The idea to create a new product was born around the same time as my youngest son, Evan (9/2014). This idea has evolved tremendously and I have embraced the thrills and challenges related to it.
When Evan finally had his first long stretch of sleep during the night, I remember waking up drenched in breast milk, painfully engorged, and wide awake for the rest of the night. I had many hours to think…mostly about how there must be a better way…a “‘round the clock” shirt with a built-in bra and accessory system (think nursing pads and hot/cold packs). This shirt needed to work regardless of whether I was home snuggling with my baby, running errands around town, or scrambling to get out of the door for work (a cardigan, blazer or button down looks perfect over it)! The CozyRack Tank makes getting dressed easier for new moms and prioritizes comfort and being ready for anything.
Here is a bit of the process from tinkering to launch:
January 2015: Taping together prototypes from inspiration tanks (yes, with scotch tape)
Spring 2015: Working with a seamstress to bring ideas to life and test them
Sample tank 2 of 11
Spring/Summer 2015: Plenty of reading and research via Maker's Row, an online community providing invaluable resources, connections to the industry and supporting manufacturing in the USA
Fall 2015: Took a huge leap to work with a pattern maker and technical designer in Chicago and begin discussions with sale/marketing specialists (getting serious!)
Winter 2015-2016: A trip to Chicago for fitting with Sample #1, discussions with factories, visiting trade shows/NYC garment district, and many more samples...
Spring/Summer 2016: Focus groups, product testing, more samples, more hurdles, impatience set in...
Fall 2016: Began CozyRack trademark process; While dealing with product development setbacks, pivoted to source nursing-friendly garments from manufacturers and prepared for launch of a curated CozyRack line
November 21, 2016: Launch Party!
December 2016: After much contemplation, my family committed to moving to NYC for my husband's new job
Late Winter/Early Spring 2017: CozyRack trademark was contested by a big retailer, we appealed and moved on; Focused on family life and our huge transition
Spring 2017: Trademark Notice of Allowance obtained; Brainstorming, soul-searching, business models, more pivots...
Summer 2017: Refocusing, back to product development, learning about patents and embracing how fortuitous it was to move less than 3 miles from our manufacturer
Fall 2017: Begin meetings with factory again, sourcing new materials, more product testing and many new samples (worn and washed endlessly!), complete provisional utility patent application
Winter 2017-2018: Final sample complete, provisional patent filed, business models complete, ordered fabric and trim for first run...
Late Spring 2018: Many factory visits, Quality Control, Website management, brand work, etc.
June 2018: CozyRack Tank available for purchase
Fall 2018: Feedback continues to roll in that many moms wish they had our tank for pregnancy. Back to the brand work, positioning and marketing...
Winter 2018-2019: Expand offerings to include the very much needed Mom Support
Spring 2019: Working towards Perinatal Mental Health Certification to be best equipped help moms and moms-to-be in this exciting and challenging life stage.
I am so thrilled to have created a flattering and versatile nursing-friendly tank also serving as a comfortable and practical base layer while standing alone confidently as the only layer.
I am grateful for a supportive network of family, friends, and loyal moms who have listened, offered endless feedback, asked tough and essential questions, and gave me inspiration.
P.S. This photo was taken the day I received one of the CozyRack Tank samples in the mail. I wore it on our bike ride (and for a few consecutive days after that). :)