After seeing one too many blouses and shirts having been ruined by spills, Kathy Steck was driven to create the Cravaat™. Steck, a former production and plant manager, incorporated her love of scarves into the design of an “adult bib”. Soon she created her company called DinerWear ™ and began marketing the Cravaat™ to seniors.
The fabric is microfiber but feels like ultra-suede with more body. Most stains wash out and will even wipe clean. And it comes out of the dryer relatively wrinkle free. It also looks good and can be worn just as one would wear a scarf.
Steck quickly discovered that Cravaats™ weren’t just for seniors. Whether you’re physically challenged or just want some insurance that you will come away from the table, (or car, or plane) with clean clothes, the Cravaat™ will help. The company’s mantra is, “An ounce of protection is worth a pound of laundry.”
Steck has tapped into the Center for Empowerment and Economic Development resources by attending Entrepreneur Roundtable events for the past several years. Steck met It was at the 7 Simple Steps to More Profitable Sales presentation that Steck met presenter Deb Loeser, CEED Women’s Business Center manager. The CEED Women’s Business Center is an SBA funded resource partner that provides management and financial assistance to women business owners in Michigan. Loeser started working with Steck on her branding and messaging and started making referrals to the startup company. Over time Loeser has been a sounding board for important decisions Steck has had to make. A as a result of the counseling provided by Loeser, Steck has been very careful about growth and has reinvested what the company is earning. DinerWear™ is debt-free and the hard work has started to pay off.
DinerWear™ sales are up nearly 500% over last year, due in large part to the improvement in implementing search engine optimization on the company’s website. For example, she learned what key search words to use in describing her products. Although reluctant at first, you will see the term “adult bib” on the DinerWear™ website. Now, the orders are flowing in more regularly. Recently DinerWear got a small mention in Parade magazine, which resulted in an influx of orders.
Dinerwear™ won the 2013 Caregiver Friendly® Awards presented by Today's Caregiver magazine for a product that has been designed with the best interest of the caregiver and his or her loved one in mind.
The future looks bright for this creative entrepreneur. The next time you experience an unfortunate spill, you’ll be thinking of the Cravaat™ too!