Steve's Blog - Big Kidz Jeanz

Being Bold and Innovative at BKJ

Let’s face it: no matter how great my product is I’m smart enough to realize that fashion is a very personal matter.  Everyone has a different opinion of what they like and do not like when it comes to clothing.  Certainly no two closets are alike.  Taking a bold step in to the world of fashion definitely makes me a tad nervous at times.

Too many sleepless nights have been spent worrying about how our product is going to fit your child and look fashionable at the same time.  For now we only have one style of BKJ jeans and one color/style of BKJ track pants to offer.  In the future my goal is to have different style denim to fit the bigger, tall and thin kids such as the “skinny” type jeans as well as more relaxed cut to fit the huskier kids.  Along with that we would have different colors and styles of track pants to offer as well.

Perhaps we will delve in to khaki style pants along with other kinds of denim jeans that are either faded or more stone washed as well as darker shades to give people more choices.  Surely the more choices the better when it comes to fashion.  The possibilities are endless as we all know.  The main focus is trying to cater to what the currents trends are and ride the wave if at all possible.

A couple years ago the more faded style of denim was en vogue but now it seems that kids these days like the darker colors of denim – at least that is what my 8 & 10 year olds are telling me!  All I know is that it can certainly make your head spin at times!  To stay ahead you also have to be innovative and come up with new designs and choices that people will like.

Speaking of which, I truly hope people like the stretch waist band feature we have come up with.  In earlier blogs you will read about the struggles I faced with trying to be innovative and frustrations encountered while trying to incorporate this feature in to my jeans.  If anyone out there wants to comment and provide feedback on this it is most certainly welcome.  Here are some more pics of the BKJ Denim Stretch waist band:

big kidz jeanz kids jeans pants denim bkj husky skinny tall fat

big kids kidz jeans jeanz denim pants waist waistband stretch husky fat tall skinny

Please feel free to comment at bkjinfo@nycap.rr.com

We tried to be innovative and stylish with the track pant design as well.  Nice clean white pin stripes down the side with accent hash stripes that seem to jump at you.  The left leg has our BKJ trademark decoration that is embroidered and seems to pop as well.  To me they are very fashionable and something the kids, and even adults, will be proud to wear.  Definitely know I will be wearing them around town!  Here is picture of our BKJ track pants:

 big kidz kids jeanz jeans track pants trackpants stretch husky chunky fat tall skinny

So in the theme of being bold and innovative I met with my web design team this past week to make the Big Kidz Jeanz (https://bigkidzjeanz.com/ ) web site better.  Within the next month or so you will hopefully see a new, more innovative design than what we currently have. My number one guy who has done a truly great job in giving me more than I could ask for is Alex Silverstein.  His web company is called Unified Digital (http://unifieddigital.com/). I highly recommend them for any type of web development you may need along with a host of other services they provide.  Alex had come recommended to me by several other companies in the Albany area he has worked with.

This past week Alex introduced me to another fellow by the name of Patrick and his company Newkey Media solutions.  They are going to take my web site to the next level and enhance the design to make the BKJ web site look more professional.  Alex did a super job getting me started but for an e-commerce type site that needs to be more visual he recommended Newkey to bring it up to the next level.  In our meeting I looked at some of the web sites he has done and they are fantastic.  I’m very excited to see what they can do for the Big Kidz Jeanz site.  It is looking like late in September that we will be taking the bold step into the world of fashion and ready to sell some custom pants to fit your child!

- Steve

Staying Steadfast and True to Big Kidz Jeanz

So here I sit on my friend Bill’s porch on Sacandaga Lake doing my latest blog.  Not a bad surrounding to sit and write about all the thoughts bouncing around my brain.  The most prominent thought I have is the fact that my jeans and track pants are finally going in to the production phase. It has been a very exhausting and tedious process for sure and way more than I could have ever anticipated.

It really is tough to not place blame on my supplier in NYC.  It does no good to mention names but the whole process could have gone much smoother.  It was only supposed to take 3-4 months at most and now it will turn out to be about 7 months.  Looks like my launch date will be sometime in late September. 

Certainly getting 6 pairs of pre-production samples (3 each of my jeans and track pants) that all came in with a smaller size than requested definitely does not help matters.  It really would have been nice to slip on pair of my own BKJ jeans or track pants and see how they feel and fit.  There certainly were other blunders along the way like a button proof for my jeans that came in “BJK” instead of “BKJ” and embroidery on my track pants with a black “B” sewn out on a black track pant that does not show up at all.

Trying to stay steadfast and true to what I was looking for in building my brand is definitely a tough exercise in patience and sometimes futility. I had specific ideas of how I wanted my product made and really needed to stick to my guns to see that all was accomplished in proper fashion.  Speaking of fashion I do really feel that my BKJ jeans and track pants are very fashionable and of good quality.  Here are some more nice denim pictures I got back from my friend Gabe who freelances as a photographer:

 

To me fashion is a very personal and particular thing and trying to create a new brand that you pray the majority of people and kids will like has many challenges. When I show my pre-pro samples to people I usually get positive feedback.  Sometimes I may get some constructive criticism and I try to accept and also explain what I’m doing. I value my sister’s opinion highly and noted as such in my 3rd blog on “Starting an Online Kids’ Jeans Company Ain’t Easy!”

She had questioned the embroidery on the leg of the track pants and didn’t really like the BKJ letters on there.  Had to explain that I am trying to build a brand and recognition of my company with the product I’m selling just like Nike or Adidas or any other clothing company.  Here is a picture of Track Pants and BKJ lettering I am talking about:

I have always been careful from day one to not have anything on the outside of my product (only on inside label) to say Big Kidz Jeanz so as not to offend anyone. Along the way I have noted and blogged that Big Kidz to me means big tall kids as well as the big husky kids like my oldest son.  So, that I defend and stay true to. As for the “BKJ”, it is important to me to have this on there for brand recognition and something for kids to be proud of hopefully.

In that same theme I have had people say why the name Big Kidz Jeanz and not “Custom Kids” or something of that nature?  Again I am quick again to defend and say I thought the company name was catchy and reflects the product fitting the bigger kids in our society.  Besides if I shortened Custom Kids to CK there is already a pretty famous company that has that trademark by the name of Calvin Klein!  Speaking of trademarks I may have to defend the BKJ mark as there is a jewelry company out there that has the same lettering but we feel obviously our product line does not infringe on jewelry at all.

Enough of being on the defensive and looking at the positives there is a ton to look forward to.  We’re finally turning the corner with the product issues, and focusing on a launch date is very exciting! I can only hope the company will be successful and help change the way people order kids pants.  I still get pumped up when I tell people what I’ve been working on lately and they say “that is a great idea” and then usually they mention they have a child or relative that is husky or too tall for normal pants and they can never find clothes that fit right. 

Well that really helps me overcome the last few months of strife trying to get my product made right.  Time will tell if this idea hatched 6 months ago takes off and people out there get as excited as I do about Big Kidz Jeanz!

- Steve

Getting Closer To Solving Today’s Fashion Problem

Well we are finally getting closer to making this whole Big Kidz Jeanz idea come to fruition. It started out as a frustration with not finding any pants that fit my boys. It seems the whole fashion industry and current big box clothing retailers do not care about making pants that fit the kids that don’t “fit” in to their current model sizes. That is good news for me because I hope to fill this void and bring my Big Kidz Jeanz fashion solution to the market. Soon enough parents and relatives will have a place to turn to where they can find custom length jeans and track pants to properly fit the kids (as well as adults) that are husky or too tall and thin to fit off the rack sizes.

My BKJ jeans and track pants will be going in to production some time this week.  From there I am told it could take a couple weeks and then we have the whole slow boat from China thing which I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs.  All in all we are looking to launch in about a month or so hopefully.

The waist band issue finally came to a resolution that I am pretty satisfied with.  Originally I wanted a sliding waist expansion like there is on khaki style slacks, but it is just not do-able on denim material.  What we came up with was a slit in waist band and an elastic expansion that will allow some give to the jeans.  Here are a couple pictures when waist is closed and expanded:

jeans big kidz jeanz kids jeans samplebig kidz kids jeanz jeans pants preview sample

You can see in the first (closed waist) picture we finally got the back tab right so that my BKJ letters show nicely on the back left pocket similar to other jeans. Here is another picture of the back of jeans with a nice BKJ kraft label on waist band along with front and custom BKJ button:

It is great to finally see the brand I am building come to life.  The BKJ jeans are real nice quality denim that is pre-washed and lightly stressed.  The BKJ track pants are made with a nice quality and weight of polyester material and they look great as well. 

Here are a couple pictures of the track pants: 

In earlier blogs I noted how easy will be for people to go to my site (https://bigkidzjeanz.com/ ) and order.  You just have to measure your child’s waist and inseam (length) and choose proper size from the 2 drop down windows.  This month we’ll be revamping the company web site to have the home landing page show pictures of the jeans and track pants to make it more visual.

Can surely tell you that I will be my first customer!  My younger son who is 8 years old is tall and think and size 26” waist and 24” inseam.  He has gone beyond the 10 slim size offered in stores.  All his pants are always too short and finding a pair of pants that fit is a real challenge.  My older boy who is 10 is huskier and size 32” waist and 25” inseam.  As I have said before I have to take all his pants to a tailor to have shortened and hemmed but at least I had a solution, albeit an expensive and time consuming one.

Last week I ran in to a good friend of mine from way back and was telling him about Big Kidz Jeanz (hate to date myself but we played a lot of golf together out at Cordial Greens Country Club 30+ years ago).  He absolutely loved the idea and shared with me he had the SAME problem growing up and bought jeans from Levi’s Spin.  They were a custom jeans spin off from Levis but cost was $70-80 each pair and it took forever to get them.  He thought it was fantastic that I plan to ship out a custom pair of jeans ($30) and track pants ($25) at a reasonable cost in a just a few days right to your door step.

I guess Levi’s is trying it again with their Levi’s Curve ID, but they are very expensive and geared more for women.  I’m not figuring I’ll be able to fit everyone but I’m trying to focus more on convenience and offering a quality brand and simpler solution.

All that being said, we are definitely getting closer to the solution.  It is very exciting but I also would be lying if I didn’t tell you I was a bit nervous.  I guess the whole fiasco with ordering in custom jeans and track pants has made me that way.  Making sure we have true to size waist measurements has been the other issue along with waistband.  That seems to have been straightened out and feel we are on track for sure now. By the way you all should know I own the SSL’s for Big Kids Jeans (http://www.bigkidsjeans.com/) and BKJ.me (http://www.bkj.me/) so those web names may be easier to type in browser or remember. Please be patient and hopefully the wait will be worth it!

- Steve

Building A Future

When I thought of this whole custom length pants idea it was somewhat on a whim, but deep down inside I really knew I was onto something.  Deciding to pursue it further and putting my retirement savings and livelihood on the line was a huge commitment – a commitment I feel was worth it to build a future at BKJ.  Definitely taking the action to start any company is a huge risk.  The risk and investing the money is one thing, but also investing all of my time and energy is certainly another. 

Building a future though means many things to me.  Honestly I’m really trying to think big and see the future of my company and how it can affect several other things.  First and foremost is coming up with a solution to the problem I face with BOTH of my sons on either end of the fashion spectrum.  Second would be the future success of Big Kidz Jeanz and how it may affect my life and my son’s lives down the road.  Third would be the affect my company may have on the whole fashion industry and how they go about conducting business.  They really need to think about all of the children out there they are leaving behind.

In earlier blogs I talked about bouncing my idea off of several well-respected people like my sister Evelyn and many other business associates.  That is when I really started to have the vision for Big Kidz Jeanz being more than a small niche on-line retail store.  As I stated above my goal first and foremost was to help solve the fashion shortfall that many parents have to face with their big husky kids and also the taller, thinner kids. It just seems unfair to me that many of us parents have to fool around with taking larger waist size pants (once you find that pair that actually fits your child) to the tailor and having them hemmed.  OR in the case of the tall thin kids there really seems to be limited options out there and no solution.

So thinking big helps drive me to the future and where I want to take BKJ.  Certainly we assume other retailers will catch on to what we are trying to do here at Big Kidz Jeanz.  Can only hope that we will have a foot hold on this particular niche in the market before the big box retailers catch on.  Future success will hinge upon having an established BKJ brand and one of good quality.  Like to also think that other parents would identify with a single Dad who took the risk for his kids and was the first to really establish an on line site to buy custom length pants. 

We must also realize the convenience of sitting in your home, going to the Big Kidz Jeanz site (https://bigkidzjeanz.com/ ) and ordering your kids pants on line in a simple few steps.  In a few days you’ll have a pair of pants sitting on your doorstep that will fit you child right out of the bag making everyone feel good I hope.  You should check out my product page and see how easy it really is.  Just click on a waist size and length and you are ready to go to the shopping cart.

SO the other main piece of this whole future puzzle as I mentioned is my boys. 

steve big kids kidz jeans jeanz sons boys

The printing industry certainly has not been too kind to my current company (SAF Print & Promotional Products).  The promotional products end of things is going along pretty well but I really needed to do something to secure the future for my boys.  Going along and just barely making enough to pay the bills and take a vacation here and there was not cutting it.  Something needed to happen for me to get reenergized and focused on the future.  The Big Kidz Jeanz venture has certainly been that.  I’m excited for what the future will hold and the success that it potentially may bring.  Heck I may even be the guy you see on some talk show talking about Big Kidz Jeanz and how I started a whole new trend!!  Anyone know Ellen DeGeneres out there?  Wouldn’t that be great exposure!

That being said the future is something to think about and plan for, but nothing you can predict.  For now we need to take the steps to ensure success and chart a day by day course to bring fruition to an idea that was hatched many months ago.  The fact things are taking way longer than anticipated with my supply is very frustrating but out of my control.  More money is invested each day in web hosting, marketing, interest on my credit check loans…and still no product to sell.  The problem is that rushing the BKJ jeans and track pants to market and having them of inferior quality or improper fit could ruin my future.  So best to be patient for now and take the steps to ensure success as best we can!

- Steve

Running Big Kidz Jeanz the “Right” Way

OK, we all must have a few stories about rotten customer service.  Mainly I’m thinking of the nightmarish story of you calling a company and never getting a live person to speak to about your problem.  Then there is the customer service person that really comes across like they could give a hoot about what you are calling to straighten out or whatever issue that prompted the phone call in the first place.

It is my vision to run BKJ the “right” way when it comes to customer service.  I always hope to have a live person you can speak with and help you out with whatever issue you may be having.  Certainly it seems like there are a lot of issues someone could have with a custom pair of jeans or track pants.  Believe me when I tell you I lay awake at night thinking of them all!  The pants are too short or too long, too tight, too loose, not fitting well, not what was expected…the list is endless it seems.  Trying to build the company the best way possible to eliminate as many of the issues that could arise definitely is a challenge.

Making sure you take the steps now to be prepared for shortcomings will hopefully help you on the path to success.  I’d like to share a story about calling Sharp Electronics consumer division the other day and how NOT to run a company.  As you may know we have been having quite the hot and humid summer here in the Northeast.  The house I live in has no central air so I had to buck up and buy window AC units for several rooms. One of my AC units was used and not running properly.  A good friend of mine (and jack of all trades) came over one night and said it needed a new internal main circuit board.  So armed with model and serial numbers I called Sharp to see about ordering a part.  It was painful trying to get to a live person.  Finally when I did she said I had the wrong area and put me back in to the queue and I was right back where I started.  So after 5+ minutes on hold I finally got someone who seemed like they could help.

They wanted my name of course first.  Then it was my address, then my phone number, and then my email, and I think they would have asked for my first born if I hadn’t stopped them and asked if they could just see if they have the part available before they kept on asking me for more personal information.  So they put me hold for another 5 minutes and came back and said that a different company all together handles parts for them and proceeded to give me their phone number.  So I asked “what the heck did you need all that information from me for then” and the reply was to “give me a case number”!  I said, “why do I need a case number when you do not have the part and why the heck would I be calling back?”  The rep on the other end didn’t quite know what to say to that.

So that is NOT how I would handle customer service here at Big Kidz Jeanz! It’s crazy that a company so huge has lost sight of such a simple and important thing as taking care of your customers.  They were more concerned with collecting personal information from me rather than simply trying to help me out and answer my question or ask why I was even calling.  Seems like a pretty basic thing to me:  “ How may I help you?”  That is all I think you need to get started on the right path to good customer service.
           
So I’m still having difficulty with the product.  I’m waiting on my jeans pre-productions sample with the corrections I had asked for over a month ago now.  The track pants came in and they looked good except the BKJ lettering is now too big.  That was my bad.  I asked for them to move it down on the leg and increase the size to 1.5” but it is way too big (picture below).  They are reducing it back down to ¾” and we should be good to.  I wish I was able to have more size scale to offer such as XS (extra Small) and XXXL, but buying 1200 pairs and trying to get an adequate breakdown of each size scale is tough.

Big Kidz Jeanz Track Pants Logo Kids Clothing BKJ

It is certainly frustrating because my goal was to be up and running by the time back to school buying had started. Right now just hoping to have product in before kids actually are back to school. I have to admit, I also run into a lot of adults who say they want to buy from Big Kidz Jeanz!  Certainly I let them know we can fit a good range of adults for sure.  I know I’ll be wearing both the BKJ Jeans and BKJ Athletic Pants around town!

- Steve

Steve Frazee Big Kidz Jeanz Founder

Getting Back to Business!

It was a great week on vacation with my boys. How could it not be when you get to spend quality time with them for a whole week? As a single dad, the hardest adjustment is not being able to see my kids every day. I have equal time and custody, but seeing them only half the time really stinks.

The picture below was from our Yankees game last Thursday! The seats look empty as we got there early. My boys were so psyched to have it be the game Jeter came back. They had their Jeter jerseys on and the Yanks won, so it was a great day! 

  

So getting back to the business of Big Kidz Jeanz and building a custom jeans/athletic pants company is priority #1. Being recharged and ready to go is a good thing, but certain things are still out of my control. I’m still waiting on proper pre-production samples of both the track pants and the jeans. In the last blog I posted with pics of track pants, the “B” in BKJ had to be edited to show it as white because it came in sewn out in black thread on black fabric. I’d blogged about it being sewn out in black thread on black fabric. It is pretty silly that a manufacturer would do that, and when I showed my 8 & 10 year old they immediately thought the same thing!

For the jeans, we are still working out the waistband. It turns out that denim is a lot harder to work with than khaki type material, so the exact construction that I wanted can not be done on denim material for jeans.  We are compromising and coming up with a side slit construction and elastic to still allow for some give.  Here is a picture of what I was sent the other day:

big kidz jeanz waistband denim jeans kids husky stretch pants children

So the back to business beat goes on at Big Kidz Jeanz, and realize I still need to have diligence along with lot patience and that it certainly is not easy. The hardest part is the manufacturing end of things right now. That is holding up not being able to get good pictures on my web site (waiting for proper pre-production samples to take true pictures of my product). Once we get pictures, my web team plans to revamp the BKJ site so that is it more visual and highlights the product even better.

Hopefully in my next blog I’ll have more and better pictures to show you. In that blog I’ll be writing about the vision I have for BigKidzJeanz.com (http://www.bigkidzjeanz.com/) and growing it in to a household name.  Also want to tell about how I plan to handle customer service. There are a lot of things I do not like about how other companies handle their customers. Certainly BKJ’s focus will be on the customer, because without them there will be no business to get back to!

Looking Back on Independence Day at Big Kidz Jeanz

Without our freedom there would be no choice to start your own business.  It means everything to have the ability and freedom this country offers to go in to business for yourself.  We sometimes take for granted all the freedoms we have.  Let us recognize and be thankful for this, especially with the sacrifices that have been made and are still being made to this day.

While we are on the freedom theme, you should all know I’m on vacation next week with my boys and will not be blogging.  It is certainly nice to have the freedom to spend some quality time with my boys.  We plan to head to my camp in Adirondacks for a few days.  We’ll do some kayaking, fishing, hiking, 4-wheeling, swimming and camp fires at night. Then we will spend a day at Jiminy Peak’s Mountain Adventure Park, which is tons of fun. We’re also going to a Yankees game during the week. It will be nice to take a break from some of the stress and pressure of trying to build Big Kidz Jeanz.

Speaking of which, I finally have some real live pictures of my product posted at the bottom of this entry! Hopefully you like what I’m trying to accomplish as far a building a brand along with quality and comfort.

As for the track pants, I have a picture of those as well.  Please note one of the issues I had was that the “B” in BKJ came in with black thread on black fabric.  Obviously that doesn’t work too well, and does not show up at all.  Clearly I had asked for the “B” to be sewn out in white thread along with my Red “K” and Blue “J”.  Again this is another issue I had with my prototypes coming in wrong.

Things are coming together finally and it feels great to actually get in live samples of product.  It is certainly a good thing they do an actual product proof or live sample before they go running 1200 pairs of each. It would not have been good otherwise with all the issues faced with prototypes being wrong and my PO not being followed correctly. One of the big hurdles that may arise is not having enough product to sell or running out of certain waist sizes etc.. You have to buy a minimum of 1200 pairs of any custom made item such as a denim jean or athletic pant. It would be nice if I had more money to invest in the product, as I feel pretty confident they will sell.  One thing I say to people when they ask if I’m nervous about being stuck with a bunch of custom made jeans and track pants is, “well they aren’t tomatoes and surely won’t go bad!”

So having the freedom to start your own custom clothing company is pretty awesome. Of course it is nerve racking and a big risk, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, they say! It will be great spending some time with my boys and hopefully forgetting about Big Kidz Jeans (http://www.bigkidzjeanz.com/) for a little while. I know when I get back to work it will be a big push to get everything in line for when we go live.

I hope you all enjoyed your freedom and your 4th of July!!

BKJ Big Kidz Jeanz prototype sample jeans kids husky child denim tall BKJ Big Kidz Jeanz prototype sample jeans kids husky child denim tall button label BKJ Big Kidz Jeanz prototype husky denim child kids clothing jeans back label

Back On Track

Well, after the last couple weeks (and last couple blogs) it is good to be back on track.  I had a good conversation with my supplier in NYC today and it seems like the factory in China is going to come through on some of the product issues I was concerned about.  I guess I could have given in on some of the features that were at stake, but I felt the need to fight for us moms and dads out there raising husky and extra tall kids and the Big Kidz Jeanz Company I am building.

The big issue is the invisible stretch waist band feature.  This is something I have wanted from day one and just was not willing to compromise on.  I was told it just is not doable at first with jeans or denim type material.  Somehow after lengthy emails and conversations it seems we can find a solution to make this happen.  My tailor Maria (Maria’s Alterations in Guilderland, NY) was instrumental in helping me understand the issues my production people were having and trying to come up with a solution.  I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with this cool feature, but I really love it and at this point I was not willing to give in to the elastic stretch band and button deal.

You guys out there will understand (I can not vouch for the women reading this blog as I try not to go prancing around in women’s clothes if I can help it!) if you have any khaki pants or shorts with this lovely expanding waistband feature.  You know the one where you have a few beers on the golf course, then you have that big dinner after and the next thing you know you are feeling a little (or a LOT!!) bloated.  It is really something special when the pants or shorts you are wearing have this nice give inside the waistband with elastic built in that no one can see.  It goes way beyond loosening the belt buckle a couple notches for sure!

So how does all of this banter relate to my boys and BKJ you ask? Well I’ll tell you.  My eldest son (him being the husky one) will be real happy when his jeans have that extra give in them when he is playing around or maybe has a heavier shirt tucked in.  As for my younger son who is total opposite and thinner and extra tall, he will like the fact that he may not need a belt at all because his jeans will hug his waist a lot better with the built-in elastic.  Please remember I am not talking about wrinkly elastic waistbands.  I want my waistband to be smooth and not bunched up.

I was hoping to have some pictures of the prototype jeans and athletic pants along with BKJ tags and labels to post along with my blog, but they have not come in yet from my photographer.  How I came about getting my photographer is another story in itself that relates back to BKJ Blog #3.  Having such great friends and associates to help me along with all of this has been HUGE… (as I write this I am saying it like Billy Fucillo – I have to give him credit on that; if you are from the Northeast you certainly know of him!).  My youngest son plays baseball with another boy whose dad was taking photographs of all of the players all season long.  It dawned on me he might be good for taking product pictures and eventually pictures of my kids or youth models in my jeans and athletic pants.  So I reached out to him and he is on board and really psyched to help me out.  He’s very excited for me and glad be a part of my new Big Kidz Jeanz venture.

All that being said, it is nice to be “back on track”. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you need to adjust and regroup to find a solution and work it out.  I did blog about how it ain’t easy building a jeans company (http://www.bigkidzjeanz.com/blog/starting-online-kids%E2%80%99-jeans-com…) and surely that rings true day in and day out.  Well I hope you all keep following me and certainly come back and visit me when Big Kidz Jeans (http://www.bigkidzjeanz.com/) is up and running so that you can sit in the comforts of your home and after just a few clicks you’ll be back on track with whatever you were doing after ordering a pair of jeans or athletic pants to fit your kids on my web site!
 

Patience is A Virtue

Yes, patience is a virtue, and certainly one I am struggling with lately.

It has been 5 months since I thought of the whole custom length jeans/athletic pants thing, and bringing it to market is definitely wearing on my patience. I knew from dealing with overseas suppliers in the past that this stuff can take some time. Let’s also not forgot that once my order is complete, we will still have that whole “slow boat from China” deal. Just so you know if someone says that to you they are not kidding – there really is such a thing as a slow boat from China!

Picking a supplier for this venture has not been easy. I had industry contacts through ASI (Ad Specialty Institute) which is my trade association for buying promotional products. They are a great resource, and perusing through their numerous suppliers was no easy task. Spending a few hours a day for a week talking with various suppliers took a lot of time and patience. I wanted a more local supplier in the Northeast and in the same time zone for various reasons. I ended up with a supplier out of NYC who owns several garment plants overseas. I thought I had a good start here with a more local NYC supplier that owned plants, as this would give me more control. So far, unfortunately, it has not worked out as planned.

I was advised that it might take 3 – 4 months to get the products ready, which was fine with me. I knew that building a brand (BKJ) of my own jeans and athletic pants would take considerable time. The launch date was supposed to be somewhere in the middle of June, but has now been pushed back to July, or perhaps even further.

Every day I run into people and tell them about my new endeavor. The feedback is always positive, and it makes me feel great about trying to bring something to the market place that needs to be there. Most of the time people can relate, as they currently face or have faced that same challenge with their kids. You know those times when the waist fits great but the pants are way too long? Let’s also not forget about the kids that are extremely tall for their age and their darn pants are always too short. I’m excited to be able to help with both of these problems.

How great will it be when you can go to my web site ( http://bigkidzjeanz.com/ ) and finally order a pair of jeans or track pants that will fit your child right out of the bag? From now on, parents of big kids will simply have to measure their child’s waist and inseam, fill in the details online, and place their order. This is where the patience thing comes in for the moms and dads out there who want to buy from me. It’s hard when excited customers tell me they want to order a pair of pants today and I have to tell them I’m not open for business yet!

In my next blog I hope to have some pictures of a few of my BKJ Jeans and Athletic Pants. My Athletic Pants are 100% poly black material with white accent stripes, side seam pockets, and a right thigh logo. Pretty snazzy, if I do say so myself! In building my own brand I was careful not to put “Big Kidz Jeanz” on the outside of the pants, so as not to offend – “BKJ” seems cool enough to identify our brand. To me, being a big kid is not something to be ashamed of, but something to be proud of! I was a big kid growing up and my mom always had to buy the bigger waist size or husky jeans. Luckily, she was always there to cut and hem my pants (you can read about this in my first blog). I am still a big guy now, but I grew in to more standard sizes, fortunately.

So this is where the “patience is a virtue” thing comes in to play for me as well as the moms and dads out there who want to buy from me. Hope you all stay tuned out there and soon I will be up and running. I want all the big kids out there to be able to proudly wear pants that fit.

Starting an Online Kids’ Jeans Company Ain’t Easy!

Big Kidz JeanzOkay, I know the old saying, “if it was easy everyone would be doing it.” Well, that really resonates with what I have going on right now with my Big Kidz Jeanz company. Back in January when I thought of this whole idea, I knew it was going to take some old-fashioned hard work and determination. I figured I would have to draw upon my years of experience running the company I started in 1999 (SAF Print & Promotional Products.) The last 5 years have certainly not been easy, but I’m surviving and proud of that fact. I’m also proud I’ve been able to provide a good job for a tremendous sales assistant who relies on me for a paycheck every month. There have certainly have been a lot of months when I made sure she got paid and not myself.

I’m also blessed with a tremendous network of friends and business associates who are very successful and some own businesses as well. I rely on these people to bounce ideas off of and help give me direction at times. Initially, I received great support and encouragement for my idea and wish to build Big Kidz Jeanz in the first place. I can tell you one of the first conversations was with my sister, Evelyn, in Rochester, NY. I respect her opinion and guidance very much (she is a NYS Supreme Court Judge.) When I told her my idea late in January, she thought it was very viable and encouraged me to start my company. It certainly has not been easy though.

I guess what I did not foresee was the amount of lead-time involved and difficulties with my supplier in NYC. My initial launch date was supposed to be in June and was pushed back to July, and now that may even be in jeopardy. I’m really hoping to launch and get my feet wet before school starts again in the fall.

My pre-production samples for the BKJ Jeans and Athletic Pants (also called track pants) came in, and they were not up to my specifications. This was a real set back but we are working through it. One of the major flaws was the built-in, invisible, comfort stretch waistband for the jeans. I have been marketing this feature all along, and it came in wrong. Instead of built-in elastic, which automatically has give and stretch, it was the pull-stretch elastic with holes and buttons. This I know I can not stand when I have tried to adjust on my boys, and I think many people feel the same way about that as I do.

Everything else has fallen into place. Trademarks, BKJ web site, marketing, banking (being able to accept and process credit cards on my site), shipping, etc. BUT the product is becoming a real hassle and has caused many sleepless nights as of late. Fortunately, things are getting straightened out, and hopefully things are back on track. My big concern is how it has delayed things and tied up a lot of money I do not have. Yes, I’m into my retirement, I sold off most all of the liquid stock I have, and thank goodness for those good old bank checks (you know the ones they send you with your credit card statement with 0% interest for a year but you pay 4-5% transaction fees…)

It would be really nice to get up and running soon here in July. I’m really trying hard to do it right and build my own brand (BKJ) that I would be proud to have my boys wear. I also want them to be proud of what they are wearing and also comfortable. I’m working hard to provide parents the quality and convenience of ordering a custom pair of pants shipped to your doorstep that fit your child. It has been 4 months now since I sent a purchase order, and patience is wearing a bit thin for sure. So, all that being said, remember nothing in life comes easy!

Father’s Day: The Good and Bad as a Single Dad

In my first blog, I wanted to share what made me want to start a company selling pants that fit kids. As I said, it is ALL about my boys, and I wanted them both to feel good about the jeans and pants they wear. I forgot to mention in that first blog that my younger son has exact opposite problem—his jeans are TOO SHORT—but we’ll get more into that another time.

I figured I’d deviate a bit from all that and write about my boys, how much they mean to me, and how much work raising them is—specifically this past Sunday on Father’s Day. I was selling apparel for a client at a trade show last week at Turning Stone and hadn’t seen my boys for four days. After I picked them up Saturday night, we came home and watched a movie. That was all well and good. Sunday was Father’s Day, which sort of seemed like just another busy day of taking care of them and not getting too much of a chance to relax on Dad’s special day.

Father’s Day as a single dad means I make all the effort when it comes to meals, cleaning, laundry, putting away clutter, and the list goes on. The day started great with my two boys snuggling in bed, but then it became the normal day of work. We made waffles and bacon on the grill (my 10-year-old did help me with that, I have to admit) for breakfast. Dad did all of clean up of course. With 8- and 10-year-olds, I get the plates put on counter and maybe put in the dishwasher but not much beyond that. Don’t get me wrong; they love to try and help out when they can and do a great job for me.

Next we mowed the lawn—Dad on his tractor and my 10-year-old helping with the push mower (my 8-year-old took a turn here and there with that). Then I weed-whacked. Oh, I forgot to mention the three loads of laundry going on during all of this. Then we cleaned the driveway and back patio with the leaf blower. I did manage to play some pitch and catch with mfamily photoy 8-year-old, who proudly made All-Stars last week. Next up: lunch, clean up, and a trip to the store to get a bunch of groceries. Since I’d been away, there was no food in the house, and I needed something to cook for dinner. I figured I’d make a roast, so Dad wouldn’t have to spend all his time on the grill (as much as I LOVE to grill, I just figured it would be easier to stick a roast in oven, and two to three hours later, dinner is served).

At this point, the US Open golf tourney was on, and I hadn’t seen a wink of it. You know I would hate to miss ol’ Lefty self destruct and make his 6th runner up finish! By the time I got the roast prepared and in the oven, it was after 3pm. I turned on the Open, poured a glass of wine, and the next thing I knew, I was snoring in my recliner—out like a light! Well, dinner was great, and I cleaned up, but at this point it was time for showers and reading in bed with the boys. The GOOD of all of this is that I spent the day with my boys, and that is the best present any dad could have on his special day. The bad? I really would have loved to relax for the day and spend some real quality time with them, golfing or playing a game.

Unfortunately, as a single dad, only getting equal or shared custody with them is NEVER enough, and along with that, you have to do all the work. I am sure there are a lot of people who can relate. Hope those dads out there who were able to spend quality time with their boys—or maybe get a round of golf in and dinner on the table—appreciate how nice that is, too. Since we are so busy, it’s good to know that once I get my site up and running, you can sit in the comfort of your home, watch the US Open, sip on a glass of wine, and pull out your iPad or laptop to order up a pair of jeans or track pants that fit your kid as they’re shipped right to your door in just a few days!

First Blog: Why I started BigKidzJeanz.com

It all started on a Saturday end of January 2013. I had purchased a pair of jeans and camo pants for my eldest (10 year old) son Alec for Christmas that had been sitting around for a month. I asked him to try them on a to make sure they fit (we’ll come back to this) before I took them to the tailor (yes that is an important piece to this whole story) to have them shortened to fit his length.

Big Kidz Jeanz - Jeans - Closeup

Big Kidz Jeanz – Jeans – Closeup

Fortunately they did fit this time. As always the pants are too long. Anything that fits my son’s waist is always too long. He is a big, husky boy and I was the same way growing up.

Lucky for me my Mom was an expert seamstress and had 2 or 3 sewing machines kicking around and she could hem my pants in no time flat. I remember coming home from school as a boy and there on the dining room table was a whole Simplicity pattern laid out and Mom was making some new fancy dress or something. In fact when I visited her for Thanksgiving she sent a sewing machine home with me all threaded and ready to go. That worked well for the first pair or two of pants then the bottom bobbin wasn’t picking up right and I’ll be damned if I can figure out how to get it threaded right and make it work.

It’s much easier to take the pants or jeans to my favorite tailor up the street at Maria’s Alterations. Let’s face it, nowadays I know women (or men obviously) do not sew like they used to. So I fold up my sons pants to where I think looks good and off I go to Maria’s to have them cut and hemmed. Then it dawned my me – why the heck can’t I just go on line and order my son a pair of jeans or pants that will fit him right off the bat just like I can do when I go on line to order a pair of jeans. I plug in 36 waist, 34 inseam and voila I get a pair of pants in a bag on my doorstep in a few days that 99% of the time fit great. That prompted me to turn on my computer and start searching for a company that makes custom jeans to fit husky kids. Well it wasn’t happening.

I looked for 2-3 hours. Then I checked another day with different key word searches for another few hours and nothing. I tried them all – big and husky jeans, big kids jeans, custom pants, special length jeans… there is nothing out there. Found one company where you can make some fancy designer type jeans but they start at $50+ and I just wanted something simple where I could plug in a kids waist and inseam/length and get some pants. Well that is what got me to thinking “why isn’t anyone out there addressing this need in the marketplace”. The more I got to talking to people I found out many had the same struggles as me. I also found out that people have the opposite problem and their kids are too tall and thin and their pants are too short! Who would have thunk that!

Well I’m trying to tackle that fashion faux pas as well because my 8 year old son Kyle is wearing 10 slim jeans and they are just about too short because is more slender than my older son. So my company should be able to help out those folks as well. I’m tired of running back and forth to the store to return jeans that don’t fit my son and then when I do find a pair I have to take them to be hemmed and wait 2 weeks before I can grab them. So I figured if I could just make it easy for people to plug in a kids waist and length and ship them a pair of jeans or athletic pants that fit it would be a real nice thing. I can only start with 2 products because it takes a lot of money to invest in custom clothes and I’m already in to my retirement but it’s a start. I feel good about helping people like me out there that do not have the time or money to go back and forth to the store several times trying to get a pair of jeans that fit.

I’m a single Dad and run another small printing and promotional products company (SAF Print & Promotional Products) in Albany, NY and it just seems like there is never enough time in the day. I also wanted to make sure and build a brand BigKidzJeanz – BKJ that was fun but had not too expensive, had good quality and made it convenient and easy for people to shop on line.

Heck I even have a built in comfort stretch waist band being built in my jeans so that have a little give to them. I know I have golf shorts and slacks with this feature and I love them. So that is enough for now and really hope that people out there can relate to my story I have told and more importantly now have a solution to a problem they may be facing with their own kids. After all isn’t it all about our kids? Please stay posted for more blogs and information about when I will be up an running and https://bigkidzjeanz.com/ may make your life a whole lot simpler and certainly make your kids feel a whole lot better about themselves when they can get pants that fit right.

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