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September 07, 2017

Good Thing at Hopscotch Design Festival – Pt. 1

This week two Good Thing team members – Natalie Phillips, our Director of Wholesale, and Mayela Mujica, our Operations Manager – headed to Raleigh, NC for Hopscotch Design Festival. Today they are presenting a talk titled "Reimagining Everyday Objects," a.k.a. the Good Thing mantra. Here, a brief selection from their presentation:

We want to talk with you all about objects, how much we love them, and how we make them. We’ve found that when properly considered, sales can be a really powerful tool to make better products. We’re going to show you how our products are a function of our past experience designing, making, and also selling.

If you think about a traditional product development process, it is very linear. It goes stage by stage from idea, to manufacturing, until there’s a finished product in stores. Overall each stage is very isolated, and there is little communication between departments. Our process on the other hand has a lot more back and forth. We might start at the same place but the entire team is involved throughout the process. Decisions are made together and the final object is the result of this synergy between departments. To add to this we operate as licensing studio, which means we collaborate with external designers who get paid a royalty on their designs.

Now we want to show you how we went through the development of the Richman Dustpan applying this very method.

The story of the dustpan starts with the story of the placemats [pictured in header above.]

[Natalie:] When I first started in 2015, one of the products we carried was these Paper Placemats. They retailed for $23.00 for a set of 10. Each time someone ordered these, someone in the office would take out a package of art paper, and hand-stamp the dots onto the sheets. We had these little paper edge cutters that we would use to round off the edges. They’d be packed into a cardboard envelope and shipped off.

For us at the time, what made these so exciting was this idea that you could have this really special, handmade object where there’s usually a mass printed, machine made thing. Well… it didn’t really translate. A few buyers put them in stores, but the general feedback was that the disposability of the object was ultimately it’s downfall – people didn’t want to keep something that looks and feels like it should be disposed of.

To see how the Paper Placemats connect back to the Richman Dustpan, continue reading in Part 2.

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