In the realm of fashion, the task of outfitting women of diverse body types is no small task. It's a multifaceted endeavor far beyond merely crafting something aesthetically pleasing. The concept of simplistic sizing is obsolete, and brands are attuned to this evolution. As sizing standards continue to evolve, it can take time for shoppers to adjust. Let's delve into the nuances of women’s apparel sizing, starting with straight sizing, extended sizing and beyond.

What is a Straight Size?

Straight sizes refer to small (S) through large (L) for women or sizes 0-14. U.S. brands and retailers commonly offer straight sizes.

What is the Difference Between Extended Sizing and Plus Sizes?

A shopper evaluates different plus sizing and extended sizing apparel

Extended sizes are often based on the foundational pattern of straight sizes, which is commonly a medium. They are written as XXS, XS, XL, or XXL, etc. These sizes maintain a similar silhouette to straight sizes, with adjustments to accommodate varying body dimensions.

Designed specifically for those with fuller waists, plus sizes are tailored to accommodate a demographic with distinct body proportions. Beyond adjusting a hip-to-waist ratio, the product creation process for plus sizes considers the differences in body shapes accompanying size increments. These sizes are typically labeled as 1X, 2X, 3X, and so on. While numeric sizes fall within the range of 18W to 24W. Recognizing the distinction between extended and plus sizes is crucial to grasping the specialized patterns crafted for each category.

What About Petite and Tall Sizes?

In essence, petite and tall sizing revolve around height variation. Regular sizes typically accommodate women between 5'4” to 5'8”. In contrast, petite sizes often cater to individuals who are 5'4" and under. What sets petite apart is the shorter sleeves, hemlines, inseams, and rises of its items. Tall sizes often cater to individuals who are 5'8" and over. They offer extended inseams and sleeve lengths and lower hemlines, providing a better fit for taller individuals.

Three women wearing clothing from straight sizes to extended sizes

Size Grading

So how do brands determine these sizes? Through a process called grading, manufacturers meticulously craft garments based on standardized body measurements. Typically, this begins with sample sizes, such as a medium for straight sizes and extended sizing, or a 1X for plus sizes. Other sizes are derived through grading, which usually involves adding or subtracting fabric.

How Feedback from the MESH01 Product Tester Community Helps Brands Understand Women's Apparel Sizing

Brands recognize the diversity of body types and the importance of inclusive sizing. MESH01 allows brands to engage directly with their customers and gather valuable insights into sizing preferences and fit. With a relevant and reliable community of testers providing feedback on fit, comfort, quality, and performance, brands are destined to better accommodate their target audience.

MESH01 enables testers to select from a vast variety of sizes -from extended sizing to plus sizing- and input their measurements when setting up their MESH01 product tester profile. This process ensures that brands gain insights into the exact fit and sizing variations across different body types and dimensions during the testing process while also providing a comprehensive understanding of their target audience's needs and preferences.

Through pre-market product testing, brands can refine their designs, ensuring they align with consumer expectations and address any issues identified during testing. From assessing fit to evaluating design elements, this feedback loop empowers brands to create clothing that looks good, feels comfortable, and flatters all body types.

As size inclusivity grows, brands demonstrate their commitment to delivering clothing that caters to consumers' diverse needs. The MESH01 Product Tester Community helps brands gather the necessary feedback to refine their products, ensuring quality and inclusivity across all shapes and sizes.

Shape The Future of Products Through Product Testing

Brands strive to stand out from the rest, whether through marketing, in-store experiences, or customer service or some combination. However, the ultimate determining of their success invariably boils down to the product experience. The product experience can be predicted and enhanced effectively through the product testing experience.

MESH01 presents brands with a unique opportunity to engage with their target audience beyond online reviews, past sales, and trends. For product testers, what sets MESH01 apart from other product testing sites is the opportunity test a new product before it hits the market. This means that MESH01 Product Testers like you can actively contribute valuable feedback that significantly influences a product during product development.  

Don’t believe us? Keep reading. 

To be clear, developing a product involves a lot of effort across multiple phases. MESH01 is committed to aiding brands in optimizing concept testing and product testing, leveraging the feedback from -you guessed it- our amazing MESH01 Product Tester community. As a MESH01 Product Tester, your feedback plays a distinct role in concept and product testing.

In this article we will discuss how your feedback shapes the future of so many of the world’s leading brands’ products. 

The Product Testing Experience on MESH01 

What is product testing on MESH01 all about? Let's break it down. Product testing involves gathering product-centric feedback from target audience end users before launching a product. Testers must evaluate and provide detailed feedback on quality, durability, design, and overall product experience. The primary purpose of product testing for brands is to ensure that they are bringing products to the market that align with their target consumer's preferences and expectations. 

Product testing is important because it identifies and addresses potential issues or improvements before the product reaches the market. As a tester, you play a crucial role in this process by offering valuable insights that help refine the product. The tester's voice -your voice-matters because it provides a direct and authentic perspective from the target audience, assisting brands in understanding how the product will be received in the real world. 

By conducting product tests, brands can mitigate risks associated with launches. They gain early visibility into potential challenges, allowing them to make informed decisions and improvements based on tester feedback. This direct interaction with the target audience before the launch ensures that the final product meets or exceeds customer expectations, contributing to a successful and well-received market introduction. 

During a product test on MESH01, testers can submit feedback through numerous different channels – each providing different value to the brand.  Those channels include surveys, Performance Zones, Activity Logs + Wash Logs, Image + Video Uploads and more. Each channel offers a unique opportunity for the brand to improve its product; let us explain. 

A MESH01 Product Tester evaluating apparel

Product Testing Surveys 

The survey is a method of collecting information about a specific topic from a target audience. MESH01 product testing surveys typically consist of 10-20 questions each. Surveys provide brands with valuable insights into the product testing experience including consumer preferences, opinions, and experiences, allowing them to refine products and marketing strategies based on this feedback.  

Brands gain a deeper understanding of their audience and its experience with their products through surveys, helping them make informed decisions. To leave the best surveys as a tester, you are expected to provide detailed and honest feedback, addressing all aspects of the product. Specific input about likes, dislikes, and constructive criticism aids brands in making informed decisions for product improvements. 

MESH01 Performance Zones 

MESH01 Performance Zones are product experience heat maps that allow you to tag specific areas or aspects of a product that MESH01 testers evaluate, concentrating on elements such as quality, functionality, or design. Testers use MESH01 Performance Zones to evaluate and tag visually, focusing on quality, functionality, or design elements.  

Through MESH01 Performance Zones, brands can quickly assess the good and the bad. They also allow testers to quickly notify brands of any critical product issues uncovered during testing. Testers can report any discomfort or quality problems encountered throughout the testing period through performance zones, whether good or bad. They can also provide positive feedback by highlighting areas where the product excels or exceeds expectations.  

To provide the best feedback in performance zones, MESH01 Product Testers are expected to provide thorough and targeted feedback. Through MESH01 Performance Zones, we ask that you address functionality, durability, and design. Be explicit about your experience and offer constructive suggestions for enhancement. This feedback ensures that countless others receive a quality product overall! 

Activity Logs + Wash Logs 

Activity Logs + Wash Logs are records kept by testers to detail their interactions and experiences with a product over time, specifically focusing on its performance after washing or regular use. During a test, MESH01 Product Testers can utilize these logs to document the product's performance through various activities or washing cycles, providing a longitudinal perspective on durability and functionality. 

Brands gain insights into how the product withstands real-life usage, including any changes in performance after specific activities or washes. This data helps in refining product quality. To leave the best Activity Logs + Wash Logs, we ask that you diligently record your experiences with the product over time. Highlight any noticeable positive or negative changes after specific activities or washes. Brands are looking for insights into the product's long-term performance and durability. 

Image + Video Uploads 

Image + Video Uploads involve sharing visual representations of the productto supplement your feedback with a visual context. Testers use image uploads to provide a visual dimension to their feedback, showcasing aspects like product appearance, general wear and tear, or any issues encountered during the testing process. 

Brands gain valuable insights from Image + Video Uploads! When you upload Images or videos, brands get visual and written feedback, which helps them better understand the tester's experience and address any problems. 

To ensure the best image uploads, testers are advised to include clear and relevant images that support their feedback. It is crucial to capture any defects, highlight noteworthy features, or showcase aspects that contribute to the overall experience. Providing a visual context enhances the comprehensiveness of the feedback, allowing brands to assess the wear and tear of the product and make informed decisions for improvement. This visual documentation is instrumental in helping brands gauge the real-world impact of their products throughout the testing period. 

The Future is You Through Product Testing 

As a MESH01 Product Tester, you play a crucial role in shaping the future of products through feedback from surveys, Performance Zones, Activity Logs + Wash Logs, and Image + Video Uploads. Your feedback through your product testing experience contributes significantly as you identify issues and provide constructive suggestions for enhancement through thorough and multi-dimensional feedback! 

With your feedback, brands can confidently bring products to the market, ensure they are high-quality, and align with their consumer preferences and expectations. Needless to say, the future of products relies on you, a MESH01 Product Tester. 

Ready for your voice to be heard? Join the MESH01 Product Testing Community today! Sign up here

Shape The Future Of Products Through Concept Testing

As a MESH01 Product Tester, you play a defining role in the future of products, and we aren’t exaggerating. You have the unique opportunity to provide insights and direction to world-class brands during the early stages of their product development processes. This collaboration ultimately creates products that meet (or exceed) the expectations of customers. Through MESH01 Concept Testing, you can access ideas and designs before they even hit the shelves. In this post, we will review how your feedback and role as a MESH01 Product Tester help brands confidently bring their ideas to life. 

First, Be Findable. 

The concept testing stage of the product creation process helps brands identify promising product ideas and directions that set the paths for bringing successful products to market. Before these ideas are developed further, brands look to test their concepts with you! 

Some key reasons brands test their concepts with their target customers include: 

  • Identifying trends close to product development 
  • Validating new product opportunities 
  • Understanding customer preferences and drivers of interest 
  • Passing or failing product concepts before further development investment 
  • Prioritizing features and attributes 
  • Optimizing product positioning, including naming, descriptions, and pricing 

Brands want to hear from their target audience early on to minimize time wasted on products bound for failure. When looking for product concept validation, brands seek relevant feedback from individuals representing their target customers. They want to ensure that they are distinguishing between just a product idea and a product idea that you will love. When brands look for their target audience on MESH01, they narrow down their search through hyper-specific search attributes, including: 

  • Demographic information 
  • Lifestyle information 
  • Interests and activities participation 
  • Occupation details 
  • Shopping preferences 
  • And more 
product tester

What does all this mean for you as a MESH01 Product Tester?

You must be findable. As a MESH01 Product Tester, you are searchable by your MESH01 profile – and, more importantly, by the specific attributes that brands seek when recruiting candidates for concept testing opportunities. You can become findable in the MESH01 Community by creating a standout MESH01 profile that includes the following: 

  • A detailed tester bio 
  • Up-to-date sizing info 
  • A profile picture - say cheese! 
  • Current shipping address 
  • Completed profile surveys with detailed information about your experience, skill, level, and more! 

As a MESH01 Product Tester, you hold the key to shaping the future of products by providing feedback at the crucial concept testing stage. Your participation helps brands refine their ideas and ensures that the final product resonates with its intended audience. By taking proactive steps to become easily findable for brands by providing thorough information through your MESH01 Product Tester profile, you're actively contributing to successful product creation.

Discover New Opportunities. 

In the constantly evolving world of products, the origin of beloved products often traces back to the spark of an idea. Yet, even with an abundance of creativity and ingenuity, the journey from product concept to product success is fraught with pitfalls. According to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, 95% of around 30,000 new products yearly fail. Why has the path for products been so bleak? 

Various factors often contribute to failed products, including: 

  • Pricing issues: Is the price tag just right, or off target? Getting the pricing strategy spot-on is critical to product success. 
  • Overlooked customer needs: What are your customers looking for? What problems need solving? It's all about addressing their wants and needs. 
  • Brand blind spots: Do brands truly understand their target audience, shopping habits, daily routines, and the products they desire?  
  • Missing the customer's call: The customer's voice is the ultimate guide to new product development. Don’t miss out on it. 

This is where you come in! 

As a MESH01 Product Tester, you can help brands transform concepts into reality. Because of your feedback during the concept testing phase, brands can better understand exactly what their target audience is looking for before committing to the product creation process. Through concept testing on MESH01, brands get to hear the voice of the customer – yours specifically! 

Through your feedback, brands can: 

  • Validate product or market assumptions: By soliciting feedback from testers, brands can validate their assumptions and ensure that their product aligns with the real needs and preferences of customers like you. 
  • Refine concepts: Whether providing constructive criticism or actionable insights, brands can make changes to their initial ideas, refining them to better resonate with their target market. 
  • Uncover new needs: Do we all have back pain? Or just me? Testers can often bring different perspectives, use cases, and problems that brands may have yet to consider. 
  • Mitigate risks: Avoiding that 95% failure statistic. Early detection of potential pitfalls and shortcomings allows brands to proactively address issues, reducing the risk of failure in the later stages of product development or, worse, in the market. 

That’s a lot of power! As a MESH01 Product Tester, you can help brands discover new products and opportunities. The next step is taking that opportunity and figuring out the right direction. 

Provide The Right Direction Through Concept Testing. 

Talking to the right people and discovering new potential product opportunities are both essential parts of concept testing for brands. Nevertheless, the advantages of listening to the customer continue beyond there. MESH01 allows brands to utilize concept testing to better listen to the voice of the customer, understand what matters to you as customers, and precisely what the product should look and feel like. How do they do this? They are engaging with the right people by immediately figuring out the right direction. 

As mentioned, brands can discover new product opportunities with the help of the MESH01 Community – but they can also find out precisely what their customers are looking for and ensure that they are meeting your expectations. Product designs are introduced during concept testing at the beginning of the product creation process. As a MESH01 Product Tester, you determine factors Including: 

  • Materials 
  • Design 
  • Colors/pattern 
  • Even entire silhouettes! 
  • And much, much more 

As a result, designers and developers no longer have to wait and hope their customers will love their new styles or base next year’s products on last year’s feedback. They can launch their products with the confidence that comes with including their customer in product design and product development. 

Great Concepts + Great Feedback = Great Products. 

Your influence on the future of products is undeniable. As a MESH01 Product Tester, your multi-channel feedback holds the power to guarantee satisfaction for countless customers to come. Your voice is crucial in shaping a brighter future for products worldwide. Keep making a difference! 

What a year it has been! As 2023 comes to an end, we find ourselves reflecting on the incredible milestones we have achieved. And we could not have done it without the help of you, our amazing product tester community! Your dedication and contributions are a driving force behind the creation of better products for so many of the world’s leading brands. 

Let’s take a look at some of the standout product testing moments from 2023:

Testing Thousands of Pre-Market Products

Man running

Brands have realized the importance of testing products with REAL people. They also know how product testing is essential for ensuring an amazing product experience. Your rigorous product testing is responsible for shaping the future of products. This year alone, our community of testers has successfully evaluated and provided feedback for thousands of pre-market products. Your attention to detail has played a pivotal role in ensuring that the products reaching the market are of the highest quality and reliability, and are designed to exceed expectations. Thank you for your incredible efforts!

Platform Enhancements Based on Your Feedback

We understand that your experience as a tester is critical to the success of our not only the brands, but also the MESH01 platform. That's why we wanted to hear from you. This year we have surveyed thousands of testers within our product tester community about what we could do even better. Your feedback and suggestions have been extremely important in shaping the improvements we're proud to announce for 2024, including:

Women holding baby using laptop
  • FAQs for Testers: In 2024 we’ll be launching comprehensive FAQs to provide you with easy access to information and testing guidance. Whether you're a seasoned tester or just starting, this resource is designed to make your experience even smoother.
  • Improved Guidance for Brands Communications: Your feedback highlighted the importance of clear communication between brands and testers. In response, we've implemented new best practices for brands on the most effective ways to collaborate and communicate with our product tester community. 
  • Technical Updates for a Better Tester Experience: Prepare for an upgrade! We've listened to your suggestions. This year, we will be debuting some product tester platform updates that make participating in tests even more enjoyable and efficient.

Providing Over a Million Points of Feedback

Together, we've achieved an astonishing milestone of generating over a million of points of feedback this year alone. As a community, you have participated in over 100,000 product surveys, provided over 200,000 testing activity logs, images, and video uploads, and generated over 10,000 Performance Zones!

Women at the gym on her cell phone

Your feedback has been a driving force in shaping the future of products for the better. Each comment, photo, and activity log have been carefully considered, making a significant impact on the development and refinement of products across various industries. Brands can now be assured that both their existing and potential customers can make purchases with newfound confidence.

Thank You… For Being You!

We want to express our heartfelt appreciation for your dedication, time, and passion. MESH01 wouldn't be the thriving product tester community it is without each and every one of you. As we look ahead to 2024, we're excited about the continued growth of our community and the impact we will collectively make on the future of products.

Again in 2023, our community of product testers has continued to work hand-in-hand with top brands to create extraordinary products by providing feedback that goes way beyond the ordinary survey panel. What makes the MESH01 Product Tester Community so special? You! This year, we continued to highlight some of the amazing and unique stories from our community - check out our MESH01 Tester Spotlights of 2023!

Jordan Goodrich

Jordan Goodrich, MESH01 Tester

Meet Jordan!

Jordan has been a tester with MESH01 since 2017. Jordan is a hiker, and whether hiking to the highest peak in the state or a nice stroll through old-growth forests, he always makes time to explore the outdoors. In addition to hiking, Jordan also loves mountain biking, paddle boarding, kayaking, walking along the coast for lost treasure… and most recently rock climbing!

Read more about Jordan here.

April Armijo

April Armijo, MESH01 Tester

Meet April!

April has been a MESH01 tester since 2018. As a Sierra Club Leader, she loves to backpack and tries to go at least once a month. When she's not backpacking, she enjoys hiking, paddleboarding, and paddling outrigger canoes for Dana Outrigger Canoe Club.

Read more about April here.

Michael Wilson - Parent Product Tester

Meet Michael!

Michal has been with MESH01 since 2020. Michael loves the outdoors and is grateful to have a job that allows him to share his love for the outdoors with others. Through MESH01, Michael has even been able to share his product testing experience with his children! Now they both share the love for trying new products together.

Read more about Michael here.

Jennifer Markwell - Parent Product Tester

Jennifer Markwell, MESH01 Parent Product Tester

Meet Jennifer!

Jennifer has been a MESH01 product tester since 2022. She is passionate about helping others and educating women in finance. Jennifer loves to spend time with her family. Through MESH01, Jennifer and her children have been able to test new products together and connect through their product experiences.

Read more about Jennifer here.

Jessie Marsters - Parent Product Tester

Jessie Marster, MESH01 Parent Procut Tester

Meet Jessie!

Jessie has been a product tester with us since 2014. She is the mother to four teenage boys and her house is rarely ever quiet! But she wouldn't change it for the world. She has shared some great testing experiences with her sons on MESH01, as it’s an exciting and fun experience for the whole family. Being a mom to four boys, definitely stays active! She's currently working on her AMC New England 4,000 Footers summit list and hopes to hike many more soon. At the time of her spotlight, Jessie had already completed 15 of them! In addition to hiking, she also enjoys photography and volunteering for a non-profit organization called Safe Families for Children.

Read more about Jessie here

Emily Hardwick - Parent Product Tester

Emily Hardwick, MESH01 Parent Product Tester

Meet Emily!

Emily has been a tester at MESH01 since 2019. She loves to garden, cook, bake, and play board games, not to mention going four-wheeling, playing volleyball, and hiking/walking! Emily is also a huge animal lover and owns four Golden Retrievers! One of her biggest accomplishments though is being a mother. Through that, parent product testing on MESH01 has brought about new discoveries and excitement for her whole family!

Read more about Emily here.

Karla Noble

Karla Noble, MESH01 Tester

Meet Karla!

Karla has been a tester for MESH01 since 2015. She loves to spend as much time outdoors as possible. In the winter she spends a large part of her days snowboarding with family and friends, as well as snowshoeing, running, and playing in the snow with her dogs. In the summer, she fills her days with family, too. Some of her favorite activities include mountain biking, hiking, trail running, camping, paddle boarding, wakeboarding, rollerblading, fishing, weight training, or kayaking! Through MESH01 she has been able to discover products that improve her experiences during her favorite activities - without the trial and error of purchasing products that sometimes aren't the right fit.

Read more about Karla here.

Liam Dee - Athlete

Liam Dee, MESH01 Athlete Tester

Meet Liam!

Liam has been a tester with MESH01 since 2022. He is a long-distance runner. He competes on the track, cross-country, and on road in any race from the 1500m up to (soon) the half marathon. One of his greatest accomplishments includes breaking the 4-minute mile with his father, and becoming the tenth duo to ever do so!

Read more about Liam here.

Daniel Murphy - Athlete

Daniel Murphy, MESH01 Athlete Tester

Meet Daniel!

Daniel has been a tester with MESH01 since 2022. Daniel previously ran track and cross country at the University of Iowa and is currently training for road races. For Daniel, a great product is extremely important! He believes that while training at a high level, high-quality and well-researched products (especially running shoes) can enhance training, reduce injuries, and provide opportunities for athletes to reach their highest potential. Since graduating, he's also picked up other activities including pickleball, basketball, disc golf, and bike riding!

Read more about Daniel here.

Lily Darbishire

Lily Darbishire, MESH01 Tester

Meet Lily!

Lily has been a MESH01 tester since 2017. Lily loves to be outside! Whether it's long-distance road cycling, hiking out in the Colorado sunshine, gardening, weightlifting, long walks, yoga, or playing with her two dogs! Lily is passionate about health and human science. She recently received her master’s degree in public health in 2018 and her PhD in nutrition science at Purdue University in 2022!

Read more about Lily here

Sarah Gausman

Sarah Gausman, MESH01 Tester

Meet Sarah!

Sarah has been a MESH01 tester since 2022. She loves to stay up to date with the latest trends, emerging products, and technology. She keeps up with industry news and engages with online communities related to these passions - which ultimately led her to find MESH01! Sarah also loves to go on all sorts of adventures from hiking and hunting to traveling the world!  Sarah will be heading to Thailand for her newest adventure soon!

Read more about Sarah here.

Jason George

Jason George, MESH01 Tester

Meet Jason!

Jason has been a MESH01 Tester since 2017. Jason loves to stay active. Some of his favorite activities include triathlons, mountain biking, road biking, skateboarding, surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, helping coach his son’s baseball team, tennis, rock climbing, and backpacking (specializing in winter guided backpacking trips). Additionally, Jason loves spending time with his sons and giving back to his community.

Read more about Jason here.

Shawn Rice

Meet Shawn!

Shawn has been a MESH01 Tester since 2022! Shawn loves being outdoors! In the wintertime, he enjoys weekends in the Northeast snowboarding and taking in the breathtaking scenery the mountains have to offer. In the summertime, he still enjoys taking trips to the mountains and enjoying the views, just without the snowboard!

Read more about Shawn here.

Bring On 2024!

Thank you to our entire MESH01 Product Tester Community! In 2023, we've hit remarkable milestones, and we’re now looking forward to another year of changing products for the better. After all, you are the driving force behind product innovation. Here's to the exciting journey ahead!

Don't forget to check out our MESH01 Tester Spotlight(s) from 2022!

In the off-season, college athletes are working hard to perfect their skills, improve their performance and generally be in the best shape possible for the upcoming season. Simultaneously, product developers are doing something similar with their products. Just like athletes on the court or the field, today’s retail markets are highly competitive. Driving companies to constantly strive to improve their products in order to win over customers. One way athletic and sporting goods brands are ensuring that they not only meet but exceed customers' expectations is through the benefits of product testing with college athletes.

Before the implementation of the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) policy, which allows college athletes to capitalize on their name, image, and likeness, product testing with college athletes included several challenges for brands. Prior to NIL, college athletes were not allowed to receive compensation for their athletic abilities or endorsements. However, these restrictions were lifted in the summer of 2021. This has allowed for a new potential for college athletes to monetize their personal brand. Without risking their eligibility to play. For brands, this means a once-challenging process of navigating “compensation” and even communication with college athletes has been simplified in ways that relate directly to product testing with college athletes.

In this article, we’ll explore why college athletes make great product testers. Also, how recent rules and regulations changes make them more accessible, and how their involvement enhances the overall athletic apparel, footwear and sporting goods market.

The Value of College Athletes as Product Testers

Consumer-driven product testing  has emerged as a driving force behind successful product development and product launches. Feedback from college athletes is no exception. Athletes possess a unique combination of physical skills, product knowledge, and relevant experience in their sport’s customer community. Thus, making them perfect candidates for providing invaluable insights and feedback on current and future products. Their input ensures that products are tailored to not only meet the specific needs of athletes, but also:

  1. Empowers brands to create cutting-edge equipment, gear and apparel that can endure the rigors of intense training and competition.
  2. Elevates overall customer experiences. While, making athletic gear more enjoyable and effective for not only top athletes but relevant sports enthusiasts alike.
  3. Enables brands to enhance athletes' performance through advancements in materials, designs, and innovative technology. Pushing the possibilities within sports achievement even further!

By product testing with college athletes, manufacturers can gain insight into the rapidly evolving trends and preferences of the athletic market. College athletes represent a diverse range of both sports and consumers, all with distinct requirements and demands. Their participation in the product testing process ensures that new athletic gear aligns with the latest requirements in their respective sport and favorite activities. This product creation collaboration between athletes and manufacturers helps bridge the gap between market demands and product offerings. Ultimately, enhancing the market relevance of athletic apparel, footwear, and equipment. Yet, obtaining these valuable insights has been historically a challenge.

Football player jumping in air and celebrating with teamates

A History of Challenges with Product Testing with College Athletes prior to NIL

Engaging in product testing provides brands with an opportunity to connect with their intended audience. As well as, make substantial improvements to their products to better fit their needs.Before the emergence of NIL, athletic apparel, footwear and sporting goods brands faced difficulties in obtaining valuable product feedback from college athletes. This was attributed to some of the following factors:

1. Amateurs vs. Professionals: College athletes were considered amateurs, meaning they could not accept payment or benefits related to their athletic talents. Instead, they were only allowed to accept scholarships. This restriction made it difficult for brands to formally engage college athletes fom certain opportunities such as endorsements, or any form of promotional activity and more.

2. NCAA Eligibility Rules: The NCAA had strict eligibility rules. Accepting any kind of compensation could jeopardize an athlete's eligibility to participate in college sports. As a result, college athletes were cautious about engaging in any activities that could potentially lead to the loss of their eligibility.

3. Risk of Sanctions: Brands also risked legal action or sanctions from the NCAA if they were discovered to provide benefits or compensation to college athletes, violating the organization's rules.

With these factors considered, we can see why it was difficult for brands to establish connections with their target product tester audience. As well as, acquiring the essential feedback required to create exceptional products. Now testing with college athletes has opened doors for product developers.

Understanding NIL and How it Relates to Product Testing with College Athletes

The Division 1 Board of Directors made the decision on June 30, 2021, to approve the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) policy. This groundbreaking policy grants NCAA D1, D2, and D3 student-athletes the opportunity to receive compensation for their NIL, starting from July 1, 2021. Remarkably, this compensation applies regardless of whether their respective state has enacted NIL legislation. It allows college student-athletes in states without an NIL law the freedom to receive compensation for their NIL activities. As long as they adhere to the guidelines that prohibit pay-for-play arrangements or financial incentives related to program recruitment or retention.

This new avenue enables college athletes to explore endorsement deals, partnerships, and unique opportunities, including product testing with athletic footwear, apparel and equipment brands. By embracing these product testing opportunities, college athletes can not only receive incentives but also contribute to the advancement of athletic gear and apparel they rely on to perform in their sports. Product testing with college athletes is a mutually beneficial scenario for both athletes and brands.

Benefits of Product Testing with College Athletes

Product testing stands as a mutual benefit for both college athletes and brands. The gear and clothing an athlete use play an immense role in their on-field and off-field performance, and athletes rely on their products to meet their standards. It's crucial for brands to possess the insights necessary to design products that align with athletes' performance expectations. This is precisely where product testing comes into play.

College athletes are consistently striving to enhance their skills, and searching for products that can elevate their overall performance and gameplay. Engaging in testing with college athletes provides them the opportunity to integrate the product into their routines and ensure it lives up to their standards.

Popular Inisghts From Athletes:

  1. Assessment of Product Durability: Athletes can illustrate the product's performance over time through feedback logs. During a test, testers are able to bring the product into their everyday routine. By doing so, they can give insight as to how well a product withholds through wear & washes.
  2. Issue identification: Given the common wear and tear experienced by athletes, MESH01 enables testers to promptly notify brands of any critical product issues uncovered during testing. Additionally, testers can report on discomfort or other quality problems encountered throughout the testing period. This feedback ensures that countless others receive a quality product that meets or exceeds their expectations every time.
  3. Skill-level and age-group comparison: The testing process provides brands with a practical understanding and real-world comparison of product fit across diverse skill levels and age groups. MESH01 has streamlined the process of connecting with brands’ target audience and offers the advantage of placing their products directly into the hands of the most fitting and qualified individuals. The MESH01 community holds a wide variety of athletes of varying skill level & activities. Hyper-specific attributes can narrow down tester's profiles. These attributes include demographics, lifestyle information, interests and activities, participation, occupation details, shopping preferences and more.
  4. Feedback on Design & Style:  Athletes are always looking for the next best product to improve their overall game and experience during play – with design and style yielding no exception. Testers provide honest evaluations on elements like design, style, and color, guiding brands on what resonates well and what might not.

For college athletes, a high-quality product is a necessity. Through product testing via MESH01, brands are able to consistently meet athletes' expectations and continue to bring game-changing products to the market every time.

I’m a College Athlete! How Can I Help Change the World Of Athletic Apparel, Footwear, and Sporting Goods?

As an athlete, you may be navigating through the new rules and regulations brought by the NIL. However, being a member of the MESH01 product tester community can eliminate the hurdles of attempting to establish connections with brands. Instead, it directly connects you with many of the biggest and best brands in athletic apparel, footwear and sporting goods.

For years, the world’s most recognizable brands and retailers have trusted MESH01 with their product testing experience. And yes, they are actively looking to engage athletes like you! It’s an exciting opportunity when you’re selected to participate in a product test – let alone be invited to take part in your favorite brands product development process. Interested athletes can join this community here!

Volleyball player hitting ball over net while opposing team defends.

When selected to participate in a product test, you will be joining countless other athletes, from weekend warriors to professional athletes! You recieve opportunities based on your respective sport or favorite activities. In return, you are expected not only to test incredible products but also to provide firsthand feedback through surveys, activity logs, performance zones, uploads of images/videos, and more.

Great Athletes Need Great Products

The emergence of NIL legislation has breathed new life into the world of college athletics. By allowing college athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness, athletes now can thrive in ways like never before. Such as contributing to the athletic market in new and exciting ways. As a tester, college athletes can now use their knowledge off the field and help pave the way for brands by offering their expertise. As products continue to become refined and improved-we can thank our vast community of athletes for their involvement.

According to Pew Research, nearly 73% of adults seek extra knowledge for personal and work-related reasons. Digital technology plays a notable role in these pursuits. New technologies have opened new doors when it comes to learning through connections. This allows us to learn more about ourselves, others, and the world around us. As parents, we are continuously trying to learn more about our children's interests and connect with them on their experiences, activities, and even the products they use. In this article, we’ll look at how parents and kids are sharing the product experience through technology.

Connecting Parents and Their Children Through Retail and Fashion Technology

The accessibility through new technology to social trends and information often encourages regularly us to learn more about the world around us. For parents, this often means trying to keep up with their kids’ homework, latest interest, and trends. Kids’ apparel and footwear are a big part of this! According to the Boys & Girls Club of Central Texas, your child’s way of dressing is a form of self-expression. Encouraging children to express themselves from an early age is vital for their overall development and self-confidence. Self-expression also fosters feelings of independence, self-advocacy, and creativity.

While it may be difficult for parents to keep up with the latest kids’ clothing and footwear trends, new product experience technologies are making it easier for parents to learn more about the styles their children are interested in. There are multiple ways a parent can learn more about what is popular amongst their children’s age group. Including some of the following:

  • Virtual Shopping & Virtual Reality
  • Fashion Blogs & Online Magazines
  • Virtual Media Outlets
A parent sharing the kids' product experience with their child through product testing

These developments in technology are quickly changing the way parents learn about and shop for new clothing. Switching roles to the purchaser for a child, a new way parents can learn more about their children's clothing experiences is through concept and product testing. Through kids’ apparel and footwear concept and product testing, parents can directly share in the clothing experiences of their children. Further, this shared experience is a critical step brands take to make great products. So, by sharing the product experience with your children through product testing, you're helping to shape the future of product experiences for children in general.

So how does it work?

On MESH01, as a parent product tester, you are invited to participate in testing opportunities on behalf of children. Through these product testing experiences, you will be joining countless other parents and children receiving new products designed to meet kids’ and parents’ expectations. Through digital surveys, activity logs, performance zones, image/video uploads, and more, parents can give first-hand feedback that helps brands create exceptional products. This will help ensure comfort and performance for the little ones. Product and concept testing brings about a new and interactive way for parents to connect with their children. It helps them learn more about their clothing and preferences that are actually within the product development process.

3 Ways Concept and Product Testing are Bringing Parents and Children Together Through the Kids' Product Experience

How does concept and product testing help parents learn about their children?

Normally, as a MESH01 Product Tester you are helping brands bring product ideas to life. In doing this, you are also shaping the world of products for the better through your honest and direct feedback. As a tester, brands value your opinion, your experience, and your personal taste! While participating in kids’ concept and product testing opportunities with and on behalf of your kids – you can learn some things about your kids as brands learn from both of you. This includes:

  • Understanding your child’s personal style. Through children’s feedback on product tests, parents are given the opportunity to learn even more about their child's product preferences. Whether it is how they may want to put their own spin on a new trend through an outfit choice, to when and where their child prefers different styles, the product testing process often digs into these details so that brands can create styles that match your kids' needs.
  • Gaining exposure to new and different clothing trends. With kids' fashion trends changing so rapidly, it can be tough to keep up with them. Through concept and product testing, parent product testers often get to learn about and shape upcoming trends. Most importantly which trends your child gravitates towards the most. It's like having a sneak peek where you're voices are heard.
  • Better understand your child’s decision-making process: We all have our preferences when choosing clothing. Color, fabrics, and silhouettes are all something that makes the shopping experience so unique and personal to every one of us. Through concept testing, your decisions are responsible for identifying, curating, and nurturing future product opportunities. Since brands are already relying on which design or color concept your child may prefer, it is also a great opportunity to learn more about what your child looks for and how they choose clothing.

Learning more about your child is an ongoing process, and advances in technology are making it easier to connect with them in certain areas of life. Product and concept testing technology are one way parents can continue to connect with their children. Not only do parents have the opportunity to learn more about their children's fashion choices through unique, fun, and interactive experiences their children will always remember, but they also get to work together with their children to provide brands the insight they need to create comfortable, on-trend clothing that future families will love.

As parents, we always want the best for our children, apparel and footwear included. And buying clothing for your little ones is an investment that comes with many factors going into the purchase decision. You want outfits that are cute and fashionable, and you also want the new items to last (whether that's for as long as they fit or for future hand-me-downs). With the added complexity of a child’s clothing preferences (think colors, patterns, or feel of the material) and rapidly growing bodies, brands have their work cut out for them when designing products that both kids and their parents will love. To turn these challenges into opportunities, kids’ clothing and footwear brands are hard at work engaging kids in their product design and development through kids product testing. And to get that critical feedback, they're connecting constantly parents.

For the parents involved - like the thousands of Parent Product Testers on MESH01 - they enjoy knowing they’ve played a direct role in ensuring the relevance and quality of kids’ clothing and footwear for kids and parents everywhere.

For the brands, they count on the pre-market feedback that helps them minimize returns due to product quality and fit, increase sales with on-trend designs and create loyal parent shoppers through positive kids' product experiences.

What Are Parents Really Looking For in Kids Clothing and Footwear?

There are a lot of different factors when it comes to creating children’s clothing and apparel beyond what’s trendy and looks good. These key factors include:

  1. Fit
  2. Comfort
  3. Quality
  4. Performance
  5. And whether or not kids like them!
young boy with adult testing tennis racket

That may already seem like a lot to consider. Then, layer on the trends mentioned earlier and it’s clear why it can be so difficult for brands to know what checks all the right boxes without getting direct feedback from their target audience. In this case, it’s feedback from the kids.

Through pre-market product testing including concept testing, brands are able to make sure their new styles are the right direction while confirming fit, comfort, performance during key activities and more.

In many cases, this tactic of engaging the target parent shopper within the product development process is proving more relevant and reliable than both past sales data and even trend shopping. As opposed to how previous styles did, or what competitors are doing, engaging parents for kids product testing is helping brands understand what parents really want and to ensure their products deliver on those expectations.

How Kids Product Testing Helps Create Great Products

While little Timmy may not be able to submit clear, concise, timely and actionable feedback on how his shirt feels while playing on the playground, his parents certainly can. MESH01 Parent Product Testers for example are making it easy for kids’ clothing and footwear brands to test their products across a wide range of performance attributes like those mentioned above – all before they hit the shelves.

Some of the most common and useful feedback from kids product testing through parents includes:

  • Feedback logs that show how a product is experienced over time (and washes) through the chosen activities
  • Alerting brands of any critical product issues identified during the test
  • Noting discomfort, durability or quality issues experienced during the duration of the test
  • Providing brands with a better understanding and real-life comparison of fit amongst different age groups
  • Providing your honest feedback on whether certain factors such as design, style, and color are a hit or a miss

With all of this information and more, now brands have the insight they need to create comfortable, on-trend clothing kids that they - and their parents - will love.

What Do Parent Product Testers Do?

Brands are finally able to get feedback directly from their target audience… well, kind of. While children under 18 don’t participate directly in product tests on MESH01, parents are invited to participate in testing opportunities for their children. This approach is both respectful and responsible for kids product testing, and also ensure the timeliness and quality of feedback for brands.

As a parent product tester, you’ll typically go beyond your product tester account setup, making key tester recruitment information about your child or children available including age, sizing, clothing preferences, activities and more.

From their, parent product testers are on the look-out for invitations to tests that match their child’s key information. And when selected, they’ll follow the comprehensive, multi-channel feedback process through the length of the product test which is typically around 30 days.

How You Can Become a Parent Product Tester for Kids Product Testing

For over a decade, the world’s most recognizable brands and retailers have trusted MESH01 with their product testing experience. It’s an exciting opportunity when you’re selected to participate in a product test – let alone a kids product test. You now have the opportunity to participate in product testing opportunities that meet not only your interests but your child’s, and see product experiences even more through their eyes.

Many parents join this community through the MESH01 Parent Product Tester Registration page.

When selected to participate in a product test, you will be joining countless other parents and children receiving new products designed to meet kids' and parents' expectations - all while sharing your favorite activities, interests, and expertise! Through surveys, activity logs, performance zones, and image/video uploads and more, parents can give the first-hand feedback that helps brands create exceptional products.

The Future of Children's Products Relies on You!

Being a parent tester means much more than making sure products are just 'good'. Being a parent product tester means you are ensuring that countless other families, parents, and children have access to quality products that meet or exceeds their expectations.  As testers on MESH01, you work to shape the future of products. Dive in!

When it comes to shopping for new footwear and apparel, we have the world at our fingertips. We are constantly exposed to the newest fashion trends; whether sought out by us or presented to us. And we expect our favorite brands to continuously deliver new, on-trend products. At the same time, consumers have become more and more focused on sustainability. Because of that, they've become more selective in their purchases. More and more of us have been seeking products that are tailored to our specific needs and preferences. We look for sustainable materials and processes while keeping up with the latest trends. This dynamic has resulted in brands seeking new solutions for predicting fast-paced trends. This has led to exciting new technologies.

In this article, we will look at how product testing technology and pre-market product testing feedback play an early role in helping brands decide which trends are worth pursuing.

How Brands Select Product Trends to Invest In

Trends are constantly morphing as the retail footwear and apparel industry is in an ongoing state of evolution. The process for predicting consumer trends has drastically changed throughout the years, too.

The Daily Front Row recently put plainly how fashion trends are predicted. This includes the impacts of fashion and runway shows, media, celebrities and influencers, and everyday looks. From a broader point of view and across many categories, the voice of the customer has increased in both accessibility and influence on themselves. In response, brands have been seeking ways to capture this voice of the customer chatter and feedback and distill the data to a point where they can make more informed decisions about which trends to invest in.

Simply put, customers are talking more, and brands are trying to listen, more and more - all through technology.

Increased Technology Impacting Product Trends

Technology has allowed consumer channels to flourish. This has allowed trend predictions to become more accessible to all. For example, take fashion shows, which have always been a staple and inspiration for fashion trends. Through technology and media, these shows are now able to be shared way beyond the runway. This exclusive look into designers’ minds can prompt brands and consumers alike, to be influenced by their vision.

Not limited to high fashion is the rise of celebrity influence and social influencers. The early 2000s introduced the idea of utilizing social sites to break barriers between casual peer-to-peer connections and move towards building connections between users and content. As technology progressed and social sharing became more accessible, interest in social media content increased. As we got additional channels to peek inside the lives of our favorite celebrities (or deep look at the lives of influencers) the impact of these channels grew in scale. Additionally, the rate of new trends big and small increased in speed. One viral social post of a unique product can lead to an entire generation of fans looking to repeat it - for a period of time.

Predicting trends and selecting trends to invest product development in has traditionally been a challenge. However, new ways of listening to consumers through technology are being employed to help brands know what their customers want now and what they might want next.

Retail Technologies and Predicting Product Trends

From PLM to 3D retail technologies, digital solutions continue to be a growing force. This is helping industries from personal products to footwear and apparel and beyond. Simultaneously, customers' personal lives are becoming increasingly intertwined with the digital world. Brands are continuing to embrace the latest technologies. This pushes the limits of manufacturing, marketing, and product experiences. But how do these technologies directly benefit the customer? One integral process that has been advanced through new technology is customer feedback loops. By utilizing product testing platforms that collect pre-market customer feedback, such as MESH01, brands are working directly with the consumer at an accelerated product development pace, allowing brands to infuse their products with their customer’s needs and preferences and deliver on-trend styles faster than ever.

Real-Time Feedback On Trends

A particularly effective technology that helps brands predict trends is concept testing. This pre-market voice of the customer solution helps take the guesswork out of the traditional design process, which can often be based too heavily on past sales and competitor shopping. In concept testing, target customers are giving direct feedback on product designs at the beginning of the product creation process. For this reason, pre-market product testing including concept testing is often used to help select materials, colors, and even entire silhouettes. Designers and developers no longer have to wait and hope that their customers are going to love their new styles. They can launch their products with the confidence that comes with including their customer in design and development.

More and more brands are working with real-life testers within the product development cycle, too.  As a product tester, you allow designers to see how their products fit and perform on a real person. And with an integrated tester community like MESH01, products are even able to be tested by real people in the right conditions, without having to wait for the perfect season. Further, the testers’ use of activity logs, image uploads, surveys, and more means brands are informed of any changes they need to make when creating the final, polished product.

Staying On-Trend Through Product Testing

Consumers and the retail footwear and apparel industry are becoming more intertwined through technology. As a result, aspects such as product trends are affected. Consumers expect instant access to the latest trends as soon as they are seen on catwalks or as soon as an influencer’s post goes viral. For brands, it can be difficult to keep up. With the help of new purpose-built pre-market feedback technologies, brands can have a more predictive approach to meeting their customers’ expectations and staying on trend.