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September 07, 2017

Good Thing at Hopscotch Design Festival – Pt. 2

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. See the first part of this story at Part 1.

Fast forward a couple of years we got this paper dustpan design [pictured in header] from Chris Specce and everybody in the studio loved it. Chris Specce is a designer based in Rhode Island (and a former professor of some of our RISD team members). He has licensed worked for Kikkerland, Matter, and Herman Miller, amongst other. We had been wanting to work with him for a while so when we saw the dustpan we were really excited.

A dustpan is a very beautiful object, constantly overlooked and put away. Our goal was to make something that you would be proud to display, something just a bit more special than your average cleaning tool. As much as we loved Chris's paper version, coming from this "not-so-great" paper mat experience we knew that disposability would be an issue. It didn't align with our brand and ultimately we knew it wouldn't sell.

After going back and for with Chris we started to think about alternative materials to paper, we thought about Tyvek and different types of plastic but ultimately we decided on metal. It’s durable, it has a good weight and there's a lot of possibility with colors – plus it was a nice nod to that classic workshop dustpan.

As many of you know to arrive at a final design you have to go through many, many iterations. Here are just some of those iterations of the dustpan, each one taking into consideration the dichotomy of design and price. At the studio we went through all these iterations, we made sketches, models, we 3d printed prototypes, we made samples. We tried them, we played with them and we talked about them...everybody is constantly reviewing the design. 

[Mayela:] While I’m thinking about how we are going to make it, Natalie is evaluating how we are going to sell it. This process goes on until we have arrived at a resolved design we can present to our factories.

Working with factories is an extremely challenging process. Sourcing is a big part of the design process – we work with factories all around the world. We have to find smart manufacturing solutions and the correct factories to partner with that balance our high quality standards and target retail price.

When we began working with vendors on the dustpan a lot of them were hesitant about the design: the curves were too tight and they didn't think they could do the ridges. Part of our job was to prove to these factories that this was possible. At the same we were getting feedback from stores who wanted to see more small storage, so we combined those two requests and decided to test out the manufacturing process with a smaller object. That is how the Frank Tray was born. Now the tray is one our bestselling objects.

To learn how the Frank Tray's product development process influenced the dustpan, continue on to Part 3.

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