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Posted by on Oct 2, 2012

Observing 83 women biking in the rain

Observing 83 women biking in the rain

 

What do customers want?

Companies sometimes forget to ask this simple question. They assume they know.

Madame de Pé Rainwear
Designed for stylish women to bike to work in the rain

But what a customer wants can differ from what a company thinks they want. It’s important to get out of the office and understand what’s going on.

We observed and interviewed over 80 women cycling to work in the rain in Amsterdam : what do they want from rain gear?

Clearly, it must keep them dry while cycling. But our observations showed that current solutions weren’t working – ponchos left legs uncovered, Burberry-type rain coats split open and umbrellas were life-threatening and rain suits hard to get on and off.

But the larger failure with the rain gear out there was that it was highly unflattering– so much so that 40% of women we talked to took the tram or the car to work when it rains. This gave us the focus to design a line of  “rain couture” for cyclists in Amsterdam that keeps them dry in style.

Most rain gear is unflattering, so 40% take the tram.

Observing – and the interviews we conducted on the street afterwards – brought insights that lead straight to innovative ideas like curtain weights in the hem to keep the coat anchored over the knees or cuffs to keep hands dry.

And today’s review in The Guardian, by Laura Laker  Riding-Hoods : How to Beat the Rain was reassuring that we’re on the right track, even if it’s a bit eccentric for the Brits.

I felt reassuringly concealed under its voluminous folds, even in a monsoon-like rainstorm….It felt stylish and practical, though perhaps it’s a little eccentric for some. And Le Déluge was the only cape to keep my legs dry. – Laura Laker, The Guardian

From our observations

Hoods impair their vision, and don’t prevent mascara from running.

 

Ponchos fly up and look awful.

 

More fashionable women use umbrellas, even though it’s a safety hazard and legs still get wet.

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