Raise your hand if you woke up this morning with a sore wrist and index finger. It’s okay–you’re not the only one who spent yesterday clicking away for online deals on Cyber Monday.
A reported $2 billion was spent by consumers on everything from electronic gadgets to toys and of course, clothing. Have a shopping headache? Well, we’ve got the cure for you–our latest spotlight story!
Allow us to introduce Julia Kastner, CEO and founder of the denim clothing line, Eva & Paul. Kastner stopped by the blog to talk about how surveys inspired her to take the plunge and start her own company straight out of business school.
Take it away, Julia.
“Am I the only one who hates shopping for jeans?”
This was the question I had in mind whenever I found myself thinking about starting a new denim line. While still a student at Harvard Business School, I decided that I wanted to make jeans for women that were better fitting, comfortable, and yet stylish. What I didn’t know? What if I was the only one who walked into a dressing room with 12 pairs of jeans only to walk out with one pair, (if I was lucky), that actually fit me. As part of my course work, I set out to discover how other women feel about their jeans. Do they experience as much frustration as I do? Turns out–they do indeed. Here’s how I found out…
First, I met with five women in person just to chat about their jeans. What did they like about them? What didn’t they like? Favorite brands? How about size and fit problems–too tight, too loose? Through this qualitative research, I developed a hypothesis–my guesses for the true and final answer. But, how could I tell if these women were truly representative of the jeans-wearing population?
Some of my classmates recommended SurveyMonkey, so I decided to give it a try. With the ability to include images, I was able to give my survey respondents a visual choice of jeans they preferred. My goal was to better understand women’s preferences for color, style, fit, back pocket design, etc. I then asked questions about common fit problems–for example, “Do your jeans often gap at the back”? I also asked participants for their demographic information in order to analyze their answers by age, geography, etc. After I finished designing my survey, I sent it out, posted it on Facebook, and then my professor also shared the survey link to his wife’s female friends.
The results from this survey ended up informing the design decisions for my jeans. It also confirmed some of my original hypotheses–namely, that women prefer dark, simple styles, to the messy, distressed, and light colored ones. I also learned that women, ages 30 years and older, are more likely to prefer bootcut jeans than the younger women (ages 20-30) I surveyed. This younger demographic’s tastes were split, with 50-50 preferring skinny jeans, and only 30% of younger women preferring the bootcut style.
Thanks to the feedback and data I collected with my survey, I not only knew how to go about designing my product line but I also had the information I needed to create a better overall jean experience for our customers.