In keeping with last week’s post, No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn, I’m planning ahead to next winter and testing out bamboo toques and mitts with early adopters.
It’s funny because a couple of years ago, my nephew was bugging me to do bamboo mitts. I resisted thinking bamboo was not a suitable fabric. He had wanted me to do Neapolitan striped mittens which was not helping his case, lol.
Fast forward to 2021, here I am making sample toques and mitts. I have a skating friend, Pat Corbeil, sewing the samples for me. We started out making face masks but bamboo is definitely not good for that. It’s too porous and stretchy. Then somehow we morphed into hats.
Pat has made 4 slouchy toques for me with fur pompoms recycled from real fur coats. I showed them off in my Coffee Shop (if you don’t know what this is, then keep on reading to the end) and I was surprised by the response. As soon as we got off zoom, I had 2 customers interested in being testers at a special early adopter price.
Then I posted it on Facebook and wow, there was a lot of genuine interest. A few wanted to try it out for running. Bamboo is soft, breathable, and thermal regulating. Others thought their kids might even like one. The 4 samples were quickly spoken for.
So far I have received great feedback from the early adopters, and I’m incorporating their suggestions into the next round of samples. Once we get the design and sizing down, the plan is to take the next step and send it to my manufacturer. They’ll do a digital pattern, a sample, and we’ll test again. Many rounds of sampling and testing and then re-sampling and re-testing are required before a new product or design goes into production.
The toque will be one size fits all. Of course, everyone has a different size head. But, the bamboo has good stretch and recovery, The toque can also be worn unfolded if you have a larger head or folded up if you have a smaller head.
I love that the pompoms are recycled from old fur coats. Pat and I are thinking of ways to make them detachable. Then you have the option of pompom or no pompom. Plus, it would make washing easy. Remove pompom, throw in the machine, cold water, and hang to dry. The variety of fur makes each pompom unique. Perhaps I could even sell sets of pompoms to go with your toque.
Most of all I love the recycled part. When my mom passed away, she had 2 Persian lamb coats, one short black one and a longer grey one. My sisters and I didn’t know what to do with them. We eventually had them made into bears, one for each of us and 2 for my nieces. This is another way to recycle and reuse with love. Does anyone have an old fur coat they don’t know what to do with? Would you be willing to donate it for pompom making?
We are also working on the fit and design of the mitts. The first sample pair were a single layer of bamboo. Susan liked the size and longer length and found them surprisingly warm for snow shovelling. What we have to work on is getting the elastic at the wrist just right. The single layer mitts are particularly useful for dog walking. I find gloves not warm enough and mitts a struggle to pick up poop and tie the bag. Can you dog lovers relate? The single layer mitts are perfect for layering over a pair of gloves.
I’m super excited about putting the toques and mitts into production in the fall. I know we still have to get through the rest of this winter and then there’s spring and summer to look forward to. But, I’m planning ahead so you’ll be warm and cozy for Winter 2022. I’ll keep you updated on my progress…
If you haven’t joined my Coffee Shop group on Facebook, I’m extending a warm invitation.
I have guest speakers every week on zoom. You can enjoy a variety of topics from Coffee Time Trivia: Flashback to the 80’s to How to Take Better Pictures with Your Phone. All the events are free and you get to meet and chat with other coffee shoppers from the comfort of your home. And sometimes, there’s the added bonus of jumping on the early adopter bandwagon and testing out new COKANNA products and designs.
Until next week, be safe and well.
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