Posts tagged work
Posts tagged work
The first thing I did this morning was say NO to a client who was asking about a potentially unsafe custom order. I wanted to make my stance on this public:
I believe in my products. I think that what I sell is unique, fun, and above all else - safe. My main concern is seeing my products used safely. That’s always been something that is near and dear to me, but especially so after Matty passed away. Which means occasionally saying NO to good money. One thing you can count on when you order from me is that a lot of thought, love and effort has gone into your product. Everything I sell I hold up to my own high standards, and sometimes that means not selling things.
Well, off to make some awesome latex! It’s adventure time. :)
I could not be more excited to post this particular picture…
About 12 or 13 years ago Alexander Horn (pictured above - the one not wearing the hood) did a LOVELY set of fashion/fetish photos involving a vacbed on his website. That was the very first exposure I had to the concept of the vacbed, and it hit a switch in my head that has (obviously) remained on and in overdrive ever since.
So… in a way, Alexander contributed to the spark that formed Kink Engineering.
It was a particular honour a few weeks ago to have him come to me for some hoods for an event he was planning to attend in a few months, and to find out that a hero of mine in the latex scene actually noticed the design work that I had been doing.
A productivity guru that I follow recently gave advice about writing along the lines of “Decide who it is you want to delight” - and I have kept that in mind in my design work. I designed as if I had my heros in the field looking over my shoulder (or following my blog) and over time the result has been those people actually taking note, and in some cases becoming co-operative partners in projects, and friends. (See recent madness at House of Gord for example)
So… that’s some great advice. In whatever you do that makes you feel most whole, think of who you would most like to delight. Then work really really hard at that task. You may never catch the attention of that person you wanted to impress… but you’ll certainly impress a LOT of other people along the way.
Just gave www.laserlatex.com a facelift. That’s a bit better!
Stock room is mostly together. The panoramic photo makes it look flat, but there is a good amount of storage space there!
Just walked into my workshop to find an unexpected Mosh rehearsing a latex fan dance.
So day 8 of constant heavy lifting on the workshop move seems to have a silver lining.
Tonight’s TGT party looks to be an EPIC one!
We listen to lots of productivity talk, then we take 5 minutes to implement some system, then we DO STUFF FURIOUSLY!
(via xkcd: Time Management)
From an article that explains why I don’t spend all that much time on fetlife, twitter, facebook or ANY time on any IM program, and why I flat out refuse to talk work with someone on any platform other than email (which I find most efficient for my time/work style and provides me with an instant, searchable record of design requirements, obligations, quotes and agreements)
Merlin Mann is pretty much my hero… if you are interested in making things and being efficient, moral, human, and focused, you should be reading/listening to him (then getting back to work)
Time-lapse latex building: A project with my friends and AMAZINGLY high quality builders at Ego-Assassin Latex.
NOTES: Time lapse video of the HOURS of work to make a bathrobe prototype. It still needs pocket, belt loops, belt and trim (another bunch of hours of work) to be totally ready.
I made this video to showcase how MUCH WORK goes into making a high quality latex garment. Even after years of experience, the good stuff takes time and care… which is why good latex is usually also expensive. (Though not all expensive latex is good!)
Quality Points to note: Lots of care taken in cutting the latex to avoid snags that will make the garment weaker. Careful cleaning, prepping, gluing, re-cleaning, seaming, rolling, cleaning (again), and powdering of seams. Reinforcements.
Things to be done to get this to market: Trim edges, add pockets, add belt loops, add belt, clean, shine, photoshoot, edit photos, create product on web store, promote…
Things to happen AFTER getting this product to market: Make a few sales, then get ripped off by sweat shop owning latex company in China who will make a crappy copy and thus turn latex lovers into latex phobics due to poor quality… Eventually go back to a cubicle job so that I don’t have to sell the cats to pay the rent, and stop making latex/art.
Death of creative latex designers…
Unless you support the original designers of great latex gear instead of buying cheap knock offs… I’m just saying…
Interesting things to watch for in the video: Curling latex getting flatter as thinner/glue dries. Cats in/around pattern papers, Cats ON me (twice), Ice Cream eating, kisses (2), lost pen behind ear (1), Archean turning off the lights and going to bed, Latex Ninja.
During the making of this video I was listening to: The Weakerthans wonderful album Reunion Tour, Merlin Mann interview on Failure, Rocky Horror episode of Glee (man, that show has jumped the shark!), Nerdist Podcast with Bill Mahr, Fetish Dynasty Podcast with Fetish Kitsch.
Music in video: “Mr Mastodon Farm” by Cake - BUY THEIR MUSIC, they are awesome.
NSFW? That really depends on where you work…
I LOVE MY JOB!
I’ve been thinking about customer experiences for the past couple of days based on a few recent events.
I left the world of normal big business to start my own company partly because I was sick and tired of people doing needless things for 90% of their time and then rushing the important stuff they did into 10% of their time. Things I don’t miss: paperwork circles, meetings, projects that led nowhere, meetings, begging for permission to get something done, meetings, begging for budgets that are smaller than the amount of salaried time it took to administrate the paperwork to get the budget in the first place, oh, and meetings.
So, with my own company comes the freedom to do things in my very own version of “right”. ”I’m going to do things right from now on!” I said on day 1. I even wrote it on the chalk board in the shop to hang as a reminder. I soon discovered the harsh reality of doing things right… ready for this…
IT IS EASIER TO DO THINGS RIGHT!
Seems counter intuitive? There is a small catch. You have to take a slightly longer time frame into account when doing things right. But it works very very well.
So… what is it that we’re doing so right you might ask?
We start with quality ingredients (To the point that we sourced our own supply of latex into North America… which we now share through www.sheetlatex.com)
We take our time with designing products (3 or 4 generations of designs are scrapped before the “final product” is ready to sell)
We keep improving over time. We’re always looking for ways to do thing better and higher quality. Our vacbeds started out really good, but now they are spectacular… but still improving in small ways with customer feedback and our own advances.
…and certainly not least, customer service.
Customer serivice is one of the things I care deeply about. My philosophy is.. if you are going to buy a $400+ latex toy from us, you will get: latex sheeting, some glue, a little bit of metal and plastic and other stuff that makes up the product as advertised, but also and most importantly you have bought yourself a couple of days of highly skilled labor.
Here’s the thing. I can make a beautiful and technically sound vacbed without much in the way of customer service. Something that you could get “off the rack”… but it’s not going to be YOUR perfect vacbed. For it to be perfect for YOU, I have to at very very least know…
So you don’t just buy a vacbed or mobius gloves from us. You buy a little bit of our time, and a lot of our care. In some cases it’s a cut and dried project and one email transaction back and forth is all we need to build the product… sometimes it’s a chain of emails a mile long. Either way, we find out a little about our clients. We refer to their products with a first name attached. Examples:
“How’s that vac cube coming?”
“Jodi* is going to LOVE it… the colors work really well together!”
“What are you grumbling about?”
“I’ve just re-re-re-done this seam!! I hope Richard* appreciates this!”
I also try my best to drop a quick email to our customers when their product actually hits the workbench if it’s been on hold for a bit while we clear other orders out of the queue. It’s not as good as being super super quick (which in my mind is likely going to mean super super sloppy) but it’s better than a void of contact. I want our customers to be excited about the process, not just the result.
So our customers begin to get this sense that we care about them, and that really shows in their response to the products. They open up and ask us more personal (but important) questions about using our latex gear to it’s fullest. They send us personal notes of thanks. They actually act sheepish when they do something dumb and break a product (which we happily repair - not for free, but not extortion either) as if we shared in creating it. They get, in a word, MORE.
So, what do WE get out of this. As a business shouldn’t we be striving for efficiency and cost cutting. What’s with all the posts on fetlife answering random stranger’s questions about latex? Why spend time yakking to a customer instead of being that bit more ahead on orders?
I’ll tell you what we get out of it. We get BETTER QUALITY in our products. It is very easy to cut corners for a faceless source of money called “some customer in Sweden*”, but I would personally hate to produce something less than great for Sven*! (Oh Sven*… why did you choose a purple and pink lab coat? I’ll never know!) And what’s more… we enjoy our work more. Those long hours spent bent over a work table fussing with a complicated seam, seem less daunting because I’m making it for Alice*. Carying the heavy roll of 35yards of latex to the post office seems less tiresome since it’s for Drew*. Gambling lots of my own money to start a business seems less scary when it’s FOR people… not just for more money.
You know what else we get out of it. LESS STRESS. If we are getting behind we simply tell our customers that we are getting behind… and 90% of the time they are fine with a slight delay. That takes the stress of the catch up game, and keeps us working at the level of quality we want. 10% of the time they say “I have an event and I need it by X-date” and then we know to get on that right away… customer contact is just win-win.
So. We’re not the cheapest (actually, we ARE the cheapest for some stuff… our vac-cube for example - but I’ll write about price gouging and how I don’t like that either in another tirade) and we’re not the fastest (Faster than we used to be, but next day delivery is not happening for products… sheeting, yes… vacbeds, no) and we’re not the biggest or best known. But cheap and fast and reputation are not what make for a good quality experience or product. People are what make quality.
And we assume that our customers are quality people.
*Names and places changed to protect the kinky!