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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  • emmayamada

    I LOVE the Artista !
    I like to see the process, I think it is very interesting and will make the bag very special to those of us who have followed you through your Journey.

  • Ben Hwang

    Crooked studs? Uhh… Unless it's super noticeable, a purse is a moving form. Expands, and such. No one really pays attention to that stuff, and it seems from pictures that Artista is fine. Too picky there unless you're trying to sell a $1k+ purse.

    I think the Artista is just fine as it is.

  • AppleSidra

    lol Ben. Okay I get it. I'm obsessive-compulsive. Like how that image above (…) has a tiny space in the bag view to the right that is not filled in with gray. It's blank. I am going psychotic staring at that tiny space. Should I redo it and repost? Should I just leave it there? Arrrrghhhh…. The tiny blank space is driving me NUTS.

  • AppleSidra

    Thank you, as always, for your kindness. =)

  • Ben Hwang

    That would probably bug me a little bit, but if it makes you happy, just repost it. Personally, I wouldn't bother since that's time spent that could be spent doing something else (like staring at crooked studs). I mean, come on… you know better than I how to prioritize time. lol.

  • AppleSidra

    I don’t think the hooks are placed well either. I wonder why all these manufacturers, who do this for a living, always seem to put the hook in funky places. Like okay, if you were making that bag based off somebody else’s briefs, wouldn’t you look at that construction and say, “I should probably put the hook centered at the top.” Or would you say, “Yeah, let me sew this half way down on the side of the bag.”?

  • mae Lu

    I would definitely buy the Executive, but I don't think the hook for the shoulder strap is strategically placed. If a strap were to go there, the bag would hang awkwardly and at an angle, which would put your files off balance. It would go better if it were centered on the side somewhere, rather than on the seam of the bag like that.

    I like the idea of the magnetic closure, but if it's a briefcase style satchel, would actual files be able to fit without the flap closure coming undone? And you're right, it looks stubby.

  • AppleSidra

    Fixed. Ahh. I feel so much better.

  • Asiancajuns (Cath)

    Love them all – as always! I’m definitely partial to tans and blacks for bags. I know it sounds boring but I want a bag that I can use for almost every outfit – especially if it’s as well-made and well thought bags like yours!

  • Jujuwa514

    I am definitely IN LOVE with the color of the Precisionist! It has this “muted” shade to it that would be perfect for a Spring collection! *drool*

    btw your hubby has a good eye! I had to do a double-take to see that the sillouette of the Artista wasn’t the same! YAY FOR HIM! haha!

  • tz

    Not boring at all! I’m partial to blacks too. As for tans, it has to be a really easy-to-match-everything nude kind of tan color for me to like it. Lately, I’ve been getting into dark red bags too for some reason.

  • tz

    Yes! I was thinking the color for a spring (2011) collection too! ;-D Yeah, Hubby has a remarkably sharp eye for this handbag gig thing, surprisingly.

  • Femme Rationale

    i love the muted mint color of the 1st bag. BUT the deep red clutch…swooooon! love love love!

  • AppleSidra

    lol, the deep red one wasn’t supposed to be a clutch. it’s presently missing handles, but that matter is being corrected. it’s supposed to be briefcase-size; a stylish, feminine briefcase to fit work files in.

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