I get asked this question often and in a world where things just seem to appear out of thin air we wanted to point out the smooth (sometimes not so smooth) process of how we go from idea to products online.
A wise person once said, “He who holds information, holds the power”. If this happens to be true, we’d like to pass it on to you, so you can really get to know the brand and become a part of it. Here is our 14 step process on how we go about designing our product:
- Get inspired
- Do your research & scribble some ideas
- Plan (sometimes this step includes a sneaky week of traveling)
- Procrastination stage
- Final Design & Concepts
- Handover for sampling
- Sample arrives/First phase of Doubt begins
- Sample review, gather everyone I know to critique (cycle starts again)
- Second sample sets arrive (fear kicks in)
- Self doubt and second guessing stage
- Final comments before collection production
- Imagery and editorials (you cant screw it up at this point)
- Order shipment arrives
- Panic, now we have to sell all of this!!
1 Inspiration: This is one of our favourite steps, where the possibilities are endless (hover board handbags anyone?) and imagination is front and centre. Before any of the physical design happens, this step is the foundation, so you need to make sure you are going into the process with a clear head and a strong purpose.
2 Research: Once your mentally prepared and have a clear vision of what you intend to create, the research begins. This step consists of compiling product concepts, fabric techniques and construction ideas, right down to more abstract sources of inspiration like a painting that may inspire your colour theme or your neighbours roof tiles that may influence textures (yes, this still counts as research). Research does come in many forms, from the internet to people watching (our personal favourite) but the key to completing this step successfully is documentation. Figuring out the best way to document your research will make all the difference.
3 Planning, Data and a tinsy winsy bit of travel: Though us engineering types may get a little bit too excited at the sound of an excel spread sheet and data analysis,these activities are essential in running a business. Even for the more mood board inclined. You need to make sure that you are creating a product that fit both a need and a want, and most importantly, products that actually sell. You need to create a plan that outlines the purpose of each item.
This step is a bit of a luxury but travel can do some amazing things for inspiration and creativity. You will be surprised what your mind can come up with when surrounded by new smells and scenery. We often find inspiration in architecture, museums and even new people we meet.
4 Procrastination: Happens to the best of us, stop feeling sorry for yourself and get to it! You have gained momentum at this point. In physics terms, it takes a large or prolonged force to create momentum, however once stopped it would take a much larger force to recreate the same momentum in a stationary object. Don’t stop!! (my physics lecturer would be happy with that one. See? I was listening!)
5 Design Ideas & Concepts: Head down for this one. There are many ways to design. Find what works for you (I still use some of my civil engineering programs) and get the job done.
Once this is complete its time to finalise your spec sheet. If I could pass on one piece of advice, it would be; the more specific and detailed the information you provide, the less chance you have of being disappointed when the samples come in. Its all in the details!!
6 Handover: Time to pass on the information to your manufacturer. Spec Sheets for each product is handed over with all the necessary information (sketches, research examples, notes etc). Luckily, we have an awesome bunch of people that deal directly with our factories and handle the product’s complete production journey from development to delivery. This will make your life a whole lot easier.
7 Development sample stage:A big box arrives at your door step and it feels like Christmas. Its time to unwrap all your hard work. This step definitely can have the highest highs and the lowest lows (and will show you how well you completed step five!) Be prepared & brave enough to scrap an idea if it just isn’t working. You have got to be proud of the stuff you didn't do, as much as the stuff you did do. (Success is saying ‘no’ to a 1000 things as much as it is about saying yes). By now the ideas on paper are now physical fully-fledged, rough (sometimes very rough) products.
8 Sample reviews and critique: We have found that at this stage the more the merrier applies. This is when you need to start testing which of your products will sell. There are many ways to do this. We laid out all our designs on a table. We then had our test group go “shopping” with a budget restricting them to one or two items. From this, you can tally up which products will sell and which ones won’t (swallow your pride as this is when you need to have thick skin).
9 Secondary samples: Some of your products can go through many stages of sampling; we have some products that have made it through five rounds of changes before we were happy with it. Generally, by about the fourth round of sampling, if its not taking shape its important to be able to let go and bin it. Spending too much time on something that isn’t going to work means money and energy wastage!
10 Final comments: Now this is the absolute last chance you have to change any details. You will have a lot of questions running through your mind. Should I have changed the zip? Is it going to sell? Should I have gone with that Hover Board Bag design after all? At this point, you have to trust the process.
11 Self doubt.
12 Imagery: Your product can be the coolest/highest quality product on the market but if you don’t properly express that through imagery no one will ever know about it.
Take your time on this step. Editorial is your first impression to the world and the way most people are going to encounter your brand. This is the opportunity you get to portray your products exactly how you want them to be seen.
13 Bulk goods arrive (AKA the light at the end of the tunnel stage): When the bulk product arrives its always good to check the items to make sure that they are, indeed, the same as the samples previously received. Take it from us; this is where some of your worst nightmares come true. Items come in the wrong colour and the quality can be different. So please always check!!
14 Marketing: Well after all that, you would think you would be done, but in a cruel twist of fate, it's just beginning. After all this time, money, effort and procrastination you now have to go out and market and sell the stuff! But this step is another post in itself. So, if you made it this far, don’t forget to celebrate!!