Communication within the group went really well, we just tend to loose each other in endless improving whatever little detail of our main or potential side products without actually going forward with the overall idea. At this moment we began to understand the importance of the roles, since they were still merging together in all of us. Mostly of the Team Leader’s role, that the group needed to break the complexity of our thinking and assign the tasks based on our skills, which Paul fulfilled successfully. We started talking each one of us from his own skills’ point of view and we began a more productive collaboration.
After gathering enough information about the product over the past weekend and considered the keywords that formed our product’s features I started listing them and the Elevator Pitch just formed it self naturally at my first attempt. I’m not very comfortable speaking in front of people so I thought it would be somebody else to do the talking but I think after all the various presentations during the year, and the couple of test in the elevator, I felt totally comfortable in speaking and for me it was reaching a milestone.
At this point we had a description of our product: Our Company focuses on redesigning the classic desk organiser by using detachable modules made from reclaimed materials. a Modular, Vertical, Versatile Desk Organiser made of Reclaimed Materials. And some important key words: Detachable, Modular, Versatile and Minimalist.
At this point we knew we were going to use wood as main material but we also wanted it to be catchy and original so we decided to combine it with plexiglass. Plexi, as not many people know, is a sustainable and long lasting material commonly used in furniture and also in our University.
Initial designs for the desk organiser:
Playing with our key words we came up with the most appropriate name we could find for the Company: Duplexity. It ndicates, by definition, two identical working units, operating together or independently. For us was indicating the two materials: wood and plexi, with plexi being a part of the name, and also different functions since the design of our desk organiser can be used both vertically or by detaching the modules, horizontally. While the logo had been designed to mach the shape of the product. Same for business cards and tags, to keep an overall identical look.
We had a little hint for our slogan 🙂 which fitted perfectly with the overall brand identity and product which we also decided to print on our packaging:
‘A Place for everything and everything in its place’ – Benjamin Franklin
The next Step was to Contact the Charity Shops we knew were dealing with wood and we found some friendly people that helped us gather some initial scraps of ex furniture that they could not be fixed for resale and therefore they would have been thrown away.
The design part of the product took us most of the time and it required a team effort in the problem solving of an infinite numbers of details. Sometimes it seamed we were making one step ahead and two behind. We had to find the right compromise between aesthetics, functionality and a machine friendly design. Also not to be too complex and be able to make enough products to make profit, besides the 100£ seed fund we would have to return in the end, in the range of prices that our potential client would be willing to spend for it. We considered CNC machining both in the soft modelling room and the FabLab, each one with their pro and cons, but due to different types of technicalities we finally opted to cut the individual pieces by hand and that resulted in a more efficient idea also because we suddenly felt more independent.
In parallel with the product we had to consider the packaging and for it to be in line with our values. This is the reason we immediately discarded a paper based packaging, box or bag, plastic bags and instead we considered something that could be useful and reusable. Cotton bags appeared to be the perfect solution so we went for it right away. They are quite expensive to buy ready made but on the other hand making them is time consuming. We considered costs and timing involved and finally opted to make them, considering that we had a group of 5 where 3 people were enough for the manufacture, 1 for the website and branding and 1, me, for uniforms and packaging.
First bag prototypes:
For the Uniforms we opted for digital stitching because considered more environmental friendly than screen printing where there is always waste in using colours and pastes to mix and wash them.