Women of Inspiration Day 9: Amelia Bloomer
So 8 years ago, I was writing my first Business Plan and getting lots of business advice. Over and over and over and over people would tell me "Get a Patent on those Bloomers" "Get a Trademark on My Alibi, on Bloomers, on Pedal Pushers" and on and on. Of course, right away I got the My Alibi trademark and spent the $100 to get patent pending on my innovative new Bloomer concept: an investment that would last 1 year as I filed endless paperwork & hired a patent attorney. Soon I discovered, it would cost me around $1700 to gain a patent that would last for 7 years BUT that patents don't do much in the world of apparel as changing color or a single stitch makes it a new product. Funny thing was, that year of "patent pending status" kept the copycats away. But was that really important to me?
You see, I started My Alibi Clothing to support more women riding bikes because I saw a lack in feminine apparel that had the quality and performence that could merge with feminine style. There was not one such product on the market that had a chamois meant to be worn under street clothing! Every liner was sewn in. My Alibi was the first to put a race quality chamois under any outfit. So since day one, I have always believed in making top notch products that accomplish this mission while supporting sustainable manufacturing (eco and social). Fast forward to today, there are not only a dozen brands making 'bike underwear' (none of which I believe really compete with the My Alibi Bloomer quality, just win the frugal shopper with much cheaper price tags due to cutting corners) BUT many bike shorts have taken the elastic free banding concept and added to their spandex kits. I'm glad everyone else is doing it, cuz it's way more comfortable and flattering.
So that brings me back the trademarking issue. Why didn't I trademark the word Bloomers? That's easy, cuz I didn't invent them, I just evolved them. The woman that deserves the right to the word Bloomers was the biggest fashion innovator of all time. Amelia Bloomer. She had no intention of being a fashionista, she simply wanted function to overcome the styles of her time... viola! Women in pants?!? Oh my! And that's how it happened, she wanted to ride a bike comfortably. Just like me. I found this little story about her in the library and thought it was charming. Every once in awhile a woman along my journey of growing My Alibi will share a story of Amilia with me. I even heard there is a children's book about her that I need to pick up one of these days.
I launched this Wonder Bloomers PreSale to offer more colors and just like everything else in the bike industry, improve the function and fit just a little bit more. While I am offering them for $18 lss then they will retail for, it's not about the deal, it's about supporting a women that is dedicated to designing the highest quality sustainable products that support more women riding bikes. You PreOrder will help me show the growing need for functional feminine apparel, so I can continue working to fund the full product line (yes that is a $500K project!) So you may think $70 is expensive, but do you spend it on gas? How long does last you? I have customers that bought the Original Bloomers 7 years ago and are just now buying a new pair, not because they are worn out, but because they want a new color. That's a lot of gas money saved! Just saying.