Thermal Flexi-vest  

Flexible, customizable, wraparound vest. Keeps you warm without breaking the bank.

Our Idea

Who are we?

An engineer from the warm cozy tropics, trying to survive and thrive in the icy Canadian winters. I am interested in developing cost-effective solutions for everyday problems. I am an international graduate student at the University of Calgary. At present, I am working on this idea by myself. I might add more team members in future based on requirements.

What are we offering?

An inexpensive and lightweight garment to provide extra warmth when needed. This is a wraparound vest which keeps your upper-body warm by reflecting body heat back and trapping heat by providing a layer of insulation. The vest is made of 2 layers of corrugated cardboard roll sealed on all sides for insulation and reinforced at edges and along folds for durability. A thermal reflective sheet is attached on the inner side to reflect body heat.

The vest is available in custom sizes and is fastened around the body using the Velcro straps attached on outer side, for a comfortable fit. The outer side is sprayed with a water-resistant coating to protect against moisture. The vest is meant to be worn inside your existing jacket, so it does not need to be water-proof to protect from snow. And all this for a great price of just $10!

A deluxe version is also available that has a soft fleece lining instead of the reflective sheet on the inside. This cozy fleece version sells for $15. Both versions are available in multiple designs and you can also print and stick your own design on top to customize the look as per your taste.

A bonus feature of our vests is the modularity: you can attach an additional layer over the outer layer using the velcro patch, for those days when additional warmth is needed. These add-on modules are available in multiple colours and designs and can be purchased as and when needed.

If for any reason you are not satisfied with the vest, return it within 30 days for a full refund (along with my sad tears 🙁 )

(All prices are quoted in Canadian Dollars)

 

Who are we offering it to?

Mainly international students who have arrived in Calgary from warmer climates. They would need multiple layers of clothing to keep themselves warm but find it cumbersome to carry so many jackets. This vest also helps students on a budget to reduce their spending on winterwear.

The primary usage of this vest is to provide extra warmth on the go when temperature drops suddenly. Rapid temperature swings are a characteristic feature of Calgary’s weather for which one needs to be prepared at all times. This vest comes in handy for those situations when you are wearing a jacket that provided sufficient warmth when you set out, but the temperature drops suddenly. At that moment you can just whip out this vest and wrap it around your torso without even taking off your jacket. It is easy-on, easy-off.

Why does that person care?

Students from warm countries need to buy a lot of expensive winterwear as soon as they arrive, in order to keep themselves warm in winter. Being unused to Calgary’s temperamental and rapidly fluctuating daily weather, they are unsure of how many layers they need to carry all the time. As students trying to survive on a shoestring budget, they are always looking for affordable alternatives to daily necessities.

Our product provides an affordable solution to the problem of keeping warm. While it does not replace an outer jacket, it supplements it by providing extra warmth and eliminates the need for an additional insulating inner vest. At a selling price of $10, our product provides significant savings. The vest can be rapidly wrapped around the torso whenever needed, without even taking off the jacket you are wearing.

Our distinctive competencies

My distinctive competency is primarily the access I have to the fairly large community of international students at the University of Calgary. This gives me a large base of potential customers to whom I can pitch the product. Since I am a student, it would be easier for me to convince International Student Services and the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) at the University to help me promote the product to the new batch of international students who arrive in the Fall or Winter term every year. I am trying to convince FGS to hand out these vests to incoming graduate students as part of the Orientation week welcome kit.

Since I have a large number of friends who would be interested in such a product primarily due to the affordability, I have a safe group to try the initial version of the product on, and get valuable user feedback.

The product itself is easy to imitate, so I would make use of the first-mover advantage and leverage my network to get the product into the hands of as many people as possible as fast as I can.

The substitutes & alternatives

The substitutes are regular fleece warmers and other insulating vests and jackets which are all higher priced. There are few competing solutions at this price point, with the feature of modularity to add as many additional layers as needed.

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Our Pitch

Our concept pitch

Our personal pitch

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The Value

Our first key person

Our first key person is Carlos, an international student who has just arrived in Calgary to begin his graduate studies. He comes from a tropical country in South America, where the weather is always warm. He has not experienced anything like the Canadian winter and is trying to prepare himself for the freezing cold. However, being a student he is surviving on a tight budget and is trying to limit spending at the start of the school year. Hence, he is looking for affordable winterwear.

Carlos has heard that the temperature in Calgary can change drastically in a matter of a few hours and so it is important to always carry multiple layers of winter clothing. He is weary of spending on many layers and having to lug them around all day along with his bulging, heavy backpack.

Our promise to Carlos is that the Thermal Flexi-vest will help solve some of his problems. The vest provides additional warmth when needed and can be worn inside a regular jacket or shirt. Since the vest is foldable and lightweight it can be stacked along with his books in the backpack. And critically, the vest is highly affordable and does not cause any dent in his wallet.

 

 

Our second key person

Our second key person is Jennifer, who is in charge of Orientation week activities at the University of Calgary. She manages the various workshops and programmes organized by the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) for incoming graduate students at the start of the Fall and Winter terms. She is specifically interested in programmes for International students, since she is on the committee tasked with improving intake of international research students as part of the Eyes High initiative.

She cares because she wants to help make the transition to Calgary/Canada smoother for international students. Since adapting to Calgary’s temperamental weather is one of the main challenges that these students face, she would be interested in ensuring that they are equipped with useful information and resources to help them adapt.

Our promise to Jennifer is that the Thermal Flexi-vest is an effective and low-cost solution to help students deal with sudden drops in temperature. It can be included with the swag that is provided to the students during O-week registration. We will customize the outer side of the vest with FGS and UofC branding as per requirements. Unlike regular swag items which are not used often, this is something that would be useful to students for the entire season.

 

Our third key person

Our third key person is Mike. He is the person in charge of procurement for the University of Calgary Bookstore. Mike is always interested in stocking the Bookstore with various novelty and fun items that students need or would be interested in, apart from the regular staple of textbooks, stationery and general books.

Mike cares because he wants to make the Bookstore the go-to store for checking out cool, new stuff that would be useful to students and also affordable. Further, the Bookstore carries a variety of items of clothing at various price-points with either UofC or Dinos branding. A major portion of these is winterwear. Mike would be interested in stocking more affordable winterwear.

Our promise to Mike is that our product, the Thermal Flexi-vest would help the Bookstore offer a cool, unique form of winterwear at a very low price point. We provide complete freedom to Mike to specify the nature of branding that the Bookstore would like to see on the vest.

 

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Your feedback and ideas

Feedback on our idea and your assessment of it are incredibly important. Please provide yours below.

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3 Comments

  1. Customer (C)

    7

    Value proposition (VP)

    7.5

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    7.5

    People (P) on the team

    7

    Offering (O)

    7

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    6.5

    In my opinion, this wraparound vest is an innovative approach and seems like a value for money product.
    But a few concerns are:
    1) Flexibility and comfort level when the vest is worn
    2) Intensity of warmth provided is on par with the proven fleece jackets or not
    3) Durability of the product
    4) Returns and replacement policy
    Nevertheless, I would like to try this one, since its not very expensive

  2. Customer (C)

    6.9

    Value proposition (VP)

    9

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    7

    People (P) on the team

    8.3

    Offering (O)

    8.2

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    9

    Main factor would be the warmth it can provide versus existing priduct in the market. It has to almost match the existing product.
    The customer base can be expanded to locals and international visitors, by proff that it can match the existing products.
    If product can be improved at the cost on increasing the price by around $5 it should be considered.

  3. Customer (C)

    8.3

    Value proposition (VP)

    9

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    7.2

    People (P) on the team

    8.3

    Offering (O)

    9.6

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    7.5

    Certainly best part of the idea is its cost effectiveness and ease of use. Couple of things though
    1. What would be the level of warmth this provides in comparison to existing products? Simple comparison could be, this vest can provide same warmth as a mid/thick fleece.
    2. Is it worth the price? This depends on durability of the product. One might wonder about it depending on quality of materials used in the product. Well, I would love it if it can survive one winter of Calgary?
    3. I understood that it can be worn on the fly over existing garment. With weather being unpredictable in winters, does it also suffice in case of mild snow?
    Love the idea and customer you are targetting is an absolite Bingo! May be a small graphic on how the product might appear would get more positive votes. Visuals always appeal ?