Sustained forests; sustained profits

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Outfits

A clothing-related enterprise, Outfits creates a fit and wearability approval service, produces some clothing items, provides advice for industries, markets computer-designed clothes-maker mannequins, and markets a computerized personal-pattern producer.

The enterprise is highly specialized in attempting to provide comfortable, long-wearing, and healthful fits. Slogans like "Survive Fit", "Fit to Survive", and "Survival of the Fit" abound.

An emphasis is on outdoor clothing, designed at Virginia Tech in joint efforts with the students and staff of the College of Natural Resources. Needs are studied, designs developed, and tests run on areas of the Lasting Forests.

Other clothing may be sent by manufacturers or retailers and are subjected to rigorous tests in the lab and field and real working conditions. "If your garment can past our consumer test, you can say it works in the Lasting Forest!"

Only a few clothing products are made for, by design, people expressing such interest do the work in the homes, part-time, and deliver the quality needed. Types of such products include hats, vests, a research device (a "tatter flag" to measure wind stresses in ecological communities), vest attachments, gardener pants, and horse riding gear.

Part of the concept is to develop a distinctive type of clothing worn by people in the region (at least on Lasting Forests) or sold to tourists and visitors.

All of the clothing needs (low cost, efficient, safe, distinctive style and color) of the other enterprises of the Lasting Forests will be addressed. Specialty testing services will be offered.

A buyers' cooperative may be formed.

A new form of clothing for confined people of advanced age will be designed and marketed.

The Needs:

1. The latter is an increasing, recently recognized need with several solutions.

2. Field and outdoor safety is emphasized in some agencies (e.g., U.S. Forest Service) but is rarely emphasized elsewhere. A market exists for work in this area, especially to offset rising insurance costs.

3. Lasting Forests should be able to achieve economies if all employees wear optimal clothing (multiple criteria).

4. The national and international garment-clothing system is said to have limited scientific development. Opportunities for improved fit (and related markets) exist, especially in the U.S. where body shapes are heterogeneous.

5. Buying power of the people of the region may be increased by economies of scale developed for producing high quality clothing of the types outlined above.

6. Potentially high net returns in this area may offset some low returns in other Forest enterprises.

Customers:

  1. Loggers
  2. Bean, Orvis, and similar companies
  3. Clothing manufacturers for mannequins
  4. Local citizens (regional--all clothing outlets)
  5. Filson for new vests and garden pants
  6. Bee keepers for specialty clothing
  7. Nursing homes and hospitals for advanced-age specialty clothing
  8. Riding clothing - Stables enterprise participants
  9. Computer produced patterns - all fabric stores
  10. Gardeners
  11. Campers
Affiliation is with the College of Human Resources, Virginia Tech.

Dr. Joann Boles will be is Chief Designer.

Estimated development costs.....$100,000

Estimated profits (5th year).. $150,000

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Last revision January 17, 2000.