Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mass Producing The Handmade Way: Why Size Matters

 Stock overflowing out of drawers and into bins

I am in SERIOUS production mode, I am getting ready for my biggest show EVER.  Mid July will be the Plymouth Art in The Park, the estimated attendance is about 300,000 - yes, I meant to type all those zeros.  In anticipation of this I am trying to have ready to go about 1000 items, I have just over 700 DONE, and about 2 months to go.

I have made a list of my current line along with my "wish list" inventory, here I record what is made and supplies needed and any notes that help in planning.  I also have outlined timing for packaging and finishing touches, like buttons, zip pulls, tagging, etc.  I have been plotting these into my calendar to keep on track.

It is very typical for me to make those items which are fast, easy and fun first and most, therefore I have many more of these items done.  I still have other outlets to stock so I can keep making these but this week I needed to focus on the more detailed oriented items this week it's kanzashi coin purses, 8 patch wristlets, pieced shoulder bags and snap clutches.

An example of how I work in common size, my coin purse, and wristlet are the same "height" this height is also the same size as the length of my mini coin purse.  Cutting items like linings and interfacings reduce the amount of waste if their size is common.

I have posted many times my stockpiling of common components and this allows me to make lots of items quickly of these components such as coin purses (all sizes) wristlets and totes, these are my best sellers so it makes sense for me to keep many dozen in progress at all times.

However it has dawned on me again the importance and gained efficiency of working in common size.  I am working on the kanzashi coin purses, and I am working with 3-5 sizes of basically the same item, it is becoming a big time suck custom cutting a few at a time, but to this I am always re-measuring what is done to properly line up linings and zippers. 

Originally I used common sized items because of shipping supplies, since I was firstly only selling online.  Using less types of envelopes and boxes ultimately makes buying and storing less sizes more cost efficient, often I have discontinued items based solely on my ability to ship.

This is also applied to supplies, for example zippers, I only buy 2 sizes, and I buy my most common colors in lots of 100, and other lesser used quantities in lots of 12-36.

For most my items common size is the way to go, for one of a kind items or special fussy cut items I try to work on those in my more leisure sewing and not full production mode.  Hmmm, I think that could be another blog subject.

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