By now, I was hoping to share my final development stages and the prototype with you but, as so often the case with everything I do and pretty symbolical for this project, I’ve hit a few bumps in the road.
Working with small, local artisans has a lot of benefits: They are more approachable, take the time out to discuss projects with you and you can have good faith they craft with care. However, there are some downsides to it as well and it went down south in the last couple of weeks.
The initial deadline for the prototype was July 16th and with my friend in Italy already confirming it would be ready by July 8th, I was feeling quite confident this project was going just as planned. But then, all of a sudden, communication went dead.
I was unable to reach him by phone, app and e-mail. And not just for one day, but three, four, five days in a row I just couldn’t get in touch with him.
Calling the Italy office wasn’t giving much hope as well, resulting in someone picking up the phone and explaining to me in Italian that he is not available or whatever. I don’t speak Italian and they hardly speak English. Lost in translation so it seems.
This all resulted in me to postpone the website launch, and also had me wonder where to go next with all of this?
I kept reaching out to my guy in Italy and finally I got in touch. But not with him.
One of his team-members was finally responding to my emails and explaining the situation to me. Due to the sensitivity of the subject I won’t go into details, but at least I was able to understand what happened and at which point we are now. Which was the starting point.
As it seemed, unfortunately enough, my guy didn’t explain the project to his team as he would operate on it himself. Therefor I had to explain everything to his colleague, who had zero idea what my vision was for this project. Eventually, the idea was clear to him and they could go ahead with the project. However, the costs of the development stage suddenly became almost triple of what I’ve discussed with my guy. And, on top of that, this colleague would hand over my project to a new worker the next week thus meaning we would again start from zero.
A new week, a new worker and the same story again. The plus side was, that the new worker actually speaks English and thus making things easier and quicker.
We discussed, again, what I’ve agreed to with my guy and how he could get me the most favorable pricing for this project. Apparently, my guy offered me a deal to develop the project based on one of his own, existing, patterns and which would involve a lot of adjustments and no guarantee it will have the outcome I had in mind. The newly discussed, and much higher, costs were based on creating a new pattern and to develop something exclusively for my project and therefor unique.
Eventually, in all my efforts to understand what was going on and learn about the costs, I had to make a decision for myself:
Do I go for the lowest costs and pay it from my savings, or do I go for something unique and entirely my own?
It took me some time to figure it all out. First of all, I had to accept my disappointment about the costs and the miscommunication in all of this. Second, I had to figure out if I either go for a more randomly developed product or that I go all the way and do it right. With the latter forcing me into a credit request to cover all costs. Some people, especially in the fashion industry, opt to use crowd-funding initiatives such as Kickstarter, but I prefer to refrain from that option. My reasons to not use crowd-funding is that you have to return the favor to your consumers/investors. I am of the opinion people shouldn’t be motivated by incentives a brand or company gives them. That’s why I don’t want you, as a consume or investor, to put your own money in my project and forcing me to give a discount or whatever once the product is ready. It doesn’t make sense to me. I rather loan money at the bank to achieve it correctly, instead of asking other people to invest in this project. Just a matter of choice I guess.
So I made a choice, actually around the time I’m writing this blog, to go for the extra mile. Currently I’m working on the credit request (which is frustrating as I suck at financial calculations) in order to cover all costs at all stages and hopefully we can proceed the project without much delay.
And as for my guy? I don’t blame him, due to the circumstances. At the end of the day, we are all humans with human emotions. We work with humans, develop and create with humans and make progress with humans. Together. I hope that soon he’ll be in better circumstances and that we can keep developing together. Because in life, it’s all about how we can grow together as human beings.