Learning Curve: Loose Pins and Doodie Happens

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.

I wonder whether other businesses get as in-depth about their boo-boos as this blog does. We’ve graphically shown all sorts of design nightmares in the past (such as here, here and herehere, and many more; see archives), and now we learn just how much attention we must pay to quality control.

The above is a photo sent in by one of our beloved customers. I almost fainted when I saw that. Lucky for us we’ve got some of the best customers ever and she was out-of-this-world patient and understanding. Alas, that doesn’t change the fact that something went wrong during production for the above to happen. Here is a close-up:

The bottom rung of the square purse ring came loose and fell off. That rung, I’ve learned from my factory, is called a pin. This sort of thing shouldn’t happen, which is why I’m a little ticked off.

Short term and specific to this case, we’re getting a replacement pin for the customer. Long term, we need some warranties from the factory. And we need to implement some sort of feasible system for testing the quality of each bag before we ship to customers. And then we’ve got to figure out what our own company’s warranties will be.

To test the durability of our bags, we’ve been filling them up with law school casebooks (very heavy stuff) and suspending them by both handles, by one handle, and then by the detachable shoulder strap to see if they’ll hold. We leave it like that for a week and then scrutinize for any wear and tear. At some point we will also quality test by using the bags as piñatas, but not right now because doing so would break my heart. These bags are my babies! I can’t imagine taking a bat to beat the daylights out of my babies!

Taryn Zhang will be a company grounded in uncompromising standards and good faith business practices because if that’s not how I can run a company, then I don’t want to run a company at all. With that said, how do I balance my personal paradigms with economically sound and prudent business practices, especially when prudence has never been one of my character fortes? These are the questions I’ve been pondering lately. How can I do what I love, what I am passionate about, and still yield profit?

Feeling overwhelmed. =/

About tarynzhang

Visit us at www.tarynzhang.com.
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