Hi! I'm Dane Carlson, and welcome to the Business Opportunities Weblog. I've been publishing this website, by myself, and sometimes with the help of others for over twelve years now. You'll notice two things about this site right away:
Women love fashion, and its impossible not to love a piece of fashion that will stay in place. That is the idea behind Tyz Scarves. You can always tie a regular scarf around your neck, or you can mold a beautiful scarf so it will sit on your neck in the position you want it to stay.
These unique scarves have a wire that allows the wearer to mold the scarf into the perfect position. It’s quick, and they’re easy to use.
I recently asked the woman behind the scarf, Ruth, a few questions about her creation.
Tell us a little about Tyz Scarves.
I founded Tyz Scarves in Dec 2010. The inner wiring gives women the styling control they need, and the scarf stays in place all day. Currently we offer one size of scarf in various fabric combinations.
What inspired you to start your business?
It really was about an idea, more that inspiration. I had taken up jewelry making as an art/ hobby and had entered my first juried show. Quite a few women asked about pins. After the show I was thinking about designing a scarf pin…since scarves are such a pain [because] they do not stay in place. I guess since I was working with wire at the time, the thought came to me: what if I embedded wire into the seams? Would that work? I made a crude prototype and I was thrilled. It really was an exciting moment. I immediately went to the computer to see if I could find one and I did not. Then I decided I really wanted to seriously work on development.
How many styles/designs do you currently offer?
Right now there are 16 scarves to choose from. They are all the same size. The difference is in the fabrics.
What was the design process for your scarf like, from start to finish?
The first thing I had to do was find a manufacturer for the wire. It had to be perfect for this application. They ran some tests until they got it right.
I still can not believe I actually found this.
I filed a provision patent for protection. This was not too difficult. I also trademarked the name of the company.
The first sewing company I talked to did not want to touch the project. This worried me, but luckily Dallco in York PA was willing to do the job. Finding fabric was VERY difficult. When you add the fact that the scarves are double sided, this did not make it easier either.
I did not listen to Dallco when they told me to standardize the size, which made life much harder and costlier to me.
I learned a lot about their production process which I found fascinating. I love the manufacturing process and I felt good about supporting a US business.
Now I have inventory to sell and need to plan the next run. It is an exciting time.
What separates you from the competition?
The wiring in the scarf is the primary reason this product is different. I will promote the “Made in USA” as a major part of our brand.
I want to develop strong brand loyalty with customers. It is the only way to sustain the business. This is what can separate a US small business from a large retail store.
Do you have any goals you’d like to accomplish over the next year or so?
I hope that this product will eventually become a national brand. One that stands for everything that I believe the US stands for: strength, ingenuity, entrepreneurship, love of country, and helping others less fortunate the opportunity to succeed.
What are some lessons your business has taught you?
After having a service based business, I still have a lot to learn on this. Making genuine connections with customers is critical.
I have done a lot on my own and now I am working with a SCORE mentor to take this to the next level. So I will be making more planned decisions in the future, as opposed to instinctual.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes. I would like to ask the readers to buy one of these scarves for a xmas gift for themselves or someone they know and tell them the story. How many times do you get to purchase a new invention as a gift for the one you love??? Seriously, we all need to support each other. We all need to buy a Starbucks coffee, or cupcakes from the baker down the street. If you are in the position to buy from others, it is good and you need to feel good about anything you purchase.
Do you have any advice you’d like to offer fellow entrepreneurs who are just getting started?
I think that despite the economic times, there is always opportunity. I do not think I could have done this 20 years ago [because] no manufacturer would have worked with me then. There are others that are doing this. No matter who you are or what you are doing, do not let the outside world keep you from taking your next step. Every night I read positive and motivating books to help keep me going.