* UPDATE: Forest and Fin has launched a Kickstarter campaign! *
Imagine for a moment that you are biking in a skirt. You have one hand on the handlebars and one hand holding down your skirt in the front. You struggle to keep your hem out of the greasy bike chain, maintain your modesty, and keep a keen eye out for traffic. To put it simply, it’s awkward. Savannah-based Forest and Fin have created the Bicycle Wrap Skirt to combat this problem. This startup recently won at this year’s FastPitch in both the product category and overall. Forest and Fin will also be showcasing their design at One Spark 2015, the world’s largest crowdfunding festival April 7 – 12 in Jacksonville, Florida.
Founded by Lara Neece, “we’ve created a bicycle friendly wrap skirt with hidden fasteners to prevent fly-up and pockets to secure valuables,” says Neece. “Unlike sportier bike skirts on the market made of spandex and polyester, the Bicycle Wrap Skirt is made with soft sustainable materials right here in the USA, and is versatile enough to wear to the office or to the park and everywhere in between.”
According to the 2011 US Census, there were 40 million women between the ages of 20-40. “While I’ll be targeting urban women who bike regularly, the market isn’t limited to that demographic,” explains Neece. “Because the functionality of the Bicycle Wrap Skirt is hidden, our skirt looks like a normal skirt and therefore is marketable to both cyclists and non-cyclists alike.”
Lara is an award-winning artist and self-taught graphic designer. After living on a small sailboat for three years, she spent many years biking in skirts, and many years looking for the perfect skirt to bike in, but couldn’t find one that fit her needs and desires. “When I decided to expand my current brand, which offers earth-friendly screen-printed t-shirts, to offer functional sustainable apparel that helps people spend more time outside, naturally, I decided to come up with a solution,” recalls Neece. “It makes perfect sense, if you consider it; biking instead of driving is a great way to increase your time outdoors.”
As a Savannah resident, Neece loves living on Georgia’s coast. “Savannah is my muse; living in such a beautiful, walkable and bikeable city is an inspiration,” she expresses. “There is nothing better than being able to hop on your bike and get to the grocery store, coffee shop, park, and waterfront easily, enjoyably, and without polluting the environment. Plus, it’s such a joy to ride underneath 300-year-old oak trees draped in Spanish moss.”
Last year, Forest and Fin completed a six month sustainable product development program, streamlining their design, setting up a supply chain, and planning their launch. This spring they are looking to raise $20,000 to cover production minimums for their first run of skirts and additional funds of $75,000 to implement their wholesale strategy, lease a workspace, and cover marketing expenses. “With funding, we can move beyond a successful product launch to our bigger goal: expanding the Bicycle Wrap Skirt into a line of functional clothing that helps people spend more time outside,” says Neece.
Forest and Fin are currently looking for help in sales, marketing, and social media. Inspired by her project? “Let’s join forces!” she says.
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