Progress Report: Disappointed

(Note: Isn’t it eerie how the above photograph kind of has this emotional vibe to it that exudes disappointment? Even my little bag in the above pic looks “disappointed.”)

I’ve been MIA because I’ve been moping while I try to figure out what my next move should be. After the generally fantastic outcome of samples for the debut collection came (months ago), I went ahead on making prototypes of the designs in all sorts of colors and materials, switching things up at a very, very minor level just to see how it’d go. That completely backfired on me.

Instead of diving right into the horrors, which will indeed horrify, I started this post by posting something decent, the Precisionist satchel brief in black. Even that, though, had problems. Nothing that arrived this time around was perfect. Every bag had problems, from big “oh my @#$%^&*” level problems to “well… guess it could have been worse.” Since the above Precisionist in black was one of the “well… guess it could have been worse” bags, I’ll save it for last.

Now that everybody has been warned, the worst of the lot: The Executive, which got changed up every which way for the ugly.

Below to the left in red is the original Executive satchel brief, the one featured in all the photographs on the main site. To the right is the horrible sample in a slightly different shade of red that came in last week.

I had asked for two minor adjustments: handles SLIGHTLY longer, just so it can accommodate hands of many sizes and shapes, and to fix the flap. The original sample at left had alignment issues with the magnetic snap button. I also added purse feet. The purse feet change is the only one that came out okay.

In handbag design, even the slightest modification can throw off the balance and proportion of the entire bag. Case in point, above. Technically, the increase in handle drop wasn’t that much, nor was the increase in length of the flap. But these centimeter differences killed the design. Utterly, cruelly slaughtered it. A design bloodbath of epic proportions.

Designers need to be picky. Maybe I’m even pickier due to a personality defect but notwithstanding personality defect, designers need to be really picky. Subtle details make huge differences. For example, the first sample of the Executive that came had the metal TZ logo plate affixed way too high on the flap. I don’t know what the samples maker was thinking. See below first photo on left.

Under what framework of common sense does that look good to somebody, I don’t know. I said, please lower the plate slightly, so it is centered on the flap. They produced what you see in the middle photo above. That’s the actual sample I have sitting on my desk right now. The photo to the right is photoshopped, an illustration of what I wanted, you know, the plate centered, albeit the flap in that one is still too long. They turned my dainty little front flap into a giant schnoz! Sigh.

The Executive satchel has drop-down handles, so you can use it sort of messenger-bag style with the detachable shoulder strap (not pictured). The smaller flap size as seen in the original satchel brief at left makes such a big difference. The overall design is more balanced with the smaller flap. In the satchel brief at right, the longer flap compromises the elegance of the design. I know the samples maker probably thinks I’m picky, but just look at it. Pickiness counts.

Here’s a side view of the bags (one at left is the original, one at right is the new sample that just came in):

In the red samples pictured at the beginning of this post, I fully extended the handles to show the crazy increase in handle drop length. That length is utterly unacceptable. I lowered it in the below photo to show where I want the length to be at:

Ideally the handles should be just long enough to wrap your fingers around and carry like a briefcase. After all, the satchel brief comes with a shoulder strap, so if you want practicality, just use the shoulder strap.

I like the Executive satchel brief in black. This looks good, with the exception of the schnoz of a flap, which should be smaller, as discussed earlier. If the samples maker had done me right with the flap and the handle length was as pictured, the bag would be quite cute, and something I would love to carry to work everyday. Such a shame. Minor, very minor details killed the design.

I’ll say this though: craftsmanship is great. See above for the Executive satchel brief in another color option.

Now the Catalyst brief… went from briefcase to suitcase. There’s nothing in the above photograph to give reference to size, but suffice it to say when Hubby and I took this bag out of its box, we simultaneously exhaled, “Whoa.” I like this material though. Feels very nice to the touch, and is quite sturdy. It doesn’t have that icky “fake leather” feel to it that some vegan leather (namely PVC) comes with. So at least this material is a keeper.

Here’s a close-up of my handle design, which I’m really liking and applying to almost all the bags in this collection:

Both form and function are right in that handle base design: I like how it looks, and it makes for some super sturdy handles!

Here’s a shot of the accompanying Catalyst wristlet clutch:

The wristlet cord is attached to the wrong end. And they messed up the interior design, which should be wallet-like and very organized. Anyway.

See where they attached the cord? First, the overwhelming majority of us are right handed, so when we carry that on our wrist, the TZ logo plate is in the INSIDE, facing in, rather than facing out. Isn’t that ridiculous? More strangeness: Imagine, with the cord where it as you see it pictured, where your hand would go when you clutch this, well, clutch. Your hand would completely cover the TZ logo plate. So ridiculous! The cord should be on the OTHER opposite side, so your hand partially covers that curve design thing, which is okay, but the TZ logo plate remains visible, and facing out (for right-handed individuals). Arrgh! Infuriating. Not to mention I specifically requested double-headed zippers, for convenience. These all have only single-headed zippers. I am in love with double-headed zippers and definitely made a big stink over it, so how they managed to overlook it is beyond me.

The Ambitionist briefcase, which is turning into a bestseller item with the overwhelming number of requests and inquiries for it (every other female lawyer I run into wants the Ambitionist brief!), came out decent, though they forgot to make the change on the handles I requested. See how the handle base in the dark brown and camel one above is different from the Catalyst handle bases? They should be the same design. I don’t know how that got overlooked either. 

At least the dark brown and camel Ambitionist briefcase looks good. It’s not my top pick for a color combination, but I’m thinking about making it available for those who are more into the browns. Personally I’m not a brown handbag kind of gal.

Here is the matching Ambitionist clutch wallet. Again, they messed up the interior compartments. Sigh.

In my midnight frenzy of photo shooting (that’s when I took these pics), I forgot to take pictures of the Ambitionist briefcase in gunmental black. Oops. However, I got in a shot of the matching Ambitionist clutch wallet in that color. See below:

This color and material is a definite Like! I think the above photo, in spite of the poor lighting, is a fair representation of the exact shade. There’s also the slightest subtlest sheen to the material, which is quite nice. The material feels elegant and expensive (which it is; this stuff isn’t cheap for me!). I would definitely take this clutch to one of my many business formal evening events (in spite of the fact they messed up the interior compartments).

Above is the Precisionist satchel in camel. The side metal ring bowtie decoration details on the two sides of the face got messed up. That is not how I designed the front face to look. Other than the mess-up on the metal ring bowtie decoration things, it looks good. Here’s the back view (every single bag in this collection has a back zip pocket because that’s how I like it):

A neat, clean design. How I like it. Let me try to get the handle out of the way so you can see the front face again, since I really like the design of it:

Hubby doesn’t like this material. He thinks this bag design looks crappy with this material, so we may switch back to the original material used (you’ll see it on the main website in the Precisionist links).

I haven’t shown photos depicting the buckling at the top around the main zipper. It’s horrid. Poor craftmanship there. Hubby says it’s because of the material I picked. Okay, maybe that’s true. But the samples maker should have warned me about it. I got nothing.

The Precisionist in black looks good. Again, they messed up the metal ring bowtie decoration things on the sides. That’s not how I designed it. That slight difference substantially reduces the overall elegance of the bag. Small details can make or break you in design. I wish the manufacturer and I were on the same page to that regard. They don’t seem to care about the details, and as a result, we keep having to reinvent the wheel over and over again while we attempt to get each detail right.

This post set forth 20% of the problems I’m experiencing right now. Twenty. Percent. Now you know why I’ve been MIA and moping? I need to change my profile picture in the right hand column from the happy face you see now to a frowny face. =(

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