I was going to start off this week’s blog with I’m sorry for not writing about the design focus group results sooner. But, I’m trying NOT to apologize all the time especially when the situation doesn’t call for it. Saying I’m sorry is so ingrained in me. Do you have this apology reflex too? I think girls are taught this from a very early age.

The get together

So without further ado, I would like to thank the group of 12 women who took the time to meet up on a Sunday afternoon. Community has always been important to me in business and in life. So this was a great opportunity to connect in-person, enjoy some coffee, tea & dessert together, and get some valuable feedback.

I try to go into these focus groups with an open mind and heart. I know when you ask a number of people for their opinion, you get as many different answers. Everyone has their own tastes, likes & dislikes. And that’s the way it should be. How boring if we all had the same ideas. Then, I wouldn’t even need to host a focus group gathering.

At the end of the session, a few people said, “I’m not sure we helped you”. You did. It may seem like we went around in circles, but I always come away with a sense of what I need to do. The exact design details may not be crystal clear but the feeling of knowing comes into focus for me.

The return of an old favourite

So here’s what I’m moving forward with. I’m bringing back my very first design, the Maddison zip-up top. Btw, this is named after my daughter, Maddi, who has always inspired me and taught me so much about letting life unfold as it should.

Design focus group results by Colleen Kanna, Sketch of fuchsia Maddison top on fashion figure left; Actual Maddison top in charcoal right

The Maddison from sketch to garment

The style will remain the same except the sleeves will be full length for fall/winter, and the fabric will be a medium weight bamboo French terry.

The introduction of a new tunic

I’m also starting the development process for a new fall/winter tunic. Based on the focus group input, the rib neckline will be a low mock turtleneck. Nothing tight, but just high enough to keep you warm in cool weather. The raglan sleeves will be full length with a wide rib cuff that can be folded back much like the cuff on the Vesna cardigan.

Design focus group results by Colleen Kanna, Sketch of new tunic top in fuchsia with kangaroo pocket

Tunic top with kangaroo pocket

At first, I was going to do a kangaroo pocket but based on feedback, I will do side seam pockets. They may or may not be top-stitched. In the first sample garment, I may do one top-stitched pocket and the other loose for comparison.

Design focus group results by Colleen Kanna, Sketch of tunic top with side seam pockets

Tunic with more of an A-line shape, lower mock turtleneck, and side seam pockets

The fabric

Both styles will come in my 3 COKANNA custom colours: Silky Blue, Fiery Fuchsia, and Midnight Black.

Bamboo French terry in silky blue, fiery fuchsia & midnight black

Silky Blue, Fiery Fuchsia, and Midnight Black bamboo French terry

The Manufacturer

As you know, I cannot find a local manufacturer/seamstress to produce my clothing. That means I’m heading back to Toronto. The good news, I will be using the same manufacturer, CRW Design, who produced my original designs. So I don’t have to start from square one. And I already know the owners, Nikki and Sherri, well.

I’ll keep you up-to-date on when the sample garments come in. I would love to have a few of you try them on to test out the style and fit.

The plan

Should all go according to plan, by mid-summer, the pre-order opportunity will drop first for the focus group participants at a special discounted price. Next in line will be COKANNA customers, Keeping Abreast subscribers, and coffee shop members, and then to the general public. Delivery will be in September.

So there you have it, the design focus group results. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Until next time,

~ Colleen

Colleen Kanna

I’m a recovering Chartered Accountant and Breast Cancer Champion turned Fashion Designer. My COKANNA Canadian-made bamboo clothing is all about comfort and style. Giving back to the community is important to me so I support local breast cancer organizations who treat the whole person and not just the disease.