Joanne Jarrett, founder of
Joanne Jarrett MD has been working for several years on launching her own loungewear apparel company. She has long been sewing as a hobby, but starting a business took almost as much work as becoming a doctor.
Dr. Jarrett graduated from the University of Nevada School of Medicine in Reno and trained in family medicine. She loved the breadth of family medicine and the opportunity to treat multiple members of a family. She says that her favorite part of medicine was having the chance to alleviate her patients’ concerns. And she still misses that aspect of the job. After her kids were born, she took time off from her work as a family physician, and has been away from patient care for 17 years. But she says that she still considers the possibility of going back to medicine one day.
She started formulating the idea for her clothing company in 2017. Between helping her husband, and endodontist, run his practice, raising her family, and moving across the country, she learned about how to get started in the clothing business, designed the product, and opened shop.
Dr. Jarrett’s was looking for comfortable and stylish loungewear but couldn’t find something she loved. So, she started designing her own. She came up with a prototype design and set out to learn about commercial clothing manufacturing and production.
“I took an apparel production course online that was a multi-unit, in depth education in product development, materials procurement, and manufacturing, as well as marketing,” she explains. She also took several in-person classes to learn more about fabric, quality assurance, and the specifics of working with pattern makers and factories. She recommends that anyone looking into entering the apparel field take a comprehensive apparel production course tailored to those who have no formal fashion education.
She also invested in the process of product development. She found a pattern maker who designed a pattern of each product in multiple sizes with specifications so the factory could eventually produce larger volume. But before sending an item in for production, she would examine the samples, and they weren't always exactly right—so sample revisions were sometimes necessary.
Dr. Jarret explains that it is hard to find a factory to produce apparel for a new company. And there were staffing issues with the first factory she had contracted with—so she had to find a new factory, which delayed the product launch.
When it comes to the financial investment, she provides a snapshot of the cost. “The investment depends on how many pieces the first collection will have. I would say to expect the initial investment to be about $3000 - $5000 per style. The temptation is to start off with a big collection with multiple styles, but I think you can learn the business and test the market with three or four styles and save initial investment.”
The steps that cost money are
Marketing is another challenge that has been a learning curve. An attractive website that displays the products takes time and money to create. And Dr. Jarrett has also been pleased with the popularity of her product among breast cancer survivors.
You can check out her designs at www.ShelfieShoppe.com. And you can contact Dr. Jarrett at Joanne.firstname.lastname@example.org
Physician Success Stories