Janska’s outerwear

JANSKA PRODUCES STYLISH WOMEN’S WEAR and is based here in Colorado.  Jan Erickson started this venture 2003 based on an experience she had with a friend who was incapacitated at the time.

Jan’s friend was a talented, respected woman.  But when dressed in a hospital gown, her self-esteem took a hard hit.  More importantly, others in the facility treated her as more of a nameless patient than a vibrant individual.

Jan had the idea to develop a line of wear which was accessible to those with limited mobility, while also being incredibly comforting and stylish.

Janska was born.

Jan Erickson

Jan Erickson

It turns out that this is a relatively unfilled market need.  As people age – and we all do – it becomes increasingly difficult to use clothing you might have liked before.

There’s a segment of this industry, loosely termed Adaptive Clothing, which is intended to help people who are wheelchair bound or otherwise have mobility issues.  But generally it’s not exactly, uh, something that you’d prefer to wear.  It’s functional, shall we say.

This was the genesis of Janska.  But the story takes an interesting turn.

Jan discovered a great demand to extend her clothing into more general outerwear and expanded the product lines significantly.  She’s never lost sight of her dream of bringing style to the infirm and partially abled, but now it’s only a part of the company.

The company is doing well, mind you.  They do all manufacturing in the USA, which is pretty tough in the apparel industry.  They’ve grown to about 40 employees with an enviable company culture.

I was amazed to find out about this great success story at the local 1 Million Cups meeting this week.  It’s inspiring and a great example.

Janska logoSo what is Jan struggling with at this stage?  The toughest challenge comes from the success they’ve had with growing in two directions at once, engaging in two different kinds of sales engagements.  Should they become two brands?  Or one brand with two product lines?  How do you decide how and where to market when you’re making both successful?

I have every confidence that Janska will figure this out and come through with flying colors, based on the amazing strength of Jan’s dream.

Do you have ideas or suggestions for Jan?