Ever had one of those years that you look back on and think “wow what a ride, how did I possibly survive all of that”? Well in reflecting on 2016, I can’t help but feel this way.
Launching your own business is by no means all glitz and glamour. The stakes feel higher than you could ever imagine since in a way you are sharing a part of yourself with the world. Having thick skin is a must!
On the business front, Betts Fit Sports Bra launched our website for pre-orders in March. This was 3 years in the making from the start of the initial research and development phase, and finally came to fruition - a very exciting milestone for us.
After much consideration and weighing the options, we moved production from Taiwan back to the US. Eventually setting up shop in Fresno, CA.
Exciting news came in September when it was confirmed that our Utility Patent to protect our corset compression and three way adjustability was granted! This process began over 3 years ago and wasn’t a pleasant experience, so this news really meant the world to us.
Soon after, Betts Fit Sports Bra was invited to audition for the show Shark Tank. Although we didn’t make it on the show this year (blessing in disguise), we will reapply next year with more knowledge, expertise and sales under our belt.
In addition to creating a product, much effort goes into finalizing the materials that accompany it - selecting our labels, hang tags, shipping envelopes, etc. We made our final choices on materials (and couldn’t be happier), zippers, cord locks, cording, shoulder straps, bottom bands and corset tape. These all seem like minor things, but they take a lot of time and consideration. Many of these components had to be custom made, which took a lot of trial and error during development and testing.
After all the materials were finalized, the most important item on the list of to dos was to perfect the fit of the Betts Fit Sports Bra. Our main goal above all is to deliver a product that is true to size. The majority of our time and effort towards the end of the year has been dedicated to fitting women of all sizes to ensure that the pattern cuts are accurate for each band and cup size.
On a personal note I became engaged in late March, and married my husband in September. We moved to Tahoe, CA and bought a house. So much in so little time!
Upon looking back, it was all positive stuff despite the chaos and stress of many moving parts. All in all, this was a wonderful and adventurous year.
The biggest lesson learned in 2016 was that you can’t go at anything in life alone. You are a product of who you spend the most time with, and your team is everything in business. For the past few years I have been riding this roller coaster of starting a new business mostly alone, yet always with the help of friends and family along the way.
I couldn’t be more thrilled to announce I have a partner in crime now. Throughout this process, and especially post-launch, I realized I am too emotionally attached to my product and company. I am so fortunate to now have my dear friend (and former roommate), Lorin Suslow on board as a partner at Betts Fit. Lorin has been helping with social media, customer service requests, business plans and forecasting. Anyone who runs their own business knows the great importance of delegating to others in the areas you are most weak.
New Year's Eve 2009!
What are we looking forward to in 2017?
When you operate a business that involves production, one word you become very familiar with in the process is... ROADBLOCKS! My hope is that after a year of managing and getting production underway, we will be able to limit many of the operational and manufacturing roadblocks that we have experienced in the past.
I have learned some things are truly out of my control, and oftentimes when you are pursuing something for the first time - it won't go smoothly. You learn from the experience, and make sure to do better next time.
I wish everything that we set out to do was always perfect on that first attempt, but the universe has a way of reminding us that there are, in fact, no perfect humans of businesses.
What is in store for 2017?
The fitting stage is almost complete, and we have started to selectively deliver certain band sizes. After some fore-mentioned roadblocks and production setbacks, we aim to finally have all our pre-orders to our customers by Feb. 28th. Feedback is essential during this phase, and we look forward to receiving it from all of our pre-order early supporters! Our hope is that our product will improve the lives of our customers by giving them more confidence and support.
We will be launching our nursing variation (which opens from the front) and attachable tank tops!
Additionally, we will be holding fit parties for those who want to touch, feel and see the Betts Fit Sports Bra! Starting throughout Northern & Southern California to begin with at this time.
Thanks for your early support. It meant the world to me in 2016. Happy New Year!