Mary Michael Designs is making comfortable, breathable, and fashionable Performance Business Attire that is machine washable for women on the move. It is an innovative clothing line that is dedicated to bringing you comfortable business attire that is uniquely structured to provide confidence and style.
* If you make a pledge and my Kickstarter project gets funded, you will receive an e-mail asking which color and size you would like shortly after the end of the funding period.
I am a working professional and I am always on the run balancing work and life. I often wear my athletic clothes when I am not at work because I feel the most comfortable in them. Through experience and research I've learned that feeling confident comes from not just looking stylish but being comfortable in one’s clothes.
And all too often, while I may have looked stylish in my business clothes, I was not comfortable. Sometimes the discomfort was due to the nature of the outfit no matter what I was doing; but many other times I would be uncomfortable because I had to run to catch a bus, or had to squeeze into a hot crowded subway train, and my business clothes left me feeling sweaty and stuffy. So, I decided it's time to do something totally new and create a line of performance business clothing to keep women on the move always feeling comfortable and looking amazing at the same time. I teamed up with my husband Michael, consulted a network of local professional women, and created Mary Michael Designs.
With the right combination of technical fabric and stylish design, any woman can look and feel great without letting her clothes get in the way! In addition, our clothes are easy to care for, so you can spend less time ironing or going to the dry cleaners, and more time pursuing success. Being stylish, comfortable, and easy to care for, you can also wear Mary Michael Designs beyond the office, any place you want to go looking and feeling good - at the park, in a museum, out on the town or even just at home on the couch.
Why wear Mary Michael Designs Performance Business Apparel?
Have you ever had one of these situations?
1) You look good but you can't run to the next meeting (even though you are late) because you will end up feeling sweaty and uncomfortable and the boss or client might judge how you look.
2) You are nervous while giving a big presentation and you are worried about sweat marks appearing. So you spend the duration of the presentation obsessing about the possibility of sweat marks instead of focusing on delivering the appropriate message.
If so, then you need a Mary Michael Designs outfit in your closet! I want working professional to put on my performance business attire and realize they can focus on their work and life and not worry about their clothes, even when they push themselves to achieve success.
In summary, here are the Top 5 Reasons to wear Mary Michael Designs:
1.) Performance fabrics make the clothes exceptionally comfortable to wear
2.) Comfort lasts even when you move and perspire
3.) Designs are stylish and suitable for the office
4.) The clothes are easy to care for and don’t require dry cleaning
5.) Our designs are made right here in the USA
Why do I need your support?
I have invested all of our savings and disposable income on this project since November 2012. The next step, going into production, requires a significant up-front investment since the traditional business model would require us to manufacture everything before we can start selling it. So your support provides us the opportunity to fund the initial manufacturing without going broke in the process!
What will I do with the pledge money?
The money will go towards getting our line into production and bringing the first clothing pieces to you. Without your support, we will have to move slower and/or find another means to fund the first manufacturing. With your pledges we can bring this innovative clothing line to market sooner.
Because we really appreciate and value your pledges, we are offering our clothing at a special Kickstarter rate as a way to say thank you for helping make our dream come true.
First review of the KISS shirt prototype by Catherine, one of our models:
"I brought my Mary Michael Designs shirt to Miami with me, wore it all day yesterday (a full day plus travel back to Philly), and then wore it all day today -- still comfortable, professional looking and doesn't smell or feel dirty! It's a home run, excellent job. I will order a whole bunch once you're selling them."
First review of the Stealth dress by Diana, one of our models:
"Stealth dress... I love dresses, if am not working out, you will almost always find me in a dress. The stealth dress was very comfy to do pretty much anything in."
How Far We Have Come ... and Where We Are Going
During Hurricane Sandy in 2012 I decided to make Mary Michael Designs a reality. It was the first time in a while that I had a chance to sit down and sketch out my designs and ideas. I started building the right team for collaboration, and before long I had created 16 distinct pieces. When I tested the dresses with other working professionals, I realized I was meeting a fundamental need for working professional women who were also looking for outfits that kept them on the move and made them feel confident.
After a few bumps with design delays (who am I kidding, lots of bumps of all shapes and sizes), I finally learned how to get what I needed and who to get it from. I finished the prototype dresses in August 2013. The amazing positive feedback has been OVERWHELMING! My inbox has been flooded with requests for more performance business outfits and more sizes. I spent all of my savings to get those first prototypes made and tested. Now, Mary Michael Designs is ready to launch its first line of performance business attire for women!
We have five pieces ready to go to manufacturing right now, and we are offering those as pledge rewards. We have prototypes for eleven more pieces that we are still finalizing and we hope to be able to offer all sixteen pieces to customers soon. Our plan is to offer our product line at wholesale to retail stores throughout the country, beginning with small local boutiques and growing from there, plus selling through our web site for people that aren't near a boutique. We hope to continue developing new styles for future lines including clothing for men.
We have been working hard building our web site, and invite you to take a look. There you will see previews of all sixteen products we are working on, plus get more information and photographs for the five products we are offering on Kickstarter as pledge rewards. Check it out! http://www.marymichaeldesigns.com.
Pledges and Rewards
The pledges and rewards are listed below with photos. Please note that the designs have been perfected since the time of the photo shoot, so the actual products will look even better!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What are the sizes?
A: We currently offer sizes Small through Extra-Large, which correspond to typical sizes 4 to 14, as shown in the following chart. In the future we plan to offer more sizes.
Q: What body types fit best in your outfits?
A: All body types fit well in our outfits, due to the combination of flattering designs and the stretchy nature of the fabrics. Additionally, our fit model (me!) is a size ML (10), and the other sizes are graded up and down from there, so the sizing is made for real women. This contrasts with typical fashion industry practice which bases designs on super skinny size 0 or 2 fit models.
Q: What colors do you offer?
A: Below are the colors for all the outfits listed on Kickstarter, please note that the actual dye lots may slightly differ from the color below.
Q: What are the care instructions?
A: Run to a few meetings, do a brisk walk down the hall and sweat through a few presentations, then simply wash using the following care instructions:
✰ Wash dark and light colors separately, wash similar fabrics together ✰ Machine warm wash ✰ Use regular or permanent press cycle ✰ No chlorine bleach or fabric softeners ✰ Remove promptly from the spin ✰Tumble dry low or permanent press settings ✰ No dry cleaning needed! ✰ On the rare occasion the clothes misbehave and an iron is needed, use the recommended heat settings for the fabric (polyester = low to moderate heat and bamboo rayon = low heat)
Risks and challenges
With a new clothing line, there are always risks of breakdowns in the supply chain. We have already encountered several challenges with technical designers who were not able to meet our expectations, and we overcame them by rejecting mediocrity until we found quality reliable technical designers, but this resulted in a delay of our product release.
Now that we have five out of a planned total of 16 pieces with completed prototypes, we are ready to take these to manufacturers. We can expect challenges with some manufacturers, so this time we are not putting all of our eggs in one basket. Instead, we will be targeting at least three manufacturers at once so we can avoid the headaches and delays if a manufacturer cannot meet our expectations for quality or schedule.
Overcoming the early technical designer problems made us more aware of the need to cast a wide net when searching for service providers, and that has influenced our approach to the upcoming production steps. As we move further along towards production, we also have an increasingly large network of professionals to advise us and make recommendations, further helping us avoid speed bumps down the road.
Be the first to "be the change" in the Be The Change Sweater. This flowing, lightweight bamboo rayon blend sweater is great for a change of look or covering up due to a change in the weather. Your choice of size and color.
You can set a new fashion reference point in the office with our Cross Reference Shirt. This flattering crossover shirt is designed with sweat wicking anti-microbial four-way stretch polyester. Your choice of size and color.
This is your opportunity to be one of the first to experience one of our most anticipated pieces - the Agile Dress. This versatile stylish V-neck dress features sweat wicking anti-microbial polyester fabric with UV protection. Look stunning on the links or at the office. Your choice of size and color.
Get in at ground level on our other most anticipated piece - the Stealth Dress. Similar to the Agile Dress but with a collar. And just like the Agile Dress, the Stealth Dress can be machine washed and does not need ironing. Your choice of size and color.
Double Trouble dress combo pack. Get BOTH of our hotly anticipated dresses, the Agile Dress and the Stealth Dress. Your only real trouble will be trying to decide which one to wear. Your choice of sizes and colors.
STAR-light Package - Four piece combo pack of the Stealth or Agile Dress (your choice), the Be The Change Sweater, the KISS Shirt, and the Cross Reference Shirt. With this many Mary Michael Designs in your closet, you'll never want to wear traditional business clothes again! Your choice of sizes and colors.
Be a Superstar! - Get all five pieces and be a MODEL FOR OUR WEBSITE, modelling up to two items. Photo shoot to be held in spring 2014 in the greater Philadelphia area. Exact date and location to be announced later. Receive a custom photo book of your professional shots so you never forget how great you look! Travel costs not included, but we will be happy to help with travel arrangements. Your choice of sizes and colors of clothing items.
Be a Megastar! - Get all five pieces and be a MODEL FOR OUR WEBSITE, modelling up to FOUR items. Photo shoot to be held in spring 2014 in the greater Philadelphia area. Exact date and location to be announced later. Receive a custom photo book of your professional shots so you never forget how great you look! Travel costs not included, but we will be happy to help with travel arrangements. Your choice of sizes and colors of clothing items.