March 8, 2018 – A Wrinkle In Production

We landed in Milan after a quick cloudless flight across from Amsterdam. The views across the snow-covered Alps were spectacular.

The reason for the sudden trip? A wrinkle in production!

One of the learning curves of creating a new product is getting the right materials to meet the quality we have in mind for our bags. Unfortunately, the first material we had chosen to try was not meeting our expectations. Our desire is to have exceptional quality bags made from faux-leather without sacrificing anything in style. We want our bags to look amazing. So when our craftsman complained that the fabric we had sourced was not flexible enough to work with, we had to make a trip to find a solution.

When we got to our craftsman’s studio we could see immediately what he was meaning. The folds of the bags were just not smooth enough in the corners. When we had chosen the fabric he had thought it would be manageable, but it had proven more difficult than expected and was causing wrinkles in our bags.

Our product consultant Massimo had also travelled to the studio to meet with us and our craftsman, Luciano. This was an important meeting for us.

And when we arrived at the studio it became apparent that this was also an important meeting for Luciano, as he had left his three dogs at home with his wife. In past meetings, these three adorable rascals were keen to also be part of the meeting. Vying for Luciano’s attention like young children and excited about having visitors to entertain. This time the meeting was a little more systematic. Except for the compulsory pre-meeting banter between Massimo and Luciano about the elections held a few days prior. In true Italian style, this type of discussion includes a lot of loud exclamations, hand gestures and passionate rapidly spoken Italian. After 15 minutes let’s just say, they agreed to disagree and the real reason for our visit began (more peacefully).

The meeting progressed with the two men, chins in their hands, thoughtfully looking at the bags. They would pick one up, take a critical look at it from all sides and then go back to stroking their chins and leaning back against the worktables. Before suddenly bursting into a back and forth banter of thoughts, ideas and possibilities. The problem was not dire, but the fabric was just not quite meeting our expectations and we are glad to be working with Massimo and Luciano who both also understand the importance of quality work. Luciano’s son Fabio, was also in the studio working on his own assignments and was happy to add his thoughts and visions to the meeting. This was a great bonus to have not just one, but two expert Italian craftsmen working with us!

So, while the sample bags produced with the first fabric were not exactly to our level of expectation, they were a great learning curve and it was amazing to see the bag designs come to life. We were able to understand more about what it takes to really create bags at the level of quality we require. And it makes us very glad we have people like Luciano who understand the fine art of craftsmanship and making each piece immaculate in design and structure.

After a long Italian lunch and much more discussion, we returned to the airport with sample bags to take with us to fabric suppliers and for general feedback on the design from others in the know in the fashion field.

We will return to Italy at the end of this month to talk with our potential suppliers and to determine a new material to trial. The process of creating our first ILNI creation is well underway.

 

Alla prossima – Until Next Time