From design to mimosas
Learning the manufacturing process and staying one step ahead has led me to many sleepless nights that had color combos and material options on my mind. It’s all the fun activities that have led to this moment when the purse comes off the manufacturing floor and is then accompanying you at your next brunch date.
And I may need to join you for a few mimosas by the time this process is complete!
I have an extensive background in Marketing and MBA, so I like to think I have the business aspects under control, or so I thought. The steps leading up to manufacturing my own purse line has proven to be fun, tiring, and so exciting that I thought I’d share a little bit of the process and how we got to where we are today.
From concept to leading up to production:
1. I needed to locate a reliable and quality purse manufacturer in the USA. I wanted to control all aspects of developing a new product so I wanted to stay close to home. This allowed me to be very hands on and have control and input over every aspect of purse production. I also needed a manufacturer that was willing to work with me as someone new to the manufacturing process and that did not require a large order minimum. This took some time to locate a manufacturer I was comfortable with based on my business goals and included many let downs. I compare it to the early stages of dating and getting dumped every other week.
2. Once I located my manufacturer, I developed a technical drawing of my purse design.I started off with sending my pencil sketches to someone to put into a digital rendering of the purse.The digital rendering of the purse included everything from the materials to use, dimensions, and other direction a manufacturer would need to know including seam placement.
Technical drawing – a few of the many purse views to ensure that my vision was communicated accurately to the manufacturing team.
Digital purse rendering in color with single and tri-panel (two colors). I decided to go with the two color (tri-panel) purse as the first purse we’d create for the Lucky Jack bag line.
3. With the technical drawing of my purse, I was now ready to meet with my manufacturing team to discuss the drawing and clarify items that the drawing did not convey. The manufacturing team also had design recommendations they’d propose based on their experience and their interpretation of the technical drawings.
4. Once we finalized the design questions, we were onto sample phase. I was responsible for selecting and ordering the materials for the sample purse, so I spent a lot of time ordering various snaps, zippers, and other materials and then shipped to my manufacturer. I had shipments arriving almost daily with new things to play with including color cards, buckles, snaps, etc. and I was in heaven, but also overwhelmed with so many choices.
Bag material for the purse exterior – I chose leather as it’s very durable and fit my target markets wishes in a purse
Silk lining for the inside of the bag
Flat nylon webbing (think of a nice dog collar) that was exact matched and dyed to match the bag
Buckle for nylon bracelet/wristlet handle
Eyelets for the bracelet buckle holes
Snap for the detachable strap option
Gold zipper and pull
Rivets for bracelet assemble including bracelet loop
5. The sample wristlet arrived and I was extremely happy with it. I had only a few minor adjustments including making the detachable nylon bracelet a bit smaller in width and adjusting some of my sample materials when I went into final production. For a new business in product production, having a sample made will give you peace of mind that the final product will be close to what you are envisioning and well worth the investment to test out materials and the translation of your design into reality.
6. Next step is selecting final materials to be used in the final purse and ensuring you have the quantities needed to meet your production batch. Since my production date is in August, I had time to finalize materials for the final product.
I just recently returned from NYC for materials sourcing, so stay tuned for our trip recap of seeing the city from the garment district.