By Kirstie Pike- CEO
I am often asked how it is that we develop a particular item for our gear lineup. While this can be different from company to company…here is the down and dirty of Prois product development.
- We identify a need. We may do this based on personal preferences. We may do this based on customer requests. We may do this based on holes we have identified in the market.
- Research. Once we determine which product we want to start developing, I spend quite a bit of time checking on the current market offerings. If it already exists AND it bears any sort of conceptual comparison to what we are considering we will determine if there is a place in the market for the item we are creating. If so, we move forward! If not, we go back to the drawing board.
- We get the product development team working together on overall fit first. We use a small development team of three people. Having a larger team than that makes forward movement pretty much impossible!
- Once we have the key fit features determined, we add the technical features that we feel are most important. This is actually the most fun part of product development. It is where creativity really comes into our designs.
- We submit all of our information on to our manufacturer’s design coordinator. From here, we determine fabrics, colors, fills, camouflage patterns, zippers, pulls, embroidery, etc…
- Prototype samples are completed and sent back for the design team review. It is at this point we recreate the fit. Add or eliminate features. Change colors or fabrics. Revise embroidery placement and color. We assimilate the information and send that back to the manufacturer design coordinator.
- New prototype samples are issued and the design team takes to the garment again. At this point, we push the garment into the field to give it a true test of endurance, fit and functionality. Sometimes we actually pull a product at this stage if we feel it is not to the Prois standard of excellence.
- We assimilate more information and changes for revisions. At this time, we are approving color dip samples, tag designs, care instructions, hang tags, folding patterns, bag/boxing details and fine-tuned details down to zipper pulls and snaps.
- A final prototype is issued for review. Once the team all agrees on the garment, we issue the final order for production.
Interestingly, this process takes much longer than one would think. For example, our Archtach down jackets took over a year to develop. We have learned over the years to accept nothing short of perfection. It can be really frustrating for all parties involved when we think we are about to pull the trigger on production- then we determine we need to make a very small change. However, the end product shows our dedication to the process.
I believe one of the MOST satisfying aspects of this job is when our production lands in the warehouse and we actually get our hands on the finished products. It is really satisfying to see a concept come to life. It is even more satisfying when our customers love the product as well. As crazy as it sounds, it is a very personal experience.
So what is coming next for Prois product development? Stay tuned!