A lot of work goes into shipping a pair of amazing hiking pants to a human who will wear them for the next many years. In an effort to keep us accountable and to provide some transparency into the process, we've created this visualization to keep track of what we've accomplished so far (marked by green circles with yellow parrots), where we are now (yellow circles), and how much further we have left to go (white circles with an orange outline).
Note that there are two streams of work represented in the graph: the Production Development is sequential - the bits at the end can't really start until the bits at the end have finished; Sourcing can be done at any time before the first production run.
For those that are curious, here's what happens in each step:
- Develop the pattern - In addition to making the two-dimensional representation of our hiking pants (aka the pattern), this step also identifies the design and shape of the final garment.
- Create a prototype - 2D is all well and good, but this step takes what was digital and on paper into a three-dimensional pair of pants, complete with a waistband, pockets, and a zipper.
- Test prototype - Now comes the fun part! Let's see how these pants perform! We'll go on hikes in a variety of conditions, lounge on the couch, run the pants through the wash, and more.
- Update the pattern - Chances are that all that testing will reveal some issues with the original pattern. Now's the time to update it with modifications (and prototype and test again, just to be sure the pants are working the way we want them to).
- Create fit samples - When making the original prototype, we only make it in one size to start. Once we're confident in the pattern and design, however, we need to test it on other folks, too! To start, we need to make the samples - patterns and prototypes (though it's a lot faster, now that we have a clean starting point).
- Test samples - Same as before: let's have people test out the prototypes! (We're looking for sample testers! Are you interested? Send us an email!)
- Finalize pattern - We'll take all of the feedback from our fit testers and make sure we're making the best pair of hiking pants we can. At this point, we're pretty confident in our pattern and are ready to go to production!
First Production Run
- Take first orders - We're hoping to sell between 50-100 pairs of pants. This step is how we'll know what sizes to make.
- Produce first orders - Once we know what sizes to make, we'll make them! 🧵
- Mail first orders - As they finish, we'll send them out 💃🏽
- Get feedback - Now everyone can give them a go! Before we make our next run, we want to make sure they're even better than we think they are.
- Rinse and Repeat - If we need to make changes, we will! If this first run of pants is good to go, then we'll keep making them while also working on our next product 😄
Lots of pieces go into making a pair of pants as well! And each piece comes from a different supplier. For our each pair of pants, our design calls for fabric, thread, a button, a belt, a buckle, and a zipper. And then we need to put it all together to make those pants! As a result, we need to nail down our suppliers for each component (along with a backup, just in case), as well as a cut and sew factory, who will receive all the components, our final patterns, and our instructions to make pants en masse. Exciting, no?