When I saw this shirt from Quick Change Clothing at the Abilities Expo, I got pretty excited. It’s difficult to find adaptive clothing that is also stylish and attractive, and this blouse is something I’d gladly wear just because I like its lines. (Though this photo doesn’t do it justice.) The gimmick here, explained the designer, is that the front of the shirt zips completely off, allowing it to be replaced in a jiffy without any contortions on the part of the wearer. Zippers on all four sides mean that no part of the body need ever be exposed, so modesty is preserved, too.
As my dad’s body has begun to stiffen and his spatial sense declines, eating has become a bit untidy. Getting dressed is more difficult, too. I love the idea of a shirt front that zips off easily and can be replaced as soon as a meal is over. “It’s a matter of dignity,” said the designer. So it is — and comfort and hygiene, too, for that matter.
I asked about men’s shirts, and was shown a prototype — a standard athletic-type style, with raglan sleeves, and ‘invisible’ zippers in the side and sleeve seams. Good-looking enough, except for one thing: the entire front is bright white.
“Why?” I asked, mentioning that, in a nursing home setting, there wasn’t really much chance that white would stay white for long. My dad has a private laundress, but her emphasis is on sanitation, not the on the finer details of making whites sparkle.
The designer looked stricken. He’d just ordered the men’s shirts, and every one has a white front with primary colored sleeves. Likewise, all of the women’s designs on the website are white (although a model at the expo was wearing a pale green long-sleeved women’s tee). How did he miss this?
Unfortunately, there’s not much on the cluttered and confusing website that clearly explains the adaptive virtues of this clothing, and there’s no option allowing customers to purchase extra shirt fronts — a great idea if they might be replaced after each meal. And that white stuff is a real deal-breaker for me. It’s just not practical. And aren’t practicality and convenience the whole point?
Sadly, this product gets my ‘Not Ready for Prime Time’ award for an apparent lack of research and testing in the real world and for a general failure (on the website) to identify and clearly state benefits to consumer.
Prediction: Failing to do the homework before bringing the goods to market means these products won’t be available long.
Quick Change Clothing — Great idea, poor execution. The guest book on the website is full of Viagra ads and comments from spammers. Somebody really isn’t paying attention here.
Gratuitous advice to would-be entrepreneurs: Check out Dave Ramsey, and listen carefully to his ‘small business’ radio broadcasts. He understands entrepreneurial zeal, and offers a slew of sensible, practical ways of marketing dreams so that goals get met and income results. Hint: his plans involve moving slowly, paying attention to details, and understanding both the competition and your niche.