I used to have a joke with my boyfriend whenever we found ourselves in the middle of some unexpected adventure, like getting hopefully lost in a strange town, or finding ourselves at a wedding with a bad band and a sleeping drunk at our table. I'd look at him and say "I love this part!". As if we were watching a movie. For some reason it always made us both laugh.
About a month ago I had an idea for a new product: magnetic bookmarks. I was just about to leave for a show in Las Vegas, and before I left for the airport I ran into the studio and made some quick funky prototypes. I packed them along, showed them to buyers and all of them seemed to love the idea.
Now, I've mentioned before that I'm impatient. So I didn't do the easy thing and decide to introduce the new line next winter. I decided to debut them at The Buyer's Market of American Craft in Philadelphia, August 1st-3rd. Which meant I had just over four weeks to design the whole line and have them printed, packed up and shipped, and create a custom point of sale display (which I'll be selling to buyers for their stores.)
Developing a new product line is fun, but it's also exhausting and stressful. And you can always count on the fact that there will be puzzles and problems along the way. So doing it with a tight deadline looming really amps up the tension. I had to design each of the bookmarks inside and out, (that's 24 different designs, folks) research and order the correct magnets (not as simple as it sounds), find a place that could make custom sized clear envelopes, as well as a place that would design a custom resale display and have it delivered in time, then create and print new catalog pages, specials flyers, postcards, signs, webpages, etc. The number of phone calls, diagrams, faxes and samples that I dealt with every day was staggering. It was crazy, every minute seemed hectic, every decision more complicated than I expected. But I did it. At least my part is done - as of today.
1600 magnets arrived yesterday. 24,000 bookmarks and 30,000 clear sleeves are due here by early next week, as is the display prototype. Then I just have to assemble and package about 300 samples, pack them all up and ship them out to Philly by the end of the week.
But you know what? I love this part.