In a week or so I am heading off on my semi-annual trip to visit the grandparents with my children. As usual it's a packing nightmare since we live in the Northern Hemisphere but holiday in the Southern. In addition winters are cold here in Japan so I dress warm in layers of wool. Coats, hats & scarves are necessary most days. Whereas Auckland has a more temperate climate. While cold and most definitely winter what I wear here in Osaka is overkill.
Lucky for me I have a secret weapon, my friend Daniela Guido, The Silver Lining Stylist.
Daniela, a certified stylist, has tons of free advice on her website. My favourite post in recent weeks was "How to camouflage what you don't like in your body". And this one is just perfect: How to wear your summer clothes all year long." I'm doing this for our upcoming trip.
I'm always up for a challenge so took on some of Daniela's advice as I dressed to kill for two lunches out last weekend. The results were astounding. Day One I chose a gorgeous black tunic which is decorated with tiny beading around the v neck. The v neck really works on me (even though I could do without those ham hocks poking out of the cap sleeves). Black is a good colour on me as is bright fuchsia pink (in the beading). And truthfully I don't think my arms are noticed by others.
Day Two I mistakenly tried to cover those arms with a half sleeve t shirt. Unfortunately I later realised: hello giant swimmer's shoulders (eek). I tried to detract from my bust, which looked huge in this awful t shirt, with a statement necklace. The necklace helped but I don't think mushroom brown is a flattering colour for me and the v neck suits me much better. I'm declaring Day Two a fail (and that t shirt has been recycled).
So after these two experiments I learned a few things. Nothing Daniela hadn't already told me: dress to suit your body shape. Pick colours that flatter which are not necessarily the on-trend colours. Use accessories to draw the eye away from areas of your body that you'd like to camouflage. Don't be afraid to show a little skin, even if you're on the larger side like me! Packing for our trip just got a whole lot easier. Thanks Daniela!
Of course there is marketing lesson in this.
I'm working with a friend who makes jewellery. It's a very crowded and competitive market so she really needs a strong hook to stand out from the crowd. She makes her pretty bracelets with 'healing gemstones'. That's intriguing and there may be a market there. It's definitely worth exploring, the power of certain stones to heal.
Lightbulb moment #1
I happen to have been reading Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. This chapter made the leap into my consciousness yesterday while I was shopping for a new Daniela Guido-inspired necklace: Scratch your own itch.
So I may be scratching my own itch here but honestly all of the necklaces and other accessories at the mall were so tiny and delicate, they just get lost on me.
Lightbulb moment #2
I've been watching the 'plus-sized' comedy Drop Dead Diva. The star is played by the drop dead gorgeous Brooke Elliott. I don't know how many times I have cringed over her unfortunate wardrobe choices ... I might be influenced by Daniela and her fabulous statement necklaces but Jane (on the show) wears really awful jewellery sometimes and her suits are ghastly, which is all part of the character, I know.
Lightbulb moment #1 + Lightbulb moment #2 = a market niche
It came to me in my sleep: Jewellery for plus-sized women.
Jewellery that is both pretty and feminine. Is on-trend. But is sized appropriately. And proportionate to our thicker necks, chunkier wrists and fingers. Jewellery that doesn't look old-fashioned and cheap. Or tacky and garish. I want to buy things that flatter and accentuate me in the best way possible, that was made thoughtfully with me (or someone like me) in mind.
Next stop: Pinterest - is there a market for plus-sized jewellery? I think so!
Now to take it to the client and get her take on the idea.
Is there a lesson in here for you?
Inspiration can strike at any moment but if you're stuck then I recommend getting out from behind your computer. Go out with friends. Take a walk. Wander around the shops. Browse in the bookstore. Let your amazing subconscious mind take the reins for a while. You might come up with the next big thing!