The concept for TomboyX -- tomboys making clothes for tomboys -- hatched in Spring of 2011. Naomi and I shared an ambitious vision: creating a new line of clothes and apparel for women who don’t want frills but can’t find what they want in the men’s department – women who simply want stylish, comfortable clothing that expresses who they are. After all, isn’t that what clothing is all about?
We asked ourselves ‘how hard can it be to start a clothing line?’… and spent the next two years working with experienced fashion expert Barb Gauld on designing and redesigning blazers, button downs and polos we and our friends would love to wear.
After many meetings, discussions and research, we opted to launch our initial line with 4 styles starting with the ‘classic’, which went through 8 pattern revisions before we were satisfied with the fit. Once we had samples made from each style, we hosted a fitting party to get feedback from women of various sizes to see if we were on to something. The answer? Heck yes! Cheers, clapping, and enthusiastic responses at the fitting party propelled us to test the national marketplace.
We chose Kickstarter, the popular crowdsourcing site, as the first market test. To our delight, in just 30 days TomboyX raised more than $76,000 via 665 backers. (To put this in perspective -- fashion campaigns on Kickstarter have a very low success rate: just 28% succeed.) Through a targeted messaging campaign and utilizing social media tools, 800 people signed up for the TomboyX newsletter and the TomboyX Facebook page received more than 1,000 ‘likes.’ TomboyX was also featured in 10 blogs and published in two newspaper articles across the nation.
We went into the campaign thinking they would test the hypothesis that women are looking for something new in clothing, and unexpectedly came out with a very strong and popular new brand. We were overwhelmed with the fact that women are passionate about TomboyX and feel an affinity and loyalty that most brands take years to establish. The TomboyX logo, voice and vision speaks to and for an entire demographic of women who see themselves in the TomboyX brand. In a funny way, that brought about a sense of responsibility as well.
Every step of the way we will rely on the TomboyX customer to tell us what we are doing right, what we are doing well and ways we can improve.
We are relying on YOU, tomboys the world over, to keep us real. We want to be nimble and responsive. We may not be good at setting trends and we may not be able to offer discount pricing. But we are committed to earning and maintaining the loyalty of tomboys who see themselves in the TomboyX brand.
Thank you for embarking on this journey with us!
Fran and Naomi