New Swatches & Microeconomics

We cannot use the swatches we picked before and on top of having to pick new swatches, I cannot select more than five. Production costs will spike if I order more than five colors. The colors cannot simply be five randomly selected colors I like either, oh no, because I have two-toned bags, such as the Ambitionist and Peripatetic.

I’ve decided on three of the colors: black, a really dark chocolate brown, and a dark red. The other two colors will have to be two colors that can be paired in some way with at least two of the colors above. Why do I have to have the contrasting color pairs?

The modern day career woman needs to balance dualities in the workplace. She needs to assert herself and negotiate for her own advancement in traditionally-masculine ways, and yet she is also pressured into retaining traditionally-feminine characteristics and appearances. (Like how many firms still consider the skirt suit and pearls to be more formal and appropriate for corporate women than a pant suit adorned with a necktie-like scarf, because the skirt suit better fits how we think women should dress.)

Random doodle from my sketchpad posted here because I needed an image to break up the big chunks of text.

Also the [unrealistic] expectation that women can and should harmonize home/family with work/career or risk public scrutiny and broken relationships was a concept I wanted to express in my designs, hence all the contrast stitching and bags with two contrasting colors. Women, generally more so than men, seem to be more sensitive to balancing all of our inner, philosophical, and spiritual dualities, and the pairing of contrasting colors and stitching is reflective of that.

Now… as for the pairings of contrasting colors… And remember, only five color choices. I can’t order more than five colors. One must be black, one must be dark brown, because those are still going to be the popular go-to colors that women will buy, and one in dark red, another go-to color. Plus, I love the boldness of red. It makes a great statement in the workplace.

So really, it’s only two color choices, and they need to be matched with either the black, the dark brown, or the dark red. These three colors are quite austere, and quite boring in how classically-corporate they are. So to contrast them, I really want to integrate soft, pretty colors. One of my objectives for starting this label is to challenge our notions of what should pass as business formal. What better than pink? Hardly anyone sees pink as “business formal.” Oh, but I’ll make it so! =D

And to that end I definitely like a pastel antique rose color. (That, by the way, eliminates the red swatch as a potential contrast.)

The above two shades of pink are what I’m debating between right now. Votes for either or would really help in my decision-making process.

As I’ve noted in previous posts on swatch selection, when I take photographs of the swatches, the photos always upload all washed out and faded, almost gray. So I tried to find MS Paint colors that were as close to the actual swatch color as I could render.

“44” is a nudy, neutral pink. “45” has a hint of lilac in it, but still definitely a pink. Right now I’m leaning toward “44,” but Hubby votes for “45.”

“44” or “45”… ugh! I don’t know!

My other swatch selection is this jade mossy green light tea green maybe we can call it celadon colored green. And the two shades I’ve narrowed it down to are “24” and “25.”

Initially I was leaning toward “25,” and then a friend said she preferred “24” because the “25” color was so light, it looked like it would easily attract dirt. Good point, I realized. There’s also more pigment to “24” than there is to “25.” That “25” color is really, really light, more yellow than green. The more I look at the colors now, the more I prefer “24.” Still, it’s up for debate. So… “24” or “25”? Which to go with?

Going left to right, the third and fifth bags pictured above are two-toned. And the two colors must be selected from the limited five colors I order. Realistically, that means these two-toned bags can only come in two (2) two-toned options.

(FYI I slapped together six different photos of the six bags and put them side by side. So they are NOT to scale, at all. For example, third one from the left, the Peripatetic, is by far the largest of the bags, a weekender; but above, it looks smaller than the Workaholic, the fourth one from the left, a “business casual” shoulder tote. Ionno why I did it that way. I hope it won’t cause any irreparable confusion!)

Currently I’m thinking for the Peripatetic tote (third one from the left), offer it in the pink with dark brown accent and the celadon green color with black accent. For the Ambitionist briefcase (fifth one from the left), pink with black accent and the celadon green with black accent. I don’t really have a rationale for going with the pink-and-brown on one design and pink-and-black on the other, but that’s my intuition and I’m following it. Or not. My mind is changing every other day. So any input from you is really welcome.

I’m probably making this more complicated than it really is. Five colors. First three: black, brown, and red. Remaining two must be colors that contrast and complement at least two of the first three color choices. And the colors must in some significant way express TZ’s brand theory. My goal is to decide and order the five colors by end of this week.

If resources were unlimited, so would the color options that TZ bags come in! For sure! You could buy a TZ briefcase in sparkly gold for all anybody cares, and neon orange. No, but seriously, at the very least I’d include the grays, a purple, both a light and a dark shade of blue, and throw in a white option for the intrepid. (I’d never carry a white handbag because I am a stain and dirt magnet, but a woman with a white handbag looks ultra-chic, so definitely TZ should offer a white option.)

Alas, resources are limited and five colors is already pushing it, by a lot. If it’s possible to reduce it down to four, I may go ahead and reduce it down to four. In fact it would be great if I could reduce it down to four! Sigh. So this coming week, I’ll be carrying my swatches with me wherever I go and thrusting them under the noses of all who are willing to give me the time of day to select “44” or “45” and “24” or “25.”

About tarynzhang

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