Progress Report: (More) Final Tweaks

Last week was intense. I keep feeling like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. In any case, I’ve been working closely with our factory to finalize the confirmation samples. Confirmation samples are the final samples that a factory makes for you (usually on the house, and you don’t pay for these, unless you get unreasonable and start asking for too many redos) using the correct material, in the correct color swatches, correct linings, with all design elements finalized. You the designer would get one confirmation sample and the factory keeps one. Then mass production begins and the idea is every piece produced needs to be an exact replica of your confirmation sample. The factory would be obligated to correct and replace any pieces given to you that deviate from that confirmation sample. Ergo, confirmation samples are pretty darn important.

Currently we are at the halfway mark of finalizing our confirmation samples. The above chart I slapped together in MS Paint is intimidating. I feel like I have done so, so, so much work, and yet look where I am at in terms of progress! It’s not like “Shipment/Customs” is the end of the road either… because as you know, that’s the BEGINNING! Once I get the first round of inventory, then my real work BEGINS! Sales, marketing, publicity, all of that. Heaven almighty… anyway, let’s just focus on the now. Confirmation samples. Here’s what’s going on:

The left box above shows one final tweak on the Precisionist satchel. The sample that came back had 90 degree bottom corners, in other words the silhouette is essentially a rectangle. However I wanted a more angled shape, at 85 degrees. 90 to 85 doesn’t seem like a big difference, but oh my, it is!

We’re also adding purse feet to the Workaholic. See above right box.

I was going to change the angles on the Executive satchel brief also (pictured above, left-most image), but decided to leave it as-is. You can’t see the drop down handles, but the Executive will have cool  drop down handles along with the detachable shoulder strap pictured. =)

I put a question mark next to the Workaholic bag because I have no idea where that color came from. We ordered production of this bag in black and light pink. One of the confirmation samples that came back to us was that really bizarre pomegranate color.

So guess there was some sort of mix-up with the color swatches with somebody else’s account. Oh well. In any case, they assembled the above to give me an idea of what the bag would look like in the pink swatch I had chosen.

Below, you can see the same pink swatch on the Ambitionist briefcase:

The Ambitionist briefcase is by far the most functional bag for a professional, as is the Catalyst briefcase. These are great laptop bags, great for work if your office calls for “corporate conservative” wear, and naturally organizes file folders if you’re carrying a bunch of them on the go. We redesigned the handles to make the Ambitionist much sturdier. I decided to keep the long shoulder length handles, along with the detachable shoulder strap. The snapshot to the right above is not of the Ambitionist interior; it’s the Catalyst interior, though the compartments in both bags are the same.

Above is a snapshot of the Catalyst briefcase… without the TZ metal logo plate-thing. We had a bit of a complication during production and now we need to remake the metal logo plate molds. We’re currently waiting on the molds, so in the meantime, none of the samples have logo plates. =(

In our purchase order, I requested the Peripatetic (left above) bag to be in pink with dark brown as the accent color, and the Ambitionist (right above) bag to be in pink with black as the accent color. In the initial set of confirmation samples offered, I think there was yet another mix-up, and the Peripatetic came in pink and black, and the Ambitionist came in pink and dark brown. So that had to be clarified to the factory.

I do not know why, but as it is with samples production, when you change one detail here, something inadvertently gets changed over there. That’s just how it goes down… every time. The first photo above shows what I requested: add a patch to the center of the Peripatetic bag, but the patch would be in the same color as the main color of the bag (pink bag gets pink patch, green bag gets green patch, etc.).

However, the sample that came back had a dark patch instead. For all the patches, they used the darker accent color rather than the lighter main color. I was about to ask for it to be changed back to the lighter main color, but now I’m not so sure. Hubby prefers the patch as the darker accent color. This is still being debated.

Above is a snapshot of the Peripatetic in a very light jade green color being made (not done yet, as you can see). The samples worker is holding the bag up to show how it looks with those two columns in the dark accent color rather than the light main color. My specs had shown the two columns to be in the light main color.

So now I have a decision to make. Insist on the columns being the light main color, or agree to the change to the dark accent color. Depending on my mood, I keep changing my mind on which I prefer.

So above is an illustrated chart of all the possible options for the Peripatetic. “A” is the original design I spec-ed. “B” in pink is what came back for the pink bag. “C” in green is what came back for the green bag. “D” is me wondering if — assuming we go with the dark columns — if the bag would also look better with dark shoulder handles rather than light.

Hubby votes “B.” I still like “A” but am not sure. “C” for green looks kind of okay, except the color balance between the handles and the columns would be off, so I’m wondering if one prefers “C” with the darker columns, then wouldn’t in fact “D” be better, with better color balance?

Anyway. That’s my progress update. We’re also working on the dust bags, the purse hangers, figuring out exactly what we want to do about packaging, and finalizing all the other miscellaneous elements that are part and parcel to launching your own line.

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