This morning I spoke with the 3 manufacturers that I am considering for my first wave of production. These conversations were painful and tedious, but essential for my business progress.
There are pros and cons for each manufacturer, here’s a topline summary:
Manufacturer #1: reasonably close proximity to me, can do more intricate leatherwork, but is pricey and really disorganized.
Manufacturer #2: has manufactured laptop bags in the past so he understands construction, but his factory is far away from me. Not flaky but only seems moderately interested in the project.
Manufacturer #3: same as above but he might be cheaper than the other two. He can’t do one type of leatherwork that I think is a dealbreaker. He’s flaky, but very interested in the project. He seems a little old school, like a “you play by MY rules” kind of guy, which is a huge turn-off. There can only be one boss-man, and that’s me!
I may end up asking manufacturer #1 to make samples, and if the #2 guy is interested, I may ask him to make samples too, and then see which manufacturer makes better quality products. I think the #3 factory is my back-up in case the others decline the job. I can’t believe how long it’s taken just to get quotes for prototypes. I also heard from a ton of people in the industry that it takes about 3 rounds to get the sample to look right. If I can get the samples done within the next 2-3 months, I can at least try to meet with buyers to try to secure orders for the fall. Unfortunately if things keep progressing as slowly as they have been, laptops may be extinct by the time I get my bags launched.
I spent the afternoon revising the hangtag copy and naming some of my products. It was a fun creative exercise and a good way to end my work day, which has finally come to a close. Adios!