Ever wondered what it’s like to be a Product Developer? To be able to create something from a simple sketch to the moment you hold the item in your hands? We asked our Product Developer, Yasreen, about all the fine details and chaos that goes on behind the scenes at LOFT 25. A typical day in Yasreen’s shoes involves juggling multiple streams of conversation between different departments in the company. This blog post outlines the step-by-step process it took to research, explore, and refine LOFT 25’s upcoming door stoppers. These items are not on sale yet, so let’s just call it a sneak peek!
EXPLORING AND LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION
“To start off with, I watch a lot of videos about the stitching process. What’s the easiest solution on making this product? How can I make it look neat? What shape will it be? Seeing a picture on the screen is different to actually making a product. It may look easy to make, but it’s always harder than it looks. The way it’s stitched, the sizing and the patterns are different. I always strive to research how I can produce an item that is functional and comfortable – not just for the buyers, but for the sewing and cutting team too.
The time it takes to research varies. If the Managing Director shows me an item to produce, then it wouldn’t take too much time. I’ll just start drawing a few sketches. However, if I’m given an idea but I need to find a shape and design on my own, then it will take a couple of days to collect information.”
What’s the next step?
“I normally sketch by hand first and then move onto using a software. I go through quite a lot of drafts because I’m constantly thinking of new ways to design a product.
For the door stoppers, I made sure I sketched different looks for them. When I have 2 or 3 sketches, I find myself coming up with more ideas. So for one of the drafts, I started off making a square shaped door stopper first, and eventually I decided to add a little handle at the top. Then came to the conclusion that the design looked better when it was triangular.”
I don’t move on to the next step until I’m 100% happy with the design. If I have any doubts, then I’ll make sure I come up with more ideas and sketches.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT FABRIC
“The material does not only give it a great design but it’s perfect for indoor use too. Initially, I had 4 different materials and selected two because they looked the best. I had to consider how the item would turn out. If I had chosen a waterproof fabric, it would’ve manipulated the shape of the door stoppers. If I used a hard fabric, it wouldn’t create the shape I wanted. So I went with a softer fabric in order to make the triangular shape for the door stopper.”
CUTTING AND SEWING
“In order to get a feel of how it would look like, I created the door stoppers myself first. It took me a full day to actually make it. I sketched, made the pattern, went downstairs, got the fabric cut and did the sewing myself. Then went to get it filled. It was done in a day.
For me, everything is simple and easy as I have the experience for it. Because this item hasn’t been launched yet, I didn’t train the sewing team or allow them to start making them. I’ll wait until we’re about to launch before training starts.”
THE FINAL LOOK
TESTING THE DOOR STOPPERS
“Normally I put it in the office and my colleagues would review it and give me feedback. Even the customer service team will give us their input on whether it’s capable of ripping etc. So as you can see closely, I made sure it was double stitched under the handle of the door stoppers in order for it to stay intact.”
SO WHAT’S NEXT?
“Once it’s ready to go online, we’ll go for a photo shoot. After the photo shoot, I’ll work on the costing and then, I’ll give it a code name. Each item in LOFT 25 comes with its own unique code. For example, DS1 etc would be a code name for the door stoppers. I’ll then go back to the software and rename all the products with the correct codes. Then I go downstairs to mark the codes on the PC for the cutting departments so that the cutters will know the fabric and item name. They will then be able to find the right fabric and cut it for us.
After that, the fabric is sent to the sewing department. My role also involves training the sewing team and showing them techniques on different designs. I have to make sure I’m overlooking the process and that instructions are understood. Then I go to the filling department, and I make sure I tell them which filling will be used. Is it crumb foam? Plastic beans? Fibre? What is the sizing of the fillings? It’s my job to inform every department about what will be done.”
My job is all about doing something new every day. If I had to do the same thing, I’d get bored.
Yasreen is focusing on new items for the coming months. Beanbags are extremely popular in the winter and there will be around 20 different designs for kids, adult and teens. She’s also juggling other projects and catches up with her sketches when she has time for herself.
“With beanbags, it’s not as easy as it looks. When you design it and when you make the first draft, it’s completely different. It’s not a straightforward product as it is something that will move around and there are different shapes that we need to think about. I’m going to be spending a lot of time on beanbags this year.”
Being a Product Developer is a challenging job but for Yasreen, it’s a role that allows her to take control and have influence over an entire product. No day is ever the same as she is constantly speaking to different people, sketching future designs, training the sewing team and sourcing fabrics internationally.
“The benefits of having this job? I’m doing something new every day. I love to create things from scratch. My mind is always busy and I just enjoy the rush when I’m going through the production of something because when it’s finally done, I always feel proud of the work!”