Progress Report: Tweaking

Thought I’d offer a peek into what we’re up to. Well, we’re up to a lot, but on the design side, we’re tweaking. Above is a snapshot of the briefs I’m submitting to the manufacturer for changes. The side pockets of the Peripatetic weekender, for example, should have little snap buttons inside. This helps give the bag the silhouette I intended.

To communicate what I want, I took photos of the bags, then hand-sketched the same images with the desired adjustment, then took photos of the sketches (since I don’t have a scanner at home). See above. The sketches are a bit embarrassing to post. They were rapid ballpoint pen doodles with very little attention to detail; just trying to get the main points across. For example now that I’m staring at the sketch above, I’m shuddering because so much is off about it. But if it communicates to you that “there should be snap buttons along the interior of the pocket,” then it’s purpose is achieved.

We’re also adjusting the handles on the Executive satchel brief, though not by much. The left image is the original Executive. The right image is manipulated. Using the lasso function in MS Paint, I cut out the handle, moved it higher, and then filled in the empty space with red so it looks like the handle grew about an inch. Fun, eh? The metal logo plate has also been shifted down by just a sliver. We felt that tiny sliver of an adjustment balances out the bag better.

A detail I hadn’t anticipated would be important back during design stages: the location of the zipper head. I know! How could it not have occurred to me before!? Most women carry their handbags on their right shoulders, and where the zipper head is currently located on the bags, the bag would need to be removed from the shoulder to get to the zipper. Now if the zipper head was on the right side, you would be able to reach down and immediately unzip, rummaging through your bag while it’s still on your shoulder.

Of course I then went through my closet to check my own stash of handbags. Hmm. Many of them unzip from the left side, too. What’s going on here, the left-handed people are taking over the world? I wonder if there is an industry standard on which side the zipper should unzip from…

Another important issue is the quality of the zippers. I confirmed that the zippers on every bag is manufactured by YKK (a Japanese corporation), because they make some of the world’s best zippers. I didn’t want to be using some second rate zipper made after every corner was cut so that it could be sold cheaper. I appreciate the YKK standard and needed my zippers to be YKK. We’re also changing all the zipper heads. I prefer metal zipper heads, so now we’re on the hunt for a manufacturer of pretty metal zipper heads.

Then there’s the business part of all this. Yeah. I forget that this is a business, and that at the end of the day, I should probably sell some of these handbags… We’re querying and dealing with retail buyers and creative directors. May I just say wow, what a fascinating hands-on learning experience it’s been. Talk about teaching someone to swim by tossing them in the deep end of the pool! And there isn’t even any lifeguards around. Please wish us luck!

click on screenshot to be taken directly to form

Finally, we’re now taking pre-orders from our direct buyers (in other words, you). Complete and submit the form here or check out the Shop page on our website ( Submitting this form won’t commit you to anything. It simply gives us a better idea of what you want and a way to anticipate which bags will likely be popular (in other words, which bags to make more of). This is also your opportunity to be heard. If there’s a color you would like to see a certain bag in and it’s not offered, let us know! If there’s something about something you’d like to see different, tell us. No guarantees we’ll change it, but I guarantee we’ll hear you out and think it over carefully.

To those of you (who I’m ever grateful for) following this blog, please get the word out about Taryn Zhang. In the meantime on our end, we’ve got plenty to do. This week we’re working on everything I mentioned above (plus our day jobs plus trying to stay sane) and this Saturday is our photo shoot (the real one). Speaking of the photo shoot, this afternoon on my lunch break, I’m going to go scout out the sets that we’ll be shooting at, and talk to people to make sure everything is prepared and immediately ready to go first thing Saturday morning. Exciting!

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