(This post is part of a continuing series focusing on the development of a new handbag pattern from its initial conception to it's release.)So, I just got through spending the ENTIRE day sitting in front of the computer making some pretty big revisions to the pattern instructions for the PortaPocketsPLUS. That's right... the WHOLE day... and get this, I'm not even done and furthermore, this set of revisions is based on the critique of only ONE of my testers. (Yeah and there's three more tester critiques yet to come.)
Now please don't get me wrong, I NEED my testers to tell me these things. It's their JOB to tell me these things. They certainly will do me no favors telling me everything is lovely when its NOT, but let's face it, sometimes the most important things we do or just not fun. Can you relate?
To me, the buildup to release day is a lot like an approaching hurricane, in terms of the amount of critical stuff that needs to be done. It's a little scary. Here's a synopsis of what usually happens.
You announce a release day and that sets all the wheels in motion. Now you're committed to that day, to back out now would cause LOTS of problems, so you do everything you can to get ready. You make all your plans. You consider all the possible contingencies. You get all your supplies ready. You restock everything. You try to anticipate every possible thing that can go wrong. And you ask for help.... LOTS of help.
Now you know this is not our first rodeo, as a matter of fact, the upcoming pattern release is our 26th so you might be thinking, "You oughta have this down pat by now!", and there's actually some truth to that. We have a very specific itemized list of everything that has to be done in the last 3 weeks or so leading up to the big day, and good planning counts for a lot.
Here's a partial list of everything we need to do, change, or update before we release our new pattern.
- create the new webpage
- write and upload all the pictorial pdf helps
- update & print the new flyers
- finalize instructions and pattern templates, take them to the printer
- add the new notions to the sewing supply webpages
- update the Patterns page on the website
- mail 500 postcards
- upload all webpages and forms at least one week PRIOR to the release
- test the website and shopping carts
- notify distributors about the new pattern & notion availability, send them samples of the covers and notions
- notify retail stores on our mailing list of the new pattern & notion availability
Sometimes the enemy is illness (my own or someone else's), or a slow internet, or a delayed shipment. It can be one large problem that bedevils us or it can be a multitude of small annoyances because here's the deal... EVERY single run-up to a pattern release is different. Here's just a few of our more extreme examples:
- the Baggalista- Due to some unbelievably frustrating problems with the now former printer of our pattern covers, the covers did not arrive until the night before the announced release date! (My poor hubby probably had a padded room ready for me, just in case they didn't come that night because he knew there would have been a TOTAL meltdown if they hadn't)
- the Quattro- my grandson decided to make his grand entrance into this world a full 2 weeks early, AND the day BEFORE my chosen release date. (This was the one time I allowed an interruption to delay a release... I didn;t mind too much though, he was definitely worth it!)
- the AbracaNiche- everything went great in the run-up to release for this pattern, until 10 days later, when I started getting calls about a particular pattern piece being left off one of the pattern sheets. I wanted to cry. Following this debacle I began assembling my team of pattern testers to help me see the less than obvious, (or sometimes the obvious!).
- the DittyRoo- this run-up was flawless and I thought we might be experiencing the perfect release. The newsletter dropped at 12:05 am and things were going well until about 830 am when my website stopped loading. I called my webhost and they said that the traffic was SO high that it was locking up (or something to that effect). They could fix it by moving me to a different grid but that would have to scheduled a couple days in advance. oh great! That was no help! So I answered 150+ complaints (with a pasted smile on my face) on release day alone, and moved that puppy to a new grid at the earliest opportunity.
- the Lollapalooza- I came down with the worlds WORST cold two weeks before the release. Right at the time I should have been thinking the clearest, and working the hardest, I felt so crappy that all I wanted to do was stay in bed.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, "even the worst day working for myself is better than ANY day working for someone else" And it's the truth! :)
So stay tuned for the next post in this series, when we move from the wild and unpredictable run-up... to the very eye of the storm!
Do you know someone who would enjoy this series?
If so, please feel free to pass it on to others in any way you see fit!