New Start!

I now have a wonderful new manufacturer and have had a few samples made in order to finally decide which fabric I will ultimately use for the BurpMittā„¢. I chose an organic cotton, super absorbent fabric in a natural color. The fabric is also very soft, so it will be gentle on a baby’s skin. I have had the fabric sent to the manufacturer, had new labels made, and now we are officially in production!

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back!

Today has been a very discouraging day. My contact at the manufacturer has informed me that they cannot go forward with my project (and this time the email WAS meant for me). They have changed their production schedules to only high volume production lots of 1000 pieces or more. As the little guy, just starting out, I am only looking to produce a small batch at this point in time. My contact has been nice enough to refer me to another manufacturer who might fit my needs better. I am supposed to contact her later this week after he meets with her.

Once again, now I know why most products are Made in China.

Waiting Around….

I have received my latest prototype with comments from the manufacturer that my pattern is wrong. They also informed me that they cannot use one of the fabrics that I have chosen (my favorite one) because it is too stiff and their machines cannot do tight curves. This is another pattern issue. So I have created a new pattern. This one is much more rounded and I think it will work.

During all of my painful waiting around this summer (seems like all I have done this year is wait around), I have also created another product. It is kind of like a companion product, and will hopefully be much easier to manufacture.

By the way, the missing fabric showed up in the package the manufacturer sent me, so now I have more fabric than I could possibly need.

All I have to do now is package everything up and send it to the manufacturer and this show will be on the road again!

Lost Fabric And A Helping Hand

I have chosen two fabrics and am having two prototypes made. However, it wouldn’t be my story without some extra obstacles, would it?

The first batch of fabric that I had sent to the manufacturer disappeared. We don’t even know where it went, it simple vanished. I am still trying to get a refund. Hoping, once again, to speed up the process, I have ordered another batch and had that also sent directly to the manufacturer. I have watched the tracking information on both batches like a hawk, and noticed that the address on the fabric has been changed each time from what I had submitted. The latest address isn’t even an address I have used before. I contacted the manufacturer to confirm his address and his response was “Yes, that is the correct address, but where did you get Suite __ from?”

Explaining that I did not put that address on the package, I knew things did not bode well for my latest attempt to have fabric delivered to my contact.

I continued to watch the tracking in frustration as the package was marked as undeliverable because there was nowhere secure to leave the package. So a note was left (at the incorrect address) for the person (who doesn’t work at that location) to pick the package up at the local post office.

I couldn’t make this stuff up.

I tracked down the phone number of the most likely post office location in the area and called them. A very helpful supervisor located my package and said that he could not do anything for me over the phone. He explained that if no one came to pick the package up, it would have to be returned to the sender. I explained my predicament and the fact that the fabric company just happens to be on vacation for a few weeks, as of two days prior. The whole thing would be funny if it was not so maddening. He must have taken pity on my plight because he said he knew the location and that he could go by on his way home and hand deliver the package.

A helpful postal employee? They DO exist!

A day or two later I had confirmation that my manufacturer had the package of fabric and that we were once again on track to make my prototypes.

We’ll see how this round goes.

Roadblocks

As a friend of mine put it quite succinctly – why is the road always blocked?

It has become abundantly clear that I am not going to be able to do this entirely on my own. Besides my lack of ability on the sewing machine (I managed to bend a needle on my first day), my two children are clearly not going to allow me to get any work done.

Luckily I have been back in touch with my manufacturer and he is working on another prototype for me.

Taking It Into My Own Hands

If you want a thing done well, do it yourself. – Napoleon Bonaparte

Thanks to a very generous gift I now have a sewing machine. I’ve decided to do an experiment – instead of waiting around for strangers to determine my product’s fate, why not start to manufacture my product myself?

I have ordered some swatches of fabric in order to determine the best one for my product. I hope to have a winner within a few days. Then, I will place an order and get to work. To me, nothing is more liberating than taking matters into your own hands and doing it yourself. I guess that’s why I like to self-publish my books. I cannot stand waiting for someone else to do something and having absolutely no control over the process.

I’ve got the thread, I’ve got the fabric – I’m all ready to go.

China Anyone?

Two days later and it’s Friday. Time for the weekend, time to be excited. But not for me. The weekend just means I won’t hear a word on my project.

In my frustration I decided to contact the first small company that I mentioned many posts ago. I wanted to revisit using them to manufacture my prototype. But two days later and I haven’t heard a peep from them either. I’m pretty sure China doesn’t handle things this way. Are businesses in the U.S. just making so much money that they don’t need to respond to requests or have any interest in taking on new clients?

I guess patience is not my strongest trait.

My Prototype is Here!

I received my first professionally-made prototype today. It was kind of a let down. Let me rephrase that… a complete disappointment. I was hoping it would be perfect and just how I imagined, but honestly, my handmade prototypes look better than this one. For one thing, I chose the wrong fabric (again!). The one I chose is just too flimsy and it doesn’t appear to be super absorbent. It’s soft, which I like, but it’s not what I need. The stitching of one particular part is not as curved as I would like it. I am resisting the urge to just keep going with production in the interest of time, but I know that is not a good idea. The entire experience of creating a prototype is a back-and-forth process and I am just in the thick of things. But I do wish that this process moved faster and involved less waiting.

I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty discouraged tonight. I’ve considered giving up.

Label Placement

Once again I am waiting to receive an update on my product. Is this really how this works?

I’ve been working on figuring out the placement of my logo labels. I think I have it figured out, and I have a picture to demonstrate it – which of course I have sent to the manufacturer.

He wrote back explaining that the placement I am showing him would cost more. Sewing the label into the seam would not cost anything. I wish I had known this. I ordered labels that are made to be sewn on all four sides of the fabric.

The good news is that they should have my sample finished by Thursday or Friday!

For Babies Who Puke!