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

Visit us at
This entry was posted in Business Development, Collection, Design Conception, Learning Curve, Musings, Progress, Sketches SW. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Joey

    I really like your sketch. I’m going out in a bit, so I’ll come back to read your post properly, but meanwhile in reply to your comment on my ekiLove purchase:

    Hiya, it may have been a bit confusing because I linked to Eki’s blog, her ekiLove website and her actualy ekiLove webstore. It does seem that her ekiLove website doesn’t link to her store, but in any case, here’s the link
    Hope this helps :) Can’t wait to see what you get! :D

  • AppleSidra

    THANKS!! Yes, that really helps.

  • AppleSidra

    I just ordered a cute kitty necklace from ekiLove! Thanks for referring me to that designer!

  • Emma Yamada

    I am Loving the red! I would probably want a Red bag.

  • JoJo

    Hmm these are such complicated decisions! But what fun ones to make :) I like the tones you’re leading towards (the more nude-pink and the celadon). The other pink is too Barbie for the office still, as you’ll be pushing it enough I think already with the more neutral tone. And I agree with your friend on the other blue-green tone – it’s a bit wishy-washy in the images you posted here.

    Actually, I think the red and the bluey-green tones might make a very provocative mix, if given the right shade. Probably too provocative except for more creative offices, but hey they need bags too!

  • AppleSidra

    Yes, red + blue is very provocative and definitely gearing toward the creative professions. Actually, I love how a really dark navy blue looks paired with an orange! I think that blue and orange combo is so striking, but I’m not sure many women would buy a blue and orange office bag. =( The hardest part is balancing creativity and design (what I want to do) with practicality and marketability (if I think it’s awesome for a blue and orange furry bag that shoots fireworks whenever the clock strikes 12, would I be able to market it? If not, what’s the point in shelling out so much money for production to make a blue and orange furry bag that shoots fireworks whenever the clock strikes 12? know what I mean?)

  • AppleSidra

    P.S. I do like the red and blue combo. It’s so bold and definitely within our brand theory. Will think about it some more. Thank you for the tip!! =D

  • Betty Faith

    45 & 24 cause it’s more bold color to stand off from the black. Also, 45 looks really good with the brown too.

  • Michelle Sears

    Thank you so much for following my blog!!!

  • Joey

    44 and 24. It’s just personal preference, really. I felt that 45 may be a bit too girly and may be a bit harder to match with outfits. 24 because like you said, there’s more pigment to it so the green is a bit more obvious. Just my 2 cents :)
    Such difficult choices! Hope you manage to choose them soon!

    And oh, I know which necklace you meant! Nice! I want to get a necklace from her, to. Just to complete the set. hehe

  • The Versastyle

    ahh i missed so much on here cuz i have been a bad blogger friend!! … your HK trip looked awesome. Hahah I love how many girls are in heels at a theme park!! yay for heels! and the purse holding… i feel sorry for the guys but they seem to enjoy it?? haha..

    the trial run of the bag made me laugh.. but yes bigger is better!! … i say that only cuz i lug two laptops with me almost all the time. I am a mac and pc.

    hope all is well dear!


  • danielle

    I pick 24 because it looks more like a minty green. That color is more ‘alive’ and gives off the feeling of spring- more fresh. Personally I think an ivory or light nude shade would make a great addition to the bags family cause after all, neutrals can go with any colored outfits. I don’t think a lot of ppl would wear many diff colored dress shirts or blazers at work (standard black, white, etc right?) but a neutral colored hand bag will almost guarantee the wearer to reach for it more often even on her off days whether she’s in her LBD, denim jacket, or bright tights : )

  • danielle

    oops forgot to sign off as me (Danielle from : D

  • respect_the_shoes

    Holy cow, I had no idea how involved it was to design a bag – I couldn’t pick one color, much less a combo and design! It sounds like exciting stuff though!

  • The Compassion Fashion Project

    I think you must be a born designer to put so much thought into this process. Okay, I don’t know if you are still trying to decide, but I really like the lighter swatches, # 44 and #25. I am just a big fan of that sage green color, so I am partial to that one, in fact that’s the exact color I am wanting to paint my living room:) I can understand your friend’s point about the “dirty” aspect, but as long as the color is not on the bottom portion of the bag, I think it could work. I would for sure go with the pink! Must have a little “girly” choice in there! ~Meredith

  • AppleSidra

    Thanks, M! I’m definitely going with the 44. I’m still debating between 24 and 25. =(

  • AppleSidra

    It’s definitely exciting stuff, but it’s exciting AND frustrating all at once! It’s both! =P

  • AppleSidra

    This is true, D… I definitely want a neutral colored bag. What I like about that nudier pink is that it could pass as a neutral,. It’s not “pink” enough to be a true pink.

  • lisa

    Phew, a lot of thought goes into the colour selection! I agree with the friend who pointed out that lighter hues would show dirt more; when I’m considering a handbag that factor can be a dealbreaker.