The first product to launch a business.
How do you even choose something like that? I wanted it to be something I hadn't seen done before, something practical and something I could see my pup wearing often. A coat! Otis wears one on every winter walkies, so it made sense. Off to the drawing board we went.
Otis in His Many Beautiful Winter Walkies Outfits
Fabric selection was difficult. After about an hour-and-a-half in a fabric shop (I have no clue how that happened, I could have sworn it was only 20 minutes!) my boyfriend grew tired of killing time and told me we needed to head home, fair enough. I'd selected the the fabric, a beautiful black and white check printed wooly feeling fabric and a soft fluffy teddy fleece fabric. Awesome, step one complete!
It took me MANY attempts to find a fit for Otis. He's a medium in our brand sizing according to the chart we created and the measurements on paper looked easy enough to create! WRONG. So many mistakes we learnt from, fabric everywhere and an incredible amount of late nights trying to get it right. I think we made about six different trial coats before I decided I was ready to create the final ones for selling.
I spent hours watching techniques for sewing, writing out my mistakes and how to fix them, planning and setting up the business overall.
It was a challenge, I won't lie. A big learning curve for me. I thought about maybe doing something easier to begin with but I really wanted to stand out from the many dog apparel business that are currently out there. Bandannas are easier, collars surely a lot more in my skill range - but still, not what I wanted to launch with.
Three of the Complete Test Coats
Eventually we got to the bulk ordering phase. I merrily ordered many metres of fabric in both types and waited at the mail box (not really, but I watched the tracking like a hawk, eager to get started).
Three days later a big parcel showed up at the front door, hoorah! I opened and saw... the wrong fabric. Surely this couldn't have been my fault? I checked my order and to my dismay and disbelief, yes - it was my mistake. Kirstie, you complete and utter moron. No big deal, we'll figure this out. It wasn't a HUGE mistake, the fabric was the same pattern, just the wrong material. Sigh. What did we learn? Check the product codes before ordering. Keep going.
The Fabric I Chose & The Fabric I Accidentally Ordered
The final coats took me a few weeks to create. With every coat I made, I could do it quicker and better than the last. Those few weeks of creating were by far my favourite part of the process. Every day I would sit at my reception desk and watch the clock slowly tick by, buzzing with creativity and ready to get the heck home so I could keep sewing!
With every coat I created, I went over with a fine-tooth comb and critiqued my finished product. None of them perfect, but all of them beautiful and unique. I wasn't aiming for perfection, perfection is not something to strive for and I would never have launched if I did. I was and am so incredibly proud of each and every coat I made.
I tagged and labeled each beautiful little coat with our brand logo I designed myself and imagined the adorable little pups who would be putting each of these coats on. I was beaming. This is the feeling people search for their whole lives and I'd found it. This is my passion.
Otis Rocking The Final Product
If you needed a reason to support small businesses then here it is. I am so incredibly proud, and most importantly, I'm happy. I can guarantee each and every coat that is sent out was made with more love than any massive company could even begin to offer. Each coat is a product of my passion. Each little imperfection you find was something I learnt from and allowed me to get better at what I love. By purchasing anything through OtiBoaty Boutique, you're allowing me to continue to create, get much, much better and most importantly, spread and encourage people to chase this feeling.
I think I can speak on behalf of anyone who's started their own business. It is hard. Anything worth doing in life won't be easy. We do what we do because we love it - and it shows. There isn't a greater feeling than finding your passion and chasing it, regardless of how hard it is. We all start somewhere and this post was one of the first steps of many in my journey.
If you've read this far, then maybe you'd like to purchase one of my little labours of love! If so - click the link below. Maybe you already have purchased one and if that's the case, thank you. With all of my heart, thank you so very much. I am incredibly excited to launch more products and I hope you're equally excited to see just what they might be! Stay tuned for more.
With Love from the CEO & Directors of OtiBoaty Boutique,
Kirstie Wilson & Oti-Boaty