Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jackie Week 5

This week I had a meeting with some one over at The Supply System.  It was a very insightful meeting.  I was able to learn a lot over coffee and tea in Brooklyn.  I got wonderful feed back about the bag that we are making.  More specifically the importance between form and function and the ability for that to set us apart from the rest.

I got great insight about what it really means to be made in New York.  Essentially people will pay more for products produced locally and perhaps it might be worth the time and effort to look into New York City factories.  Even though he acknowledged for such a small run of about 100-200 bags a factory might not be cost effective depending on our price break down.  I had not even realized there were still clothing factories in the city still.  There are and they are currently doing very well.

We talked extensively about process.  More specifically the way that my group was going to reach the goal of $1500 net profit.  It was very reassuring to hear that the gentleman I met with felt confident that we can easily hit the target.  He also suggested to spend more time out selling the bags using a square reader and putting together something that we might be able to give to retail markets.  The online angel is still a good one but because none of us in the group are web masters we will have to find some clever ways to E commerce on a budget, I am still leading towards etsy.  Another good outlet that had slipped my mind was to see about selling at places like Brooklyn flea.

My goals for this week are to see about NYC based factories, never hurts to make a phone call and see what is out there.  I also plan to get my square reader and make sure the account is set up properly as well as some receipt slips.  I will also investigate how to get into shopping events such as the Brooklyn flea and see what other market options we may have that are in line with New York City laws.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Hey guys here is the new prototype! Spent all weekend working with the seamstress. There are a couple things that need some attention like simple outside accessible pockets and just tweaking the dimensions of the flap and main tube.

I have been using it folded in half as a day pack and I can honestly say it is quite comfy for a cross strap bag. When you tighten it down the whole way it really sucks right to your body! Getting on and off trains and more simpler than ever, it's low profile width allows you to just swing the bag across against your chest avoiding having to take it on and off an be bumping into others.

There is not doubt that this thing will keep your gear dry! I wore it all day yesterday walking in the city while it was sleeting. I think our fabric choice will be the number one motif for people buying our bag, it's incredibly durable and is extremely waterproof. It looks great too! It definitely looks like a high end handmade bag that runs for $200 and up. And we're only selling these for around sixty or seventy bucks!

I have a contact on 115th street that we will be meeting later this week to talk to about production. They are a full service factory and we will have a more exact idea how much these things will cost to manufacture. Right now we are looking at a mere six bucks in materials! That's a lot of real estate were creating for only six bucks!

It has been really exciting working with you guys and I hope we can carry through with the hard work and enthusiasm everyone has been putting forth and make this thing a 110% legit!

Huy Nguyen week 4

We ended last week by visiting a skatepark as a group and spoke with a few skateboarders. We quickly found that this was a tough way to validate our product, not only due to the lack of people that wanted to talk to us but many of the skateboarders at the park did not seem like they wanted to be bothered. Being a skateboarder that is on his last year of his twenties I know how precious time on the skateboard is. The older you get, the more responsibility you have and ultimately the less time you have to skate. So when you do get to skate you try to make the most of your limited time and at least for some prefer not to be bothered, especially by some meddling graduate students. We went back to the drawing board and concluded that social media was the fastest way we could reach a target audience without them being completely random. We were able to choose our friends and contacts that are skateboarders and sent out a short questionnaire. Jackie has the compiled data and it will be posted on the blog very soon. 

Anthony and I spent our Friday afternoon in the garment district trying to source supplies, such as nylon webbing, buckles and clips. The mission itself was rather hectic and led us to some strange stores, that sold everything that you need to start a clothing company from the ground up. After 5 or 6 very narrow and crowded stores we finally found what we needed at a decent price to make a second round prototype. All in all I left the garment district with a new respect for manufacturing and a minor headache from the claustrophobic stores. 

 loops for days.

 buckles and clasps

 We hit the nylon webbing jackpot.
 I found my name.

The remainder of the week was spent preparing for the midterm presentation. We all work and are taking a full class load so finding a time for all of us to meet outside of class was nearly impossible this week. So we communicated with each other via e-mail to make sure that we are all on the same page for the presentation. All slides will be posted as soon as they are finalized.

For this coming week I want to continue to work over Spring break to establish the Kraken Company on the web. As well as finalize the design for the bag, so we can come one step closer to producing a product that will go to market.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Jackie week 4

We spent the majority of this week organizing information for midterm presentations.  
That included revisiting the business model canvas.  To ensure that it accurately depicted the business we have.  This meant looking at what we considered to be our: key partnerships, key activities, key resources, value propositions, customer relationships, channels, customer segments, cost structure and revenue stream.  

We also took a step back to clearly identify what opportunity and problem we were designing for and the idea behind it.  Then supported by the market research we have done in combination with a survey and interviews a successful round of validation was completed... (A fair amount of charts and numbers to come.)   

I was also able to set up a meeting with someone at The Supply System to learn more about the business side of brands.  I am excited for this meeting and what I can learn from it.  When we spoke over the phone, I explained I was a student at Parsons.  My contact let me know that if I was looking for design advice I would be disappointed with what he has to say because, he is more of the business side then a designer.  I was really happy to hear that.  I let him know thats perfect! I have no shortage of designers around me, but a little low on the people who do the business side of things.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Update Design

Hey guys, 

Here is my update design based off of Huy's original design.  Please let me know what you guys think. Should I change anything? Add anything?

We need a handle on it somewhere too.  Wasn't sure exactly where to put it.  


Hey guys,

So the past week has been really exciting and we are making some super progress.  I am excited to announce that we are getting closer and closer to the reality of these bags being produced in the tri-state area.  I have obtained a fabric supplier that offers 840 Denier Polyester Cordura for 1.25 a yard! And he is in NJ!  This same fabric is usually around $14 a yard at other wholesalers.  I have also found a wholesaler  for all our hardware that is 20 min. from me in jersey.  Their name is A+ products and they are an injection mold factory so its all made right here.  I also talked A+ into giving us enough hardware to make three bags for free.  We also have a ton of various webbing and fabric samples coming from different places around here as well.

I will be going to Philly this Sat. and Sun. to meet with the seamstress and have the final prototype made.  I am currently working on the final design changes to run by you guys. I'll have that later today before class.

I strongly recommend everyone digging around on this bag blog. It's really great!


I think we'll definitely be hitting under ten bucks per bag!


Monday, March 11, 2013

Huy Nguyen, week 3 action

This week was quite an exciting week for our group. Anthony arranged a meeting with the Gene, the owner of Transpack a locally owned backpack company. It was a very useful meeting and helped us gain an outsider point of view. He was impressed by our idea and our prototype. He gave us suggestions on materials, manufacturing, and how we should distribute our bags once we have a sellable product. He brought up a good point that time is very limited for us, as far as the rest of the semester goes (this project has the possibility of lasting long beyond the end of the semester.) and we should focus on getting an online market opposed to trying to land local retail accounts. So we are going to focus on trying to establish an online presence for our company. I will be spearheading the website, which will be www.krakenbags.com.

 The Kraken bag with a skateboard and other items inside.

Anthony and I also came up with a name for our company over a long phone conference. We wanted to have a nautical themed name and decided on The Kraken Bag Company. The Kraken is mythical sea monster. We let the rest of the group vote on the name and we all agreed on Kraken. I have started designing a logo for our brand. I also created a technical drawing of our bag so that we could easily make changes to the bag and also so Yu-Yi and the rest of the group could easily work on different color ways and branding.

As a group we met at L.E.S. (Lower East Side) skatepark. Our main objective was to observe skateboarders in their natural environment and element. It was a cloudy weekday morning and a couple members of the team got carded by the local law enforcement, just to make sure we were of age. We took pictures of different bag solutions that various boarders were using and informally spoke to a few different skateboarders. A few skateboarders had backpacks with vertical board straps, another had a gym bag with a board attached to it and one skater that we talked to had his extra board wrapped up in a plastic garbage bag. We showed them our prototype bag and they gave us suggestions and feedback.  One particular skateboarder that we spoke with had very useful input for us. He has lots of bike messenger friends and is a cyclist himself, brought to our attention that we need to take into account left handed people. Right now our strap system is set for a right handed person. He also gave us suggestions, such as a handle, an option to wear it as a two strap backpack, and reinforcing the bottom of the bag to help secure against blow-outs. Overall the few skaters that we talked to were excited about the bag, liked the overall look and durability. 
 L.E.S. Skatepark.
Corey and his garbage bag solution.

                    Alex giving us feedback and ideas about tweaks in the design to make it more functional.

Yu-Yi Chen - Week 3

Hello guys,

Here are mood boards I made this weekend.

The first one is that I collected different images of Kraken.

Maybe we can get inspiration of logo designing through it.

The second one is that I used some impressions of Kraken to choose colors,

and tried to figure out some combinations of our bag.

Here are some pictures of what we did this week.

1. The Meeting with Gene.

2. Observation & Interview in The Skate Park.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Jackie week 3

The meeting we had with Gene went really well.  Here are some general notes form that meeting:
We got some really wonderful feedback about the design of the bag.  
An updated prototype is on the way.  
We also got some really wonderful insight about material, hardware and other design tips.  
Suggested outlets for sales were Ebay, Amazon and Etsy.  
Some useful advice to keep in mind and keep doing:  Keep it simple and have things going at the same time in different directions.  

We spent some time observing in the Coleman Playground Skatepark these are some notes and pictures:

Guy carrying bag & other board wrapped in two Home Depot plastics bags
Guy carrying board in one hand coffee and food in the other
Piles of bags on benches as skaters skate 
Guy with duffel bag, skate board resting on top.
Guy with board attached to backpack while riding a skateboard
2 Guys with boards attached to backpacks on bikes

I had an informal conversation regarding marketing with a marketing professional.  These were their suggestions:
-Take the most popular bags men or women use- depending on what demographic. And then develop a way for it to hold a skateboard - start there. Or see the lifestyle skateboarders have and develop a bag for that. And design, same thing
-What kind of skateboard? Partner with the most pop companies. See what they already have
-Expand to surfboard and snowboard (maybe in the future)
-You need to be where your consumers are.
-What do thy watch. Where do try go. Where do they shop. Hang. Travel. Board. Who do they idolize. 
-What blogs they follow 
-Get everywhere they are in all spaces 
-Create a competition 
-For competition see if anyone will partner or of u could include ur bag in someone's competition 
-Get their hands on the prototype kinda thing. Everyone wants to be the first to discover and share something new
It felt good to know and see that we were all ready doing some of the things that were suggested.  

Started to follow many skate and style related things on twitter:
If You See Something, SKATE Something! Don't tell a cop, tell a friend!
art, food gardens, green playgrounds, skate parks
Skateboard.TV ‏ @skateboarddottv
Skateboarding Videos, Channels, Shows and User Videos.
Tre Truck ‏ @tre_truck
New York City's first and only mobile skate shop!
5050 Skatepark ‏ @5050Skatepark
New York City's only indoor skatepark.
Bowery Boogie ‏ @boweryboogie
Bowery Boogie is the definitive news, entertainment, and lifestyle source for the Lower East Side of Manhattan and beyond.
http://newyorkcityskateparks.com is a directory and news resource for skateboard parks in and around New York City
Official Twitter account for Music Skateboards.
dedleg ‏ @dedleg
Arts and farts and skateboarding.
Fresh Paint NYC ‏ @freshpaintnyc
New York City Graffiti / Art & Gallery Updates
POW!!skateboards ‏ @POWskateboards
POW!!skateboards © EastCoastMovement!!
Broadway Dist ‏ @BroadwayDist
Bringing A New Breath Of Fresh Air In Skateboarding and Beyond...
LittlePaw NYC ‏ @LittlePawNYC
Decks with so much pop, you can be a lazy ass skater and let the wood do the job for ya'. 
Labor ‏ @laborskateshop
We are a skateboard shop in Chinatown, NYC.
NY Skateboarding ‏ @nyskateboarding
http://NYSkateboarding.com is connecting the past, present & future of New York skateboarding through the people and places that define it. 
John Tinseth ‏ @TheTrad
Home is where I hang my clothes. 
Christopher Hogan ‏ @OffTheCuffDC
Christopher Hogan is the founder of Off The Cuff, a leading menswear and personal style resource. Hogan also provides brand consulting and representation. 
Anthony & Dustin ‏ @closet_freaks
Two guys in ♥ sharing one closet. Anthony picks the clothes. Dustin strikes the pose. Together we're creating our personal style guide. 
werd.com ‏ @werdcom
Gear, Gadgets, Style For Men 
Gear Patrol ‏ @GearPatrol
Spirit of Adventure ~ Passion for Gear

Pintresst is the next avenue of exploration.  

Got the ball rolling on the etsy account we just need to post some images and price the bag and we are good to start!
There are no membership fees with Etsy.
It costs $0.20 to list an item for 4 months, or until it sells.
Once you sell your item (congrats!), we [etsy] collect a 3.5% fee on the sale price.

Some other outlets for sales: 

Selling on Goodsie.com
Standard cost $15 per month you get: 
Use a custom domain (eg. mystore.com) and favicon
Unlimited products, storage and bandwidth
Product videos and rich media galleries
Powerful coupon system
Facebook, mobile and embeddable storefronts
Flexible shipping rules system
Digital file delivery by Fetch
PayPal, Google Wallet
Stripe, Authorize.net and Braintree

Premium cost $40per month you get everything listed in standard plus:
Inventory email notifications
Insightful sales analytics
Targeted email marketing system
Multiple user accounts and permissions
Shipping label solutions by ShipStation

Selling on Amazon.com
(Professional Selling Plan)
  • For sellers who plan to sell more than 40 items a month
  • Fulfillment by Amazon services available
  • Unlimited sales for $39.99 a month + other selling fees
(Individual Selling Plan)
  • For sellers who plan to sell fewer than 40 items a month
  • Fulfillment by Amazon services available
  • $0.99 per sale + other selling fees

Also sent out a little interview/ survey this is it:
Kraken Bag

Hello, We are making a durable packable bag for Skateboards and long items.  Please help us out and answer some questions so we can make it super awesome! 
Thank you! 

* Required

How would you feel about a bag was multi purpose and was able to hold items as large as a skateboard? *
(Please check all that apply)
  1. YES! I want one now!
  2. Not for me
  3. Cool, I would get that for someone I know
  4. Other: 

What kind of bag do you currently use (back pack, messenger bag, purse)?

What modes of transportation do you use?
(please check all that apply)
  1. Train
  2. Bus
  3. Bike
  4. Walk
  5. Skateboard
  6. Rollerblade or Inline skating
  7. Drive
  8. Other: 

Have you ever had to carry large awkward shaped items, what was that experience like and how did you transport them?

On a typical day how efficient is your bag for caring what you need, or you use multiple bags and rotate them as need?

Do you or any one you know skateboard?
(please check all that apply)
  1. I skateboard
  2. Someone I know skateboards
  3. I do not skateboard