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Sourcing Materials

10/28/14

Leather Sourcing Alesya Bags[Leather samples]

One major difference between my old manufacturer and my new one is the way we source materials.  In the old process the factory would source my materials.  I’d tell them about what I wanted and then I’d receive 3-10 suitable choices, pick one and the process would continue.

With my new manufacturer I’m responsible for sourcing and purchasing all the materials up front.  This is a good change because:

  • Now I know the exact origin of each product component
  • There are limitless choices and I can get exactly what a want
  • Along with my manufacturing team we can make educated choices about which materials will last the longest, look the best and function well

Lining Source Alesya Bags[A series of fabric samples for interior lining.  You can see – at one point – I was thinking blue.]

The one big drawback?  Time.  It takes more time.  Especially at the get-go.  Why?  Let me paint a picture.

We had our leather supplier in place for months.  Pricing, timing…all set.  Then on a recent visit we started to think about what colors would be best for clients and which ones they’d want the most.  A color change happened.  Looking for this new shade with the current supplier we found that particular shade wasn’t ideal.  There were other colors, from other suppliers, that were better.

Decided to switch leather suppliers.  Order the colors books – you can see some of them in the first image on this post.  Order leather and send it to my manufacturer.   Get the call, “Alesya, this is beautiful leather but it’s too delicate.  It’s going to scratch the moment it comes out of the dust bag.”

Hardware Sourcing Alesya Bags[Various metal finishes]

That leather gets sent back.  New leather ordered.  Another call comes in, “Alesya this leather is bulletproof but I think you’re going to be super disappointed in the way it will look on a bag.  To put it bluntly, it’s going to look cheap.”  Obviously can NOT have that.  That batch of leather goes back.

Settle on new leather.  But it comes in 3 shades I like, one that I’m going to have to change.  Take new leather…look at it in shade, sunlight, inside, outside.  Compare it to white, black.  Get outside opinions.  Sleep on it.  Order new leather.

Zipper Tape Source Alesya Bags[Zipper tape colors – not the actual zipper, just the material around it.]

That’s just one scenario.  The same thing happens with the hardware, zippers and lining.  I’m sure we’ll run into other issues before it’s all over.

Hang in there with me.  It’s all this back and forth that makes the end product stronger.  As we getting closer to launch I’ll be revealing more insight into the final choices.  (Like why I had to scrap the blue lining above.)  We’re making all the right decisions for the right reasons.  It’s just taking more time than any of us would like.

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