It took me a while to muster up the courage to write this. I’m a woman of my word and it’s important to me that my friends, family, pole sisters, customers, clients, etc. can rely on that. That’s why, I intentionally never announce what I’m going to do until it’s already done.
About 5 months ago, I thought I was doing that when I announced that Curvy Girls Pole would be launching a line of knee pads exclusively for plus size pole dancers. I had been working with a manufacturer on and off for about a year trying to perfect these plus size knee pads. It was important to me that I would be delivering, not only a quality product, but a product that would fit EVERY plus size pole dancer, and that’s exactly what I received.
The day that I received my final sample order with the sizing that met my final specifications, I was so excited. I had FINALLY done it! I was about to launch a line of knee pads that no pole dancer could say, “but those don’t fit me!” I took a picture of them, and posted it in the plus size pole dancer group on Facebook, letting our community know – WE HAVE KNEE PADS THAT FIT US, YA’LL!
I was so elated! I could not believe that this long-term project was finally complete, when the biggest possible “oh shit!” moment happened – I was contacted by a U.S. manufacturer, letting me know that they saw the photos that I posted and an element of my knee pads may be in violation of a U.S. patent.
Despite the fact that I was not (and still am not) sure whether or not I was actually in violation of the patent or not, that was a HUGE wake-up call. This was my very first time getting something manufactured and, if i’m being completely honest, it scared the hell out of me. After I consulted with counsel, my fears ultimately subsided, but I still chose to cease production of those knee pads with that manufacturer altogether.
Looking back, while it caused me a lot of fear and anxiety in the beginning, I’m oddly grateful for the learning opportunity. I was able to see a very important step with getting anything manufactured – especially when dealing with vendors that you lack visibility to.
Fast forward to now! I am still interested in manufacturing plus size knee pads, especially now that I have the sizing to where I would like for it to be, but I’m being much more cautious this time and thoroughly exploring manufacturing and licensing options. I don’t have an ETA at this time, but I will absolutely keep you all looped in as things progress.
Please let this be a lesson to anyone venturing into business. Do all of the necessary research, get all of the permits, licences, trademarking, etc. you need. File your business income, file your sales tax, do ALL THE THINGS, because it’s never fun having something you’ve grown really passionate about come to bite you in the ass later, because you didn’t do your due diligence.