We're confident that we can fulfill all the rewards for this project. We have a 4000 sq. ft. studio in a 150 year old Mill building in Warren, Rhode Island. We both graduated from RISD and have a number of years of design experience. We have met many project deadlines under tight time crunches. We have industrial Juki sewing machines that we use to sew leather and fabric. We have all our material contacts in place including a great source for fine leather. We have a floor standing foot press. This makes riveting super efficient. It's a vice that secures the rivet tight and accurately every time. What we will need to make this project flow smoothly is a clicker. This is the first piece of equipment that we will purchase if funded. A clicker is a machine used to cut the pattern pieces out of the leather. It takes the place of cutting each piece out by hand. Cutting by hand can cause irregularity issues. We want each leather wrap to be consistent so they fit snuggly around each mason jar the same way. The holes for the rivet will also be part of the cutting die, which will make the spacing of each rivet uniform. We will also be buying the dies and a skiver for the Chug-A-Lug. A cutting die is basically like a really sharp cookie cutter. It is a knife made to the exact dimensions of the pattern and can cut out 100's of pieces before it needs sharpening or replacing. A skiver is an electric knife that planes down the edges of leather. We need one of these to thin the leather where the leather overlaps at the seam so it’s a little less bulky. Also on our wish list is a dry splitter. A dry splitter planes leather to the same exact thickness throughout. If the leather is a different thickness it can cause problems with the interior dimension. Last but not least we will buy very high quality vegetable tanned leather for our Chug-A-Lugs.
Risks and challenges
Many unexpected surprises can come up when designing and producing a product at large scale. We have recently experienced this head on. In December we helped produce a very successful Kickstarter wallet project. The designer of this wallet had to produce way more than he had anticipated. He wanted to get most of the product out before the Holidays. We reached out, offered our help and ended up being his biggest producer in the month of December. We quickly put together a team of local artists and skilled sewers. We had about 20 people working on the project 7 days a week. Gibb and I were at the studio 15 to 17 hours a day working like sleep deprived maniacs. We were over seeing the production, organizing materials and setting up assembly lines. Gibb was cutting leather and webbing I was sewing all day and night. We were also packaging and FedExing product to several distribution centers. We made over 7500 wallets in three weeks. It was such an adrenalin rush that we didn’t realize how exhausted we were. We didn’t even have time to feel stress…. we worked hard and successfully met the deadlines. We learned what to do and what not to do in production and how to setup an efficient work flow.
We have a close trusting relationship with our leather supplier. When we chose our leather for the Chug-a-Lug we made sure that we picked colors that we could get as much of as we needed. Not having the enough materials can really put the breaks on production. We have a great team of hard workers who are eager to come back to work on this project. I feel confident that with our recent, and all of our prior experiences, we will be able to accomplish this project. We know there will be glitches, there are always are, but we love challenges and finding creative ways to overcome them.
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