What do Smudgies have in common with pockets?
Pockets, like Smudgies, make so much sense. They make women’s lives easier. But still, not all clothes have pockets (even work attire like blazers!), and Smudgies are the first of their kind.
Hasn’t it become something of a running joke that if you put pockets in any article of women’s clothing, we’ll buy it? So why doesn’t EVERYTHING have pockets, especially clothes like blazers that are made for the workplace?
And everyone knows makeup, more often than not, is a mess by the end of the day. Extreme situations aside – getting caught in the rain, happy tears, etc. – any given day brings minor challenges for makeup users in the form of smudges and smears. These daily smudges or smears aren’t a big deal in themselves, but they do require a small touch-up and without a go-to tool or solution, women are often left running in search of a bathroom or pulling an old tissue out of their purse.
I think there are a couple of main reasons why working women are lacking practical everyday solutions like Smudgies (or pockets in their blazers) that can make or break a big moment.
1) Women are still relatively new to the workforce
Really, it’s only become common in the last few decades for women to have a career – and it’s happened fast. In January of 2020, Time magazine reported that women made up over 50% of the workforce. The industries providing clothes and cosmetics for women are still catching up and figuring out how to manage the surge in demand for comfortable, practical, professional women’s clothing and beauty products.
Brands that HAVE made a name for themselves making women’s workwear - M.M.LaFleur, Of Mercer, ADAY, Ann Taylor - come with a price. You’ll have an easier time finding a blazer for $350 than under $200 at any of these stores. I’m all for knowing the value of products, and high quality workwear is always an investment worth making, but the fact is that it’s difficult for women to cycle through outfits repeatedly without starting to feel drab or boring.
In order to solve the problem of providing affordable fashion in the workplace, there has been an uptick in business casual and professional clothes from the fast fashion industry, where it’s acceptable for quality and sustainability to be sacrificed for chic looks and low price tags. It seems like the only way you can look of-the-moment without spending exorbitant amounts of money is to settle for cheaply (and probably unethically) made, low-quality clothes.
The beauty industry has tried to meet the demands of women in the workplace by pouring millions of dollars into creating and advertising longer-lasting products. These might be slightly better options, but makeup is meant to be temporary. There’s a limit on how long-lasting products can really be, especially without pumping them full of chemicals that are bad for your skin and the environment.
Instead of trying to fight the inherent impermanence of makeup, why hasn’t anyone created practical tools that work with women and their lifestyles - that allow women to wear whatever makeup products they prefer, however they prefer, and still look and feel their best because they have confidence in their ability to manage their makeup throughout the day?
This issue came up during my first conversation with Kimberly Borges, co-founder of PWR WMN, a company that creates women’s blazers with inside pockets, and other workwear that’s fashionable, affordable, and practical. Kimberly started the company with her best friend because they were tired of never having the tools they needed to be 100% ready for business at all times, so they created a brand that could highlight their confidence, strength, and femininity - all while closing the deal.
In our conversation, Kimberly told me about how overwhelmingly positive the response to PWR WMN was. She knew women needed it, she said, but she didn’t realize just how strong the desire was for what they created. In fact, the response was so strong that she wondered why no one else was already doing it.
It reminded me of my experience with Smudgies - everyone that tried the makeup remover cloth that I had created loved it! It blew my mind that something wasn’t already out there to meet such a clear need for so many women.
Our conclusion? The companies creating women’s clothes and beauty products often lack the practical insight into a woman's daily struggle in the workplace. The little daily challenges that come with smudged makeup or not having blazer pockets haven’t become an obvious issue, meaning there hasn’t been any incentive to solve it. It’s up to women using their experience to create solutions and lead the way to making them available to others.
2) When it comes down to it, women CAN live without pockets and Smudgies, so we do
Women are masters at making it work. If something doesn’t exist, we either create it for ourselves or figure out a way to live without it.
Women create solutions because they need to, and might recognize the business opportunity later, but it’s rare that it’s the other way around. Either we assume that something better has already been created, or we’re already stretched trying to balance everything on our plates – producing and marketing our ideas takes time, money, and resources that we didn’t have in the first place.
Smudgies, or blazers with pockets, won’t radically change the way women live. What they will do, though, is make us feel a little more in control and a little more collected a few times a day. They give us a few extra degrees of confidence in the little things that let us focus on the task at hand. And over time, day after day, that adds up.
Products like Smudgies, or PWR WMN blazers, remind women that they shouldn’t be settling for halfway solutions. That they deserve for their everyday challenges to be noticed and addressed, so they can focus on what they do best, the things that WILL change their lives and the world for the better.
Smudgies - Shop our newest collection of washable, reusable makeup remover cloths, and join the movement to bring women the practical, affordable, sustainable products they deserve! Follow: Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest | YouTube
Many thanks to Teresa LaCour for editing this blog post!