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Kickstarter Update!

Just a quick update for everyone.  We received approval from Kickstarter this morning, so we’ll be launching tomorrow morning, as planned!  We’ll have the link to our Kickstarter page right here, first thing tomorrow morning.


Fly with us!

A quick update on our Kickstarter campaign:

I’m still waiting for approval from Kickstarter.  That *should* come through today, but in the event that it doesn’t we’ll launch as soon as we do have approval.  I’ll keep you posted right here, on Facebook and on Twitter.  In the mean time, here are a few important things to keep in mind…

  • We only have 30 days to get enough pledges to meet our $11,000 goal
  • Your card will not be charged until our campaign is successful
  • This is a great opportunity to pre-order from us!  Kickstarter rewards will be shipped out before any retail orders are shipped.
  • Vote with your dollars!  Take a stand for being comfortable while active no matter what your size.
  • Can’t pledge your support with money?  Support us by sharing our Facebook page, Twitter, and blog with anyone you know who would benefit from intelligently made active wear for every body.

Want to see more photos of our samples?  There are a whole batch of new photos that will be included on our Kickstarter page, and we’ll be posting more here and on Facebook over the next month.


Preparing to Launch

You might be wondering what exactly it takes to launch a clothing company.  We don’t have all the answers, but we do know what it’s going to take to get us started.

Our Kickstarter goal is $11,000.   We hope that means that 220 of you will believe in this project enough to pre-order a tank or tee at the $50 contribution level, because making clothing for you is what we really want to do with the money.  So what does that buy?

A professional grade serger.  The serger used to make our sample garments is only 4 years younger than our seamstress, and really deserves to be retired.  In addition to it’s advanced age, it also does not have several of the features that will allow us to reliably produce professionally made clothing.  Take a look at the hem of your tee shirt.  Chances are it has a double line of stitching at the hem that stretches a bit if you pull on it.  In a factory, a specialized machine only does that stitch.  We’re going to be saving a little bit of money by purchasing a machine that does that stitch as well as the other seams in knit garments.  Buying the one convertible machine rather than two dedicated machines saves us about $500.  And since we only have one seamstress, we can manage with only one machine.

Large cutting tables, cutting tools, and an ergonomic work space.  We’ll be able to set our seamstress up with a work space that will allow her to work efficiently and produce high quality garments in a short amount of time.  Currently she has to cut out pieces on the floor, one or two garments at a time, which takes a long time.  A well set up work space can cut her time in half without sacrificing quality.

Professional pattern making software and a wide format (24 or 30 inch) printer.  This will allow us to take our patterns and produce them at any size… and that will allow us to never turn a customer away because we don’t make their size.  Larger or smaller, we’ll truly be able to fit any body.

Wholesale quantities of fabric, elastic, and thread.  We’ll be able to purchase enough fabric, thread and elastic for an estimated 2 months of production.  By buying in bulk, we receive a significant savings which in turn allows us to offer these items at a reasonable price ($25-50) once our web site launches.

Paying our seamstress for her time.  Making garments from start to finish requires skill and craftsmanship.  We’ll be able to pay our seamstress a fair wage for her work while still keeping the overall cost of the items reasonable for the average person.

We’re all bargain hunters at heart, so we took care to research every last penny that will be going into starting this company.  We thought long and hard about each piece of equipment and each expense, to ensure that we can offer professional results without needless expense.

Now what happens if we raise more than our goal?

We thought about this question too, because that can happen with Kickstarter.  And we’ve got a few things on our wish list that will make things even better.  Like a large format digital tablet.  That means that Rene can make a sample garment on her dress form, make all of the adjustments needed to the pattern, then disassemble it, and trace the pieces on the digital tablet directly into the pattern making software.  From there it’s just a few minutes of work to re-size it for any customer and begin offering it to our customers.

Also on the wish list is a new professional quality sewing machine.  While our line of active wear can be produced entirely on the serger, if we move into other types of garments like button down shirts, a standard sewing machine will be essential.  Our current sewing machine is about 50-ish years old.  It’s an absolute work horse, but it too has earned it’s retirement.  We’d also like to be able to embroider our logo on each piece, just a small tone on tone of our little pig with wings, and a newer machine would enable us to do that.

Adding those two tools would allow us to continue to develop new products, grow and expand our line over the next year or so.  If we receive additional funding beyond that, we’d look into hiring someone to do production work part time to allow Rene more time to work on new product development.

Remember, we’re just two days away from our Kickstarter campaign launch.  Get signed up on our email list, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter, and tell everyone about Flying Pig Apparel’s active wear for every body!


Give and You Shall Receive

Just 3 days until our Kickstarter campaign launch!  We talked a little bit about what Kickstarter is and how is works last week.  Now for everyone’s favorite part…the fabulous prizes!

Everyone who pledges their support, no matter how small the amount, will receive a personal thank you email from the Flying Pig Apparel team.

Pledge $10 or more and receive a video thank you instead.

Pledge $25 or more and receive the video thank you and a limited-edition Flying Pig Apparel tote bag with our awesome logo on the side.

Pledge $50 or more and receive your choice of a tank or tee from the new line, the limited edition tote, and a video thank you.

Pledge $100 or more and receive your choice of pants or capris, a tank or tee, the limited edition tote, and a video thank you.

Pledge $200 or more and receive 2 full outfits (2 tops and 2 bottoms of your choice), the limited edition tote, and a video thank you.

Pledge $300 or more and receive 2 full outfits for yourself, a full outfit for a friend (includes shipping within the U.S.), the limited edition tote, and a video thank you.  Not feeling generous?  You can have all 3 sets for yourself if you like.

Pledge $500 or more and receive the rewards from the $300 level as well as an original piece of artwork with the Flying Pig Apparel logo as a theme.  This might be a hand drawn poster by Audre or an original applique/quilt wall hanging by Rene.

So when you pledge your support, you’re not only investing in bringing intelligently designed active wear to every body, you’re also getting a chance to pre-order your own Flying Pig Apparel active wear.  Remember to sign up for email updates from the blog, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter for all the latest on our launch!

Active Wear for Every Body

Have you ever shopped for clothing online, and thought to yourself, “Well, it looks great on that plus sized model who happens to have a flat stomach, but how will it look on my body with a rounded stomach?”  Or worse, “Ok, so it looks amazing on an ‘average’ size model, but what does it look like on a larger body?”  And my personal favorite, “Hmmm… it looks good on the Invisible Woman, but how does it look on a visible woman?”

And that’s not even counting all of the times we see a headless or footless photo showing the clothing they’re trying to sell.  I totally get that the photos are supposed to be about selling the clothing, but when I try something on at a store, I look in a full length mirror at the total effect of the garment on my particular body.  Balance and proportion, head to toe, are important to me when I buy clothes.

We took our photos for our web site and Kickstarter campaign just over a week ago.  I can promise you there are no headless photos.  Or invisible models.  And there are a variety of body types to show how our garments might look on a body like yours.  We want you to be confident that when you order something from Flying Pig Apparel, you’ll love it just as much on your body as you did in the photo.

It’s getting closer!  We’ll be launching our Kickstarter campaign very soon.  If you believe in intelligently designed active wear for every body, we’d like to encourage you to show your support.  Whether you can support us by spreading the word, pledging $1 or pledging $1,000, every little bit helps.  We’ll be sharing more about how much money we need to raise and what that will cover over the next couple of days.  We’ll also be giving you a preview of the cool gifts that our investors will receive.  Don’t miss any of it!  Sign up for email updates, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.  All of the links are right there on the right hand side of your screen.

No BS Sizing

Have you ever taken the time to compare size charts for different clothing companies side by side?  We did, and we were shocked and annoyed by what we found.  What one company calls a 2X might be a  6X at another company!  No wonder just knowing your size doesn’t help when you’re shopping for clothes.

We were also sort of amused by the descriptive terms some sites use to describe the body shapes of people.  I think we’ve all heard ourselves or others described as an “apple” shape or a “pear” shape.  How about this one… one site has a body shape they call a “pineapple”.  I have to share Bobby’s reaction to that with you… she almost fell off the couch laughing before she could get out “That must be one prickly b****!”

So how do we cut through the BS and just get you clothes that fit?  There’s no such thing as a standard size chart, at least not in the U.S.  We’re taking a lesson from men’s jeans brands and skip the size chart construct altogether.  Pants will be sized based on hip measurement, and shirts will be sized based on bust measurement.  And since you don’t have a chance to try on these garments before you buy them, we’re going to tell you right up front what the garment’s measurements are, so you know how loose or tight it will fit you.  No more pondering if you’re a 20 or 22.  All you need is a flexible tape measure and you’ll know exactly what size to buy.

We believe in voting with our dollars.  All of us here at Flying Pig Apparel are choosing to say “No Thanks” to clothes that aren’t fit or designed for us.  We hope that you believe in our work too.  Starting June 1st, we’ll be seeking contributions from people who believe in intelligently designed active wear for people of all sizes.  Sign up for email updates from us, or check back here for more information on how you can be a part of making Flying Pig Apparel available to anyone.  You don’t need to be a millionaire to help make this happen!  You can pledge your support starting June 1st in amounts as small as $1, and you can help spread the word to others.

Worth a Thousand Words

We’ve been telling you about our new active wear for women here, on Facebook, and on Twitter.  But you haven’t yet seen what intelligently designed active wear for every body looks like.  Today I’m proud to give you a sneak peek at our 8 sample garments.

The photo shoot was a lot of fun.  After an afternoon at the range (Barb likes guns.  Rene likes the hottie that works at the range.  It was a win-win situation), we spent the late afternoon and early evening at Monteith Riverpark in Albany, Oregon hamming it up for the camera.  Now, some all of us are not naturally camera-friendly people.  But we got out there and had some fun with it anyway.  I had an epiphany as we were trying to get active shots of each of us.  The best photos were the ones that were taken when we weren’t expecting it.  Like this one.

We’re standing on top of a concrete picnic table just joking around, waiting for Audre to get her shoes back on and join us for a group shot.  From the left is Rene, Barb, and Bobby.

Here’s another “gotcha” moment that turned out to be perfect…

On the left is Audre, and Bobby on the right.  Just standing and chatting, trying to think up ideas for poses and action shots.

Now, just because the unplanned shots turned out to be our favorites (and there are more that I don’t have to post just yet, like Barb doing a random cheerleading move… don’t even think about deleting that one Barb!), doesn’t mean that our planned photos turned out badly.  Here’s Barb on rollerblades….

So the profound thought that came out of all of this?  The harder we tried to look good while being active, the less satisfied we were with how we looked.  And the more we just let loose and had fun, the better the photos looked.  So the next time you decide not to do a random happy dance in the middle of the street because you’re worried about how you look, banish that thought and just go with whatever feels right and fun to you.  It doesn’t matter how you look to other people.  But having fun is contagious.

One last note… while doing the photo shoot we noticed a few things about the sample garments, and I’m busy working on some changes to the patterns to make them even better.  The tank tops are going to have the biggest overhaul.  I originally developed the pattern for non-stretchy fabrics, and the switch to knit fabric means that it’s just too big in the back.  It’s not a difficult fix, and it won’t change the overall look of the top… except that random fold you can see on Bobby’s back in the second photo.  I’ll also be making some minor adjustments to the fit of the pants, we all agreed that we’d like the waistband to sit lower than our natural waistline.  Again, not a huge change.  A lot of our goals were met with these garments.  The shirts stay in place without tugging them down all the time, but they’re not overly long.  The capri pants don’t ride up when you walk.  And everything is loose enough to move in without being shapelessly baggy.

We can’t wait to hear what you think!  Like it?  Hate it?  Leave us a comment and let us know!


p.s. We’ve set comments to be moderated on this blog.  We DO what to hear both positive and negative feedback on our clothing.  At the same time, we don’t want hateful comments about women of size being active.  So as long as you’re on topic and express yourself respectfully, we’ll approve your comment.  But trolls beware, your words may come back to haunt you.

p.p.s. Love what we’re doing?  Want to be the first of your friends to get your hands on Flying Pig Apparel?  We’ll be launching our Kickstarter campaign on June 1st, so make sure you’re plugged in with us here, on Facebook, or on Twitter to get all the details!

What is Kickstarter?

Before I talk about Kickstarter, a quick note about photos.  I had really hoped to have photos up yesterday, but they weren’t ready quite yet.  I promise we’ll have them posted for you as soon as possible.  Be sure to sign up for email updates for the blog, the photos will be posted here first! 🙂

You’ve seen me mention Kickstarter a few times now, and you’re probably wondering what in the world it is.  It’s a site that allows small businesses, individuals, and inventors to raise the funds they need to complete projects.  Say you’re a musician with enough original songs to record an album.  Without a studio footing the bill for recording time, promotion, house band, and all the other expenses, it’s pretty hard to finance that all on your own.  With Kickstarter, there’s a product of some kind at the end… it might be an album if you’re a musician, a line of clothes or a fashion show if you’re a clothing designer, a book, a video, even plays and dance performances.  You as the business owner or inventor or author or whatever write a summary of what you’re trying to do, take photos, shoot a video and tell your supporters what you need, and why they should contribute.  During the campaign, you promote your project, using social media, blogs, word of mouth, and Kickstarter.  Anyone can pledge to support your project… whether they can chip in $1 or $1,000.

One of the features I like best about Kickstarter is that our supporters are not charged unless we receive enough pledges to reach our goal.  That means that we’re not stuck trying to complete the project with less money than we needed to actually deliver what we’ve promised.  It also puts some pressure on… we have a limited time frame to raise the money in.  If we don’t reach our goal by the deadline, we don’t receive any money and we have to start again.

The part you’ll like best is that once the campaign is sucessful, contributers receive thank-you gifts based on the amount of money they contributed.  We’ll be offering clothing from our new line, among other things, as thank-you gifts.  And we’ll be shipping those gifts out before any other orders go out, so you’ll be able to wear Flying Pig Apparel active wear before it’s available anywhere!

Since it’s an all or nothing campaign, it’s important that we start getting the word out now.  If you know someone who might be interested in what we’re doing here, please share a link to the blog, our Facebook page, or Twitter.  Even if you know you won’t be able to contribute any money, spreading the word helps us immensely.  We’ll be sharing more about how to pledge your support as we get closer to the Kickstarter campaign launch.  In the mean time, check out some of the other cool projects Kickstarter has to offer!

3 a Week Challenge

On Thursday, we talked about the 4 simple habits that can make a significant impact on your health.  I also asked you to consider setting goals in a different way to increase your health rather than focusing on weight.  Have you started making any of those healthy changes yet?

I already hit two of them, simply because that’s who I am.  I don’t smoke, and never have.  I know that can be a huge hurdle for people who are already addicted, and so I’m very glad it’s not an issue for me.  And I rarely drink.  When I do it’s generally just one drink (Barb’s birthday party and ensuing madness excepted).  Again, this can be a very difficult hurdle for people to overcome so I’m very glad I’m not in the habit of drinking like a fish.  (On second thought, does watching Mad Men count as drinking?  I swear, a couple of episodes of that show and you’ll be drunk just from watching!  Love the show anyway though.)

Now for the two that I feel like I need to work on.  I don’t generally keep a food diary, or even think past the current meal most days, so I’m sure I could use more of a conscious effort to get the fruits and veggies in.  It’s not that I don’t like them, I just don’t plan my meals well enough.  Exercise is another story.  I’d like to justify the 5-9 hours a day I spend on my feet at my job, walking, lifting, bending, etc., as my 30 or more minutes, I know that I can and should do better.

Of course, fitness and getting active is near and dear to our hearts here at Flying Pig Apparel.  After all, that’s why we’re trying to launch our active wear line.  So today I’m issuing a challenge to all of you out there…. get active!

Here’s the guidelines:

  • 3 days a week, 30 or more minutes
  • Any physical activity that you ENJOY
  • No guilt! 1 or 2 is better than 0, just keep trying!

Keep in mind that this isn’t a race.  You’re not competing against anyone.  If all you can manage this week is three 10-minute strolls around a parking lot per day, 3 days a week, that’s great!  If your 30 minute walk is only 1/4 mile total, that’s perfect!  (I like walking outside, can you tell? 🙂 )  If your 30 minutes is boogie-ing to the radio while you dust your living room, boogie down my friend.  How about going to the playground and chasing your favorite kiddo around?  Seriously, when’s the last time you went down a slide?

And the most important part is to have fun with whatever you decide to do!  Tell us about your adventures!  I’ll be keeping you posted via facebook ( and we’ll check in every once in a while here too.

Don’t forget!  Flying Pig Apparel’s kickstarter campaign starts June 1st!  You can be a part of making intelligently designed active wear for every body.  Spread the word!  Like us on Facebook, sign up for email updates from our blog, and follow us on twitter.


Setting Different Goals

On Tuesday, we talked about how Olympic athlete Shawn Johnson succumbed to tabloid pressure to lose weight, even though her (slight) weight gain was completely normal.  In the article, she’s quoted as saying

“I was at the Olympic Games winning medals and I still doubted my image, I doubted what I looked like. That’s sad. Girls should be taught different than that. I think everyone should be taught different than that.”

I think so too. We’ve all seen evidence in our own lives that weight gain and loss is more complex than the simple “calories in/calories out” formula that’s been spouted at us for years.  We all know someone who is naturally slender that eats all the junk food they want and rarely (if ever) exercises, yet they manage to maintain their low weight.  And many of us have followed diet and exercise plans religiously only to find that the scale doesn’t move.  I’m not going to try to discourage anyone from trying to lose weight, that’s a personal choice.  But I’d like you to take the time to think about setting goals in a different way.

So many times, we set a goal for something like “lose 20 lbs by summer” and then have eating right and exercising regularly as the steps to reach that goal.  Then when we have a hard time reaching that goal, we go back to our previous unhealthy habits because the diet and exercise plan isn’t “working” for us.  But what if we’re looking at it backwards?

What if you set a goal of getting 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week?  You might lose weight, you might not, but regardless of what the scale says, exercise is still good for you.  What if you set a goal of getting 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day?  Even if you don’t make any other changes, that’s still healthier than eating junk food all of the time.

The other great thing about setting your goals this way is that when you don’t reach your goal, you’re not any further from reaching it the next time you attempt it.  So say your goal is to walk for 30 minutes, 5 days a week.  Even if you only walk 3 days this week, it’s still better than you were doing before, and it’s not any harder to reach that 5 days next week than it was this week.  But if your goal is to get to a certain weight, if you gain 2 pounds this week you’re that much further away from your goal and it’s even harder to reach that goal than it was when you set it.

Now for what science has to say about all of this:

According to a study published by the Journal of the American Board of Family Physicians, by participating in 4 simple healthy habits, the risk of mortality is leveled across all weights.  You can read the full study here, and toward the end (it’s labeled page 13) there’s a nice bar graph that shows how dramatically these 4 simple habits affect people, especially those with a BMI over 30.

So what are those habits?

  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products
  • Drink moderately (no more than 1 drink a day for women, 2 a day for men)
  • Get 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
  • Exercise more than 12 times per month

My favorite part?  Most of us already do at least one of these things.  And even if you work on one habit at a time, you’re still improving your health and reducing your risk.

Tell us!  What small change are you going to make to improve your health?