Throughout my time at Kingston University, there have been several lessons that have to learn, knowledge to be taken, and experiences to be shared. I remember since the first days, during introduction week, we all were warned about what was going to be ahead us, but I don’t know how fun it was gonna be and how interesting is the fact that sometimes, there’s so much more to learn outside the classroom; rather than just take some lessons and list into the lecturers, they encourage us to go outside and learn by doing, maybe having a couple of mistakes, but at the end, the knowledge comes from fixing what we did wrong and learn on how not to do it again.
Dragon’s Den was the first time we faced the reality of taking our product to others, waiting for constructive feedback and hoping to improve, develop and keep working on them. We had one more than the month to keep working on what we had to keep doing. My team, Circulus, had a few tasks to do before moving forward to the next step.
Firstly, we realized our company name, “Goodwood”, already exists, so we had so come up with a new name that reflected what we do. Then, EQUALYTIE was the answer to the problem, it sums up what we are and what we do, we produce bow ties to raise awareness about the lack of gender equality among several sectors of society. Having that solved, we had to keep working on everything else. Once we kept working with people and having their feedback we realized we had an incredible product, but the way we were doing it was not the right for our final users/ target audience. They wanted a smaller piece of fashion that could be worn at any time and at the same simultanely, reflects the support the give to the cause.
So, we decided, instead of having a regular size bow tie, we were gonna create small pins to be worn on the side of a jacket, what a nice way to support a cause!
The time was coming, lots to be done, and sales to be performed.
During the research we made with external people, we figured out that our users wouldn’t like to ruin their clothes while using our product, (it might happen when you use a needle pin) so we started using powerful magnets that could provide the same use and strength we were looking for.
Trade Fair week arrived, so we started putting the hands on the good. It was not easy to find the proper materials, to be honest, especially the wood, always trying to have the best one with the lower price was very challenging for our company, however, we managed to find the perfect supplier to help us with the task.
Once we had all the materials it was just a matter of time to keep working. We had the chance of using the laser cut machine services provided by the Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture, how convenient is for us to have that kind of facilities to be able to produce and create. The process was simple, give the technician the Adobe Illustrator file with the design and the machine does all the hard work.
Isn’t it great? During the hour booked for the laser cut machine, the team decided to go to the wood workshop and keep working on out stand. As our company product was made, out stand had to represent who we are and what we are selling so we decided to make every decoration by wood as well. At the end, the resource was free at University and it fits entirely to EQUALYTIE.
The day arrived, the nerves were killing us. What’s gonna happen at the Fair? What if our product turned out to be a complete failure? Those were some questions/ concerns my team had before the event, to be honest. But fortunately we did have a very positive response to the product. During all the event we had multiple kinds of people getting to know EQUALYTIE. What our users mostly liked about the product was the story behind it and the fact that it represented a good cause in a representation of a fashion accessory. We had a very important feedback from the judges, who suggested us to work on a simple form on gender equality issue, such as education, work industry, society, etc.. Due to the fact that gender equality problems are very general, so if we can focus on only one category it would be easier for us to reach our target audience.
During the 5 hours that the Fair lasted we did have the time to explore ourselves, individuals, as a team and as the business that we are. It was also very helpful to hear the advice and suggestions that others teams made to our company. I truly believe now, that having an outsider point of view of the general situation and the product can change or settle decisions on questioning of what we are doing is either right or wrong. The reason is that we don’t know any of our processes and methodologies, they can only see what our customers are gonna see, the company and the product we distribute. And the fact that they are related to the making and creating the process we have been through its very helpful for us to take advantage of those points of views the might have.
Additionally, as a team, we all learned so much about each other, sometimes it can be difficult to work with another kind of ideas that are quite different than yours. Each of us has a unique personality, and multiple skills, so we learned how to take advantage of those skills and making our team stronger, instead of dividing us. We also learned on how to share positive feedback in a constructive way, so we can be able to take actions and get rid of the problems we might have. Honestly, that was one of the most challenging achievements I think we had a the fair.
The event ended up being a good representation of the real market we all will have to face in a few weeks. Because at the end, this is a good example of how the outside market works, you have a company, a product, and customers, and you’re here to satisfy them and create a lifetime relationship. There still lots of work to do, preparation for the second fair, Bright ideas competition is on its way and our team is already thinking, creating, making and producing more value to our brand. So we can achieve our business goals.