We continue our series on Australian buying opportunities by speaking to Peter Crockett who is the founder and managing director of clothing technology and wearable application company Fonewear. Fonewear has recently been put out on the market.
Thanks for speaking to us, Peter. Firstly, what brought you into the world of Fonewear and clothing technology? Can you tell us a bit about your background and career?
Given that worldwide there are over 7 billion phones in use and that there are billions of clothing tops produced annually, there is an untapped market need to bring the two together systematically. We’ve done this through a patented purpose designed phone pocket within full ranges of men’s, women’s and children’s casualwear and activewear shirts, polos, T-shirts and singlets.
I am a published author who did independent research for another writing project before focusing on the growth of Fonewear. I have long had an active interest in finance, investment, commerce and small business. I am from Melbourne and am married with 15 year-old twin daughters who keep us up to speed!
What triggered the idea for Fonewear? What were some of the challenges you faced to get the business to where it is today?
I noticed a lot of people fumbling for their phones in bags and in pockets, and many were frustrated at missing calls because they had placed their phones at a distance. Awkward phone management seemed at odds with the technological sophistication of phones themselves.
In product development I took a few attempts to get the phone pocket right, in dimensions, eyelet for cable feed, fabric selection and pocket closure. I had great difficulty finding a scientific testing authority that measured the phone radioprotective quality of the selected phone fabric.
What markets does Fonewear focus on? What makes it different from other clothing accessory suppliers?
Fonewear recommends at least 11 general and corporate markets, notably the outdoor, active, travel, workwear, uniform, motorist and teenage markets.
Other clothing accessories are separate from, or are to be detached from, clothing or the body. The Fonewear phone pocket is original and practical. lt’s use is not just as an ‘accessory’ but as a patented invention where stitching is integrated into the garment for constant, safe, spacious, secure and dependable phone management across full garment top ranges.
As it is 2 products in 1—garment and phone pocket—no other clothing supplier offers a full range permanent wear solution to the current problem of inefficient personal phone management. You can also access your phone at night through Fonewear’s pillowcase range for 24/7 phone management!
What stage of development is the business in? What are its key strengths? How has this evolved since you began running Fonewear?
The business is a fully developed startup in product development, technical testing, patenting and trademarking, global brand awareness, costed business and marketing plans, and market research and technical reports. This startup has not yet produced products for sale.
Key strengths are patent protection, trademarking, product differentiated brand identity, sole submarket product positioning, quality of product and business research.
The business has evolved from concept to the steady building of all aspects of startup development, with it now being ready for manufacturing, distribution, marketing and sales.
Who would suit running this business?
Garment manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers; others with garment industry sales and marketing or business management expertise; investors with garment industry connections wishing to enter this original submarket as sole occupant; strategic buyers wishing to integrate an innovative brand into other companies to diversify product range and provide competitive advantage; entrepreneurs with complementary retail businesses (such as mobile phone, phone accessories, or sporting goods and clothing); and venture capitalists.
Given that the business is going so well, why are you selling now?
Terms are negotiable, but I hope to retain minority ownership so as actively to help guide steady business growth. I wish to return to my writing career.
What further opportunities are there for a new owner to grow this business?
Extension of the global reach of the business. Moreover, new products that use the original concept can be expected to provide a new marketing position and new customer experience.
The men’s and women’s sports T-shirt and singlet may later expand its range to include more elaborate designs, colourations and fabric combinations. For example, according to changes in the dimensions of phones, the phone pocket may be enlarged or reduced in size.
Alterations to the number and positioning of phone holders on a particular garment—left and/or right upper arm, shoulder, breast and hip—may be future considerations. V-neck and crew neck pullovers, jackets, coats and waistcosts (or vests) may later be contemplated as new Fonewear products. Constant prompt phone management shall be maintained since the removal of any of these garments would leave the customer wearing a Fonewear shirt, T-shirt or sports singlet, simple phone transference ensuring continued effective Fonewear phone management.
Business wear, formal wear, any other class of clothing production may ultimately be assessed for product development. It would be possible to develop a separate workwear range, although the workwear concept is currently part of the casual wear range.
What’s the most interesting part of running Fonewear? What should a new owner expect?
Innovation. With capable business operation, strong global growth may be expected through exploiting sole and growing product positioning in the consumer’s mind of a phone pocket invention of 24 features. Astute marketing is essential, while there are 6 tables of financial projections in the Fonewear Business Plan. An online micro-multinational structure would lower operating costs and give ready access to global markets.
Thanks for your time, Peter
Much appreciated. I am grateful for the opportunity.
Contact details for Peter Crockett
Mobile: +61 404 560 424
Website Contacts Page: www.fonewear.com.au
Click here to read more about this business opportunity
Founder and Director
Fonewear Pty Ltd (Australian Business Number: 51 163 464 917)
20 July 2016