We’ve “talked” about how HDS Medallion Designer CarryAll Bags for Mobility Devices started with walker bags for our 99 year old Mother and her friends. But we have not really communicated the process that develops all of designer mobility bags from possibilities to finished products (wheelchair bags, scooter bags, power chair accessories, and walker bags). When we started, this process was foreign to us and has developed over the 6 years we’ve been in business.
Step 1: Ideas and Possibilities
It is important that we keep up with trends, popular colors, new materials, and create new styles, etc. So at least 2 times a year, our designer, Sharon Richardson (Carol’s sister), and Carol go to fabric shows. Their favorite is “The Quilt Market” in Houston every fall. There are hundreds of exhibitors and over 40 fabric companies and multiple trim companies selling buttons to ribbons to braid and back. Thanks to Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Michael Miller Fabrics, Frond Design Studio, Carr Textile, Shannon, Products From Abroad, The Button Company, Dill Buttons, Bellagio, and others for their quality offerings.
We have developed close relationships with these companies and their representatives who have learned our style, our preferences and guide us toward fabrics and trims we love. Thanks to Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Michael Miller Fabrics, Frond Design Studio, Carr Textile, Shannon, Products From Abroad, Lion Ribbon, The Button Company, Dill Buttons, Bellagio, and others for their quality offerings.
Step 2: Designing Sample Bags
At the shows, we order sample yardage to make sample bags, and trim options. Sharon has the ultimate say on what she puts together in the design of a bag, while Carol has the ultimate say on what actually gets produced considering cost, timing, availability of items, sewing costs, etc. The samples may be made over a period of time as we need to replace colors, add trends, introduce a new bag style, etc. Sharon has made nearly 100 samples in the six years since we started. Over 40 have been produced.
Step 3: Sourcing the Bag Components
Carol sources all the components of the bag being produced. In six years, we have used/purchased the following:
Step 4: Making the Bags
We are blessed to have a great manufacturer. Zelia and Manny have a small factory near Fall River, MA with industrial machines, cutting equipment, and they store all of our raw materials. The process starts when we provide them with Sharon’s sample bag, a bill of materials, a technical drawing and the new components needed to make the bag. Manny manages the cutting while Zelia is the master sewer who sews and oversees the output of her people. They produce a sample bag themselves to make sure it is what we want and is doable at the projected cost. We then authorize the production of the bag as is or with modifications. It usually takes a month or so to make the bags. They may be working on more than one bag at a time. We perform random checks of bags to assure quality is maintained. A return rate of less than 1% demonstrates the quality of our bags. But being human, mistakes can be made, but they are rare and quickly addressed. We're really proud of our quality!
Step 5: Getting Bags Ready to Sell
Our manufacturer mails the completed bags to the warehouse of our fulfillment company in Olean New York. They specialize in small businesses and have provided shipping, warehousing, returns and basic customer service online and over the phone for nearly 6 years. We have over 40 SKUs available at any time. Two bags are also mailed to Carol who then works with our photographer, Al, to get the bag photographed.
Step 6: Getting Customers' Attention
Carol also finalizes the price of the new bag and enters the product information and pictures into our website, Amazon, Facebook and Pinterest when everything is ready. Then the bag is introduced to our friends, customers and visitors via blast emails, our newsletter, on the website, on Amazon, etc. We also feature new bags at each trade show or expo.
A Complicated Process
Are you surprised at what it takes to produce a walker bag, wheelchair bag, scooter bag, power chair bag, etc.? While we have streamlined the process, we are still amazed at the work involved in producing new products. With only a two person company, we rely heavily on our designer, vendors and partners to help us in this process and are so grateful for their contributions!
We’re also very grateful to you, our customers and friends, for supporting us and buying these quality bags!