What I know about change is that people rarely stop what they’re doing merely because they discover a better way to do something. They change only when the way they’re doing something at present becomes intolerable. And “they” in this case is me.
For the most part making the neck rests has been a wonderful experience. I’ve met terrific people and made some new friends as I talked with, and shipped neck rests to, people round the world. Feedback from customers that has felt incredibly good. I’ve had amazing hallucinations with that first can of contact adhesive I used – I traveled to other planets and realities, most likely at the cost of more than a few brain cells. I've enjoyed helping turn customers' ideas into finished embroidery. I’ve learned a ton about manufacturing and ten times that about collaboration as Zubin, Cara and I slowly figured out how to make this work while at the same time nurturing what really matters…our friendship.
And then there’s the part that hasn’t been so great:
- I’m embarrassed by continually apologizing for long wait times. Trying to maintain a consulting practice during the day means long nights in the shop. There just aren’t enough hours in each day.
- That first can of adhesive.
- Making and fitting the steel brackets by hand takes hours, and the process is imprecise…especially in the winter when I’m working in an unheated shop.
- I discovered belatedly that the foam supplier couldn’t control the density of one of the fill materials I was using so I ended up paying for a batch that would have made better clouds than neck rests.
- Its been next to impossible to get mtb stems at a reasonable price for the full kits. And having to buy them retail has made this even worse.
- And then on top of everything else Zubin decided to move back to San Francisco, so now we’re mailing stuff back and forth, which has slowed things even more.
When I couldn’t find the energy to write in this blog for over a month I decided the situation, finally, was intolerable. It was either fill the current orders and then close up shop, or start doing things very differently. Since there's plenty more I can learn and more I'd like to try, I'm choosing Option B.
So, here's what "intolerable" has inspired. I've sent drawings to Puget Sound fabricators for estimates on manufacturing the brackets for the CURVE and ROLL.
A leading bicycle parts and accessories distributor has approved my opening an account, so now I have reliable wholesale access to the stems needed for the full kits.