A Wine Glass Apron?

22 03 2011

How we love creativity at Aprons, Etc.  A niche we discovered long ago is our ability to offer custom manufacturing.  In our early days (25+ years now) we would try to match almost anything anyone sent to us for manufacturing as long as it fit into our sewing capabilities.  Think twill or polyester fabric – even 10 oz duck once-upon-a-time – and we would give it a shot.  The difficulties inherent in that process are not so much that it can’t be done but judging the length of time involved, the minimums of extra items we have to order from vendors (ie – an odd style D-ring), meant we often got caught in the no-way-til-you-do-it hole of paying customers to take products.  Not literally, but you understand what I mean.

This week we got an order from a customer for Wine Glass Aprons.  You will be able to view this product on winecountrypromos.com.  This is real creativity.  The idea that one could walk around with your wine glass and not have it in your hands is so appealing to me.  The further thought that you could simply add a straw…okay, I’m getting carried away.  But this took some creative thinking.  And a creative response from us.

No-TieIn 2010, we were approached by a group of men who wanted to manufacture an apron that had no ties.  Sometimes ties get in the way of equipment and people.  Injuries can occur.  They created the no-Tie apron which has full closure with velcro-type tabs (see the webinar on our webpage for selling tips).  I think its one of those ideas much like the cup-holders in the movie theaters.  For all you youngsters out there, there was a time when the movies didn’t have these.  A no-brainer.  An apron with no ties.  Hmmmm.

A few weeks ago, our national sales manager, Pam Pennington, was attending a trade show.  One of the distributors asked her about a coupon bag.  They were looking at our Walker Totes.  An idea begin to spring from this existing product.  The walker bag has loop over straps with Velcro-style attachments.  Hmmm.  Those attachments could loop over a shopping cart handle.  The fabric is a durable water-proof 600 Denier coated polyester.  Long lasting and good for running through the rain.  Comes in 19 wonderful colors.  Cut it down, add a few pockets – Voila!  (English teachers will tell you to never use another language when you are writing in English – but this was a Voila!).  We have an exciting new Coupon Carrier that is perfect for our economic timing.  Who isn’t using coupons these days?  How many clients do you have who would simply LOVE to have their logo on the outside of a Coupon Carrier hanging off of a shopping cart with their name in prominent view?  And perhaps a few of their coupons pre-stuffed in the Coupon Carrier?

We tested it.  The wife of our VP of Marketing took the prototype into the store, filled with her coupons.  Hanging there on the handle of the shopping cart, not dumping out into the groceries or balanced on her elbow.  In easy reach of flipping through her cache to see if she had the correct coupon.  At least 100 people stopped her to ask where she had gotten the Coupon Carrier.  Okay, I exaggerated a little.  But suffice it to say that quite a few asked her where they could get one.

The point I am making is that within our category of textile items, we can be quite creative.  This is the proverbial “think outside of the box” technique (if someone can come up with a new version of “think outside of the box”, I will be most grateful).

Take a look at the items which you have been supplying to your best customers.  Bring in some other creative people who have less of a tunnel vision than you do with this particular customer and product.  I am not suggesting that you are not creative, but we all get caught up in seeing things as we see them – and a fresh new pair or pairs of eyes can be of great benefit.  Look at the items closely.  Start redesigning on paper.  Write down EVERYTHING you think of.  The best ideas sometimes disguise themselves as sheer insanity.  Once you work through them, however, ideas blossom.

A wine glass apron.  Go figure.

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