Laurie Tuck, founder of Wear & Away, never dreamed she would be in the manufacturing business. It was a self-inflicted clothing disaster after a Spray Tan appointment that inspired Laurie. She decided to try and invent a garment that could serve as an alternative and better idea than ruining clothes after spa treatments. She unearthed her daughter’s sewing machine from the basement vault and went for it! A few months later, Wear & Away LLC was born. Laurie hopes to grow Wear & Away into a business that promotes sustainability while also providing products that solve common problems with function and fashion in mind. She is committed to keeping this business in the US and providing much needed jobs in the process. Read our interview with the lovely Laurie below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I had an idea and it would not leave me. I floated this idea to many friends and family and all were very supportive. After presenting it to several salons and testing the prototype with positive results, I became increasingly confident about a true marketplace opportunity.
Tell us about your business.
Wear & Away, designs, creates and manufactures sustainable clothing for a variety of home and salon beauty treatments. Made from 100% polypropylene, Wear & Away products are intended to promote the worldwide effort to reduce, reuse and recycle while keeping both function and fashion in mind. Wear & Away is 100% women owned and we are proud to make our products in the USA.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Beginning in April, we are excited to start offering a special 10% off code for joining our mailing list. We will continue to offer special programs to both new and loyal customers.
Where is your business based?
We are a national e-commerce website. Our manufacturing facility is in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
The first step was to partner with a trusted manufacturing facility that believed on our product and could help with sourcing the best materials. The next step was to develop a website platform to make it easy for customers to shop our Wear & Away collection of products. We chose Shopify. Following those efforts, validation of the market and distribution strategies were put into place.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
We’ve started to establish a wonderful following on our social media channels and are spreading the word and telling our story through publicity coverage.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
With invaluable and excellent feedback from all of our partner and sources, the challenge is to get potential customers to go to the website and purchase. The other challenge is to reach the thousands of salons across the country.
How did you overcome these challenges?
We are overcoming them now by increasing awareness through social media, public relations and forming alliances with trade associations.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Every day is a new day. I truly believe there is a market for Wear & Away and that keeps me motivated as well as encouragement from my family, friends and colleagues. Also, I’ve met so many other women who have started their own companies and they’ve offered support and advice. It feels very empowering to be among a special community of women owned businesses.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
We have a patented product collection and approach. There is nothing else like Wear & Away available in the US.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Establish your brand. Keep at it. Follow every lead. Think out of the box.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Go for it! Follow your dream! However, I think every potential entrepreneur should go in knowing that this can be a challenging time, many up and downs and that you’ll need to invest significant time and funds to make it happen. If that doesn’t scare you off, you have the chops to do it.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
I use LIVEPLAN for business planning. I took advantage of a local resource that helps woman entrepreneurs called The Woman’s Business Development Council and would recommend that anyone interested in starting a business seek out local organizations that are there to help you. Then support them as they do an incredible job.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
Just read Jennifer Weiner’s book “Who Do You Love” for pleasure and it was very good. For business, I read “ The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am continuing to learn every facet of my business. I worked for IBM before raising a family. This is entirely new to me so I have had to learn it all.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goal is to keep raising awareness of Wear & Away and our products and build solid distribution channels.