Monday, June 6, 2011

Day Twenty: My most successful bag failure

"The difference between successful people and failures, is not that successful people don't fail. Because they do. But successful people in life find a way to take life bumps and get back up. "
~ Dr. Flowers, best advice I got in college.

Welcome back from the weekend. We hope you had a good time. I've decided to take a break today from talking about the shop's design successes and stop for a moment to talk about one of our design failures. It's always fun to show off one's successes, but I've found that it has been the failures that caused me to grow the most a designer. While we could just show you our successes, it seems somehow right to balance them against one of my failures.

One of my early failures can be seen here. The evening clutch. I originally designed these as a medium-sized bag made from recycled upholstery fabrics that I fell in love with at a store closing. I was so proud of the initial design and the first few sold quickly. However, once I got through the first few models, I ran into an unexpected problem. While the bags looked cute on the outside, I had not thought to put pockets on any of the insides. I invested most of my time in fabric quality selection and looks, and not very much on customer usability. Customers loved the bag, but wanted pockets! No girl wants to stand there looking silly while she digs for her keys.

This was a great lesson I've since learned and the next bag I designed that I added pockets to sold really well. And this brings me to today's thought which is that long-term success as a designer involves a willingness to learn from one's mistakes. It would be nice to be perfect, but my customers continue to surprise me with ideas and needs I would have never thought of in the first place. Answering their needs and designing for them has become more important to me than being perfect. Most good designers go through 5 or 6 designs to come up with a final product. There's nothing wrong with putting a some sweat and elbow grease in to make things work. Especially if you are doing something new, interesting, or challenging.

So I leave you today with the most important secret I've learned to successful design, which is learning to leave yourself room to fail and get back up. It's slightly messy and complicated, but also very honest. I hope you enjoy the rest of our designs we present over the remaining 20 days.

Please continue to support us on Kickstarter.

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