Olivia one of our textile product developers explains the process of developing a soft goods product from design to manufacture.
The process for developing your soft product normally starts with the concept development stage. This allows you to explore multiple concepts in theory, and research into materials that could potentially work. This is really important as the softs products normally the material can do a lot of the work for you if you choose the right fabric.
Once you’ve settled on a concept, you will move to a design for prototype this finalises everything including the material pallet you might use.
Basic Physical Model
Next you really want to test these things physically and bring it to life in something called a basic physical model. Now these can look fairly rudimental but they are actually really useful and we learn a lot from them. It allows us to make up something really quickly, test it and see what’s working and what’s not.
Market Research an Intellectual Property
After that is a really good stage to get other peoples opinions on it. Up until now you’ve had ours and yours but really testing it with your target market group and seeing what their response to it can be really useful as well as getting IP opinions. So this can be for potential protection for the product and that will also feed into the design.
We then take all that and turn it into a mark one prototype. Now this is slightly more refined. It might be in a material pallet that’s true to what the final one might be. But again, it allows us to test it and look at the construction and try and make something to look like what we intend it to be.
Now this can go through several stages after this. In terms of a mark 2 and maybe even a mark 3. As you can see with these ones, they do develop slowly and each prototype is a refinement of the last one. A really good example here was to start with we put the bottom strap at a straight angle. This was cutting into the users knee as this is a kneepad design. So instead, for the next one from that feedback we then moved it into a diagonal placement and that worked a lot better.
You can also see how the aesthetics develop through these prototypes. To start with we always say get the function right and bring in the aesthetics. As it is really important to be protecting the idea if your branding is really strong.
Manufacturing & Launch to Market
Once you’ve got all that ready, you’re at your final prototype stage and looking to manufacture. Samples from the factory can vary, and it’s really important to do sampling because as it shows they have understood the manufacturing specification and equally you can evaluate if their construction methods and their choice of materials is up to your quality standards.
Now for this project, we went through 3 manufacturing samples until we were happy with it.
Once your happy with it, you will be able to place your order with the factory and launch to market.