by Anna Streule
In a bid to show you all that having a clear brand story and a clear vision is not only important, but also a way to success, let`s see it live in action through our interview with the founders of Cucumber Clothing, Eileen and Nancy. They started a clothing company on little more than conviction of the idea’s greatness. Starting a company is not hard, keeping a company going and making it a success, however, is. Cucumber Clothing can most definitely be classed a success.
Their brand is going from strength to strength – it has been featured in magazines and newspapers in its native UK and sales are booming. This is not down to pure luck, this is down to a lot of hard work and a very clear message, vision and strategy from the very beginning. Please read on to see how success can happen when two brilliant women get their heads together to create a product as good as its brand story.
Granted, it`s not a very sexy topic: sweat (although I guess it totally could be), however when I heard of a clothing company that makes moisture wicking, cool (in every sense of the word) and nice looking clothes, I have to admit I was curious. You see ladies, I am a bit of a sweater. I don`t know if I always have been this way but as with many, many other things, I sense I can blame pregnancy for this one. My issue is primarily nights and it turns out I am not alone (seriously, Google “night sweats in women” and you will feel abnormal if you don`t sweat at night!). Anyway, enough about my nocturnal perspiration issues and back to the fabulous women I had the pleasure of meeting recently; Eileen and Nancy of Cucumber Clothing.
As with so many other female entrepreneurs I have met recently Eileen and Nancy practically met at the school playground. Not theirs but their children`s. There really should be a word for this type of meeting and “scheming”, “Playground entrepreneurs” perhaps? I digress.
Whilst Nancy and Eileen were on a beach holiday celebrating a certain round number birthday, the topic of night sweats was on everybody`s lips. What also became glaringly obvious was the total lack of actual good looking and functional night wear for women who, for one reason or another, sweat.
Nancy, being in the fashion industry already, knew her calling had come while Nancy was looking for something different, her “bit on the side”.
Cue lots and lots and lots of research into functional, comfortable and nice looking fabric, testing said fabric and finding out exactly what kind of journey the two friends had actually embarked upon.
It turned out relatively quickly that their “bit on the side” had taken over their lives. The name came comparably easy: Cool as a …. Get it?!
The slightly harder part was finding the right mix of the best and best looking fabric, with the most flattering design. Thankfully the pair were very clear from day one that this product had to be fabric led, i.e no matter the design, the fabric always had to be the best, even if that meant a slightly higher price point. What also was clear from very early on was their vision – they wanted to be “fair”. Although it may seem a lofty and somewhat pretentious claim, in today`s crowded market that seems full to the brim with cheap clothes, poor quality and sometimes questionable working conditions, to be fair and transparent seems nothing short of necessary. This meant that bar the actual fabric, which is sourced from China, all the work, sewing, designing and packing, happens in the UK, where it is easy for the team to check the progress and be fully part of the process. Herein also lies their vision; to be as transparent as possible, with everything from process to wages and design. It is not always the easiest route, but it does mean the two can sleep soundly at night knowing that their product is harming the environment as little as possible and that the people working for them are paid fairly.
Another reason why Cucumber Clothing is such a success is their targeted market. They know who their customers are: women who suffer from night sweats. That is pretty darn specific! And when such a targeted approach is used, people feel heard and seen; Finally someone understands! And when the parcel arrives, all beautifully packaged and the you feel the fantastic quality of the clothes, you will have one very happy customer, who very likely will be happy to tell their friends…
As with so many great inventions, it is surprising this product didn’t already exist. And, again, as with some many great inventions, it kind of did. There are other brands or moisture wicking night clothes out there, but unless you have lost a large sense of fashion, they are not for you. What Cucumber Clothing has done is to find a solution to a fairly “unsexy” problem, and made a pretty and fashionable solution. See, in true entrepreneurial spirit: constantly looking for solutions.
This isn’t actually a sponsored post (I wish, I am more than willing to be gifted with anything from their collection, hint hint…), but simply a really great example of two entrepreneurs with a brilliant idea and complimenting skill sets who set to work using a proper strategic formula for success.