The joys of production  


This last fortnight has been, for me, all about the holiday/Christmas season - 2010! It's actually getting a little late for planning for next year and I'm almost beginning to panic as we've had a shock from one supplier - our long-planned samples came back looking like something from a cheap market stall. They're functional, but they're not nice and we can't possibly go ahead with this maker. (You can see a small picture here - the trim is nightmarishly bad). So, it's back to looking for good makers for this kind of bag - which really does require industrial machinery to come out well. *

One of the themes of this blog is the importance of good design, production and manufacturing. There are loads of places that will tell you about marketing and promotion. How you need the blog, the newsletter, the Facebook fan page, the Twitters - it's all true. But what I want to emphasise is that first and foremost the product needs to be good, everything follows from that.

To get it right takes time. Our bags seem to need at least a year from first concept through to us actually selling them. In between are several sample cycles, adjustment and testing (I joke, but I really do carry our bags around so I know the strengths and the weaknesses). In between is also a lot of frustration and, on the upside, some great moments when we see how to make something better, or understand that yes, it's going to work.

Right now, I'm pissed off and feeling under time stress - having been let down by what I thought would be a great production partner next year. But in spite of this, I actually love the production side of things, it's so tangible and so satisfying when you see a bag go all the way from a vague idea to a reality in canvas and leather. Ideas are exciting, but making them into real things is better.


* By the way, for anyone thinking "handmade"? we largely nowadays use professional makers for our bags - but we do all the prints by hand. In this way, we're a bit like Etsians who print on ready-made tees or bags. However, we have the base bags made specially to our specs, we don't use mass-made, generally available ones as we find the quality is too low.

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