If you’ve ever wondered how we go from an idea to a prototype, this is the perfect read for you!
Before our amazing products arrive at your doorstep and are in your hands, there is a lot of work done behind the scenes to make that happen. It can take up to a year involving upwards of ten people and costing $3,000-$5,000 before it’s accepted into the collection. Even after the whole process and products are tested, with your feedback it may still not go into production
How Good Ideas Become Products
So…how does this work?
From the initial idea and design of a product to when it starts production, this is known as the ‘product development’ stage. For us, sustainable design is key and is addressed at every step, from taking care of the planet to the good humans that make our clothes.
The product development process at The Good Tee can be broken down into these four general stages:
- Generating a good idea
- Making samples
- Approving/testing samples
This process as a whole can take anywhere from two months to a year to work through. I know that sounds like a long time, but this pre-production process helps to ensure that The Good Tee and the factory are on the same page before production starts. This means fewer issues during manufacturing and ultimately better-quality products for you!
Keep reading to learn more about what’s involved in each stage of our product development and gain a better insight into how we function as a company.
Generating a Good Idea
The first step of product development is deciding what we want to make. I bet you didn’t even realise that you are a major part of this step! When we are deciding to make a new product, we look to you!
All the feedback you provide us through the website or on Instagram means a lot to us and is a great way to know what products work for you and the type of products you want. Even if it’s not the best review, your feedback gives us an opportunity to grow and change, so don’t hold back!
So, thank you for all the feedback so far, keep it coming!
Now let's have a great idea, let's design it!
There’s so much to look at when we start designing, from the pattern design all the way down to the design of the care labels! We’re super lucky because there are lots of skilled good humans involved in this part of the process!
Sometimes we lose count with how many designs and revisions we go through, but when we find the perfect design for you, we know that it’s all worth it.
The outcome of working with everyone is that a ‘tech pack’ is created; this is pretty much a blueprint of the product. This has all the specifications and technical information required to create it. For example, it would include the sewing requirements (i.e. telling the factory where the stitches and seams need to go)
Our pattern maker creates digital patterns on the Computer Aided Design (CAD), so it’s easily emailed to the factory and if any fit adjustments need to be made they can help us with that. Then we work locally, to create a prototype and send this to our factory for them to recreate for production standards.
Make It Sew!
The sample maker starts by creating a counter sample, based on our prototype and tech pack provided. This prepares the styles for bulk production and also provides us with a cost.
Once the counter samples are complete, the merchandiser emails us to let us know they’re on their way to us for checking!
Imagine ordering a shirt, and then one with three sleeves shows up…definitely not what you thought you were getting! That’s why we need to look at the samples and check that they are what we expected and if any changes need to be made.
If we need to, we’ll make fit approvals and adjustments until we get the perfect fit. This can sometimes take 2 or 3 times and every time it takes about 3 weeks to get the sample back for approval.
Although this can be time-consuming, we think doing this is better than a shirt arriving where the neck hole is too small! We strive to get our products right and give the best to our customers.
Ok great, the fit is perfect, but now we need to work out the perfect color for the fabric. But, you can’t just dive right in a dye the fabric, no! We do some lab dips first to see how the color will come out. The slightest shade difference makes a huge difference in production. Each lab dip takes the dyers up to 9 hours to process.
The last part of this step is getting a sample of each size that’s offered. No one wants to order a small and receive a shirt that should have been sized as an extra-large!
This just lets us confirm that the sizes are correct and meet our measurements.
Finally, it’s ready to go to production!
Good Things Take Time
Once the samples have been approved, the product goes to production and this can take a good 3 – 4 months, and now even longer due to the pandemic. Plus the shipping is another 35 days! But don’t worry, good things come to those who wait.
This is partly because we manufacture from seed, buy the yarn and then knit, dye and stitch the product. This allows us to have greater control of the quality and provides a more ethical manufacturing process. Additionally, working with skilled and talented people, both offshore and locally, helps us to maintain the high quality of our products and makes sure we get it right for you.
This product development process requires thoughtful and strategic planning to ensure goals are met. There is a lot of work done behind the scenes to make our company as successful as it is today.
If you’re interested in learning more, our Founder, Adila Cokar, has written a complete step by step guide - check it out here!
Tell us in the comments below if there is anything that surprised you about this process!