Samples Round 2: Precisionist, Artista, and Executive

Please note that the following handbags represent first prototypes and serious blunders. This blog documents our trials and errors and tracks our progress from inexperienced start-up to launching the Taryn Zhang brand. Please bear that in mind as you look through these photos and illustrations.

After I submitted the spec briefs for production and before the above sample came, I contemplated editing this bag out of the initial collection. However, if I may say so, that is a pretty cute satchel. Me thinking that it is cute is not a justification for putting this bag through production, however. I’m trying hard to examine it objectively, but it’s not easy. I’m worried that maybe my subjective is getting shady on me, disguising itself as objective and… and this is not a blog about Cartesian theory or methodological skepticism. Oi vey. Let’s move on.

This is the Precisionist, in a color I have referred to interchangeably as either seafoam green or jade green. I saw the swatch for this pretty light green and just wanted to see how it’d look on a bag. If I do end up producing this bag, I’m thinking in black, for sure, maybe one in a pale rose color, and maybe also a beige-taupe-something-tannish. I really don’t know. The color issue is totally eluding me.

Next, the Artista, a bowler shoulder tote and matching clutch, a clutch that was formerly the Modernist (see its evolution here and here). The Artista and the Unnamed weekender are the two more casual styles in the first collection, the Unnamed being a travel bag and the Artista for the artsy professions.

Above renderings are from original doodles of the Artista bag set (bowler tote and clutch). I pictured the bag on the arms of a bohemian spirited writer who has flown off to Europe without telling a soul. She’s there to be inspired and to write without distraction. Hmm, but then if I flew to Europe, I hardly think I’d sit in a hotel room all day and night writing. I’d get out there and, well, see Europe. Anyway. Silly or not, that’s what I pictured, a lone traveling woman seeking to be inspired.

Above is a side by side comparison of the MS Paint sketch and the actual sample. The plastic wrap over the handles is obstructing view of the braided detailing, which is my favorite part of this bag.

Hubby noted immediately that the silhouette is wrong. My original sketch has that extra diagonal flare out on the two edges. The sample produced is just a basic arc shape, no extra diagonal flares. I had said, “so what?” Hubby, on the other hand, thinks it’s a big deal. He thinks that little extra flare is what makes this particular bag unique. Otherwise, it’s just another bowler bag. Hmm. He sort of has a point, though frankly, I still don’t mind the sample, sans flare.

We haven’t seen the corresponding clutches and wristlets to any of the bags yet. That’s forthcoming. See above for an angled view of the Artista bowler-style tote. I appreciate the side pockets, one to stash a phone, and the other to stash miscellaneous receipts. Not sure how many miscellaneous receipts are cluttering the bottom of your handbag, but mine… I’m pretty sure if I looked hard enough in one of my many bags, I’ll find a receipt from the 90s…

The first issue that leaps out at me is quality control. I am going to have a crazy time checking and double-checking each Artista bag to make sure those studs are equidistant. Like I’m not busy enough. For every order of the Artista, prior to shipment, I’m going to have to sit there and make sure I’m not sending someone a bag with crooked studs. The Artista bag is going to be a quality control nightmare. I need to rethink this bag’s design.

The Executive satchel brief is one of the bags I couldn’t wait to see. (Random doodling of the Executive previously posted here.) It’s essentially a briefcase, or can be used as one, but is not briefcasey. It’s very, well, it’s very Taryn Zhang. 🙂 For the business woman with style; adding just a touch of flair to corporate conservative. Except the above sample has a couple of major issues that need attention. For context, let’s see the specs:

So okay, my first question is where are the handles? Where did my two handles go? Erf? It’s a briefcase clutch! Yay! Have fun hugging your files under your armpit! 😉 No, seriously. Going to have to inquire further with the production team.

The second issue is the flap, which closes by magnetic snap closure. I love magnetic snap closures! Anyway, it’s too short. That short makes it funny looking. But if too long, it’s going to end up looking like a nose. Proportion is everything here. Now that I’m looking at my illustrated spec, it’s already too long, so thank goodness to the production team for shortening it, but what they did is too short. We need a happy proportion.

And finally, is that the best place to sew on the hook for the shoulder strap? (The Executive brief comes with a detachable adjustable shoulder strap.) I was thinking maybe centered, at the top edge of the side walls. Well we’ll work on this. Perhaps I’ll realize it makes better sense for the hook to be where it is right now, who knows. I’m still learning.

For Round 2 of samples production, we’ve seen previews of the following: the Workaholic, which I like; the Tycooness, which I don’t like and we need to fix it, a lot; the Unnamed, which needs a name but otherwise I like it as long as we make those side chains optionally detachable… can I say that, optionally detachable? And now we have the Precisionist, like; the Artista, ambivalent, need to figure out why I’m ambivalent about this bag and what can I do to make me like it more; and finally, the Executive, which I’ll love more if I can get some info on where the handles went.

And we wait for more. Round 2 is not yet complete. Also, some of the designs require a Round 3. Sigh. Revision after revision… this is worse, this is way more work and effort than drafting motions or memoranda of points and authorities or even writing short stories or law review articles. This is a lot of editing work. (And usually people don’t show the world their rough drafts, yet here I am doing exactly that, showing the world wide web all my rough, rough drafts…am I crazy?)

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