been used by NASA to help astronauts in space maintain a regulated body temperature amongst many other end uses.
We may be criticised for only having 2 small capsule collections but as a self-financed business every penny counts. It was important to make sure all the styles and colours had wide appeal. With limited ways it is important to make every style work and we know we have achieved. With more and more focus on sustainability we have stressed the flexibility of our clothes, wear them for bed, watching TV, walking the dog or under a jacket for work. Our clothes work 24/7.
Sustainability within a small operation can be more difficult than working within a large international conglomerate. We make sure our fabrics are coming from factories that share our ethos, that all our packaging is reusable and that our office recycles literally everything!!
With 2 ranges under our belt and styles already out of stock we are busy replenishing successful lines and working on Autumn production while Spring 2020 shapes are being finalised. There has been a fantastic response to the Autumn colours and as the season is quite short there will be a very limited stock available, so we suspect these will fly out fast and the pressure is on to get Spring production moving. Exciting times.
The success we have had in a relatively short space of time can be measured in so many ways. Our customers are buying again and again. Few buy one item at a time indicating our products work and the prices are not out of reach to the masses. The menopause does not discriminate and so we want to be accessible not just to those with a big purse.
We have made it here without financial backing, without a PR machine behind us but by hard work and determination. We had the good fortune to have Michelle Heaton supporting us despite her busy schedule and her involvement has helped address the fact that our clothes are appropriate for peri menopause women too. We are so grateful to her for this.
The biggest shout out has to be to friends and family who have been supportive from beginning to end. Not once was there any doubt in what we hoped to achieve and I cannot thank them all enough.
The Fifty One Apparel range is available at https://fiftyoneapparel.com/