So I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “the more you know, the more you know you don’t know”. Well, that is a great phrase for a new business owner. Haha – o yes it is.
Here are some of the rabbit holes I’ve been exploring (more to come in next blog post)…some of which I never imagined I’d be learning about, but that’s part of the fun (and craziness) I suppose. :-)
- Fabric is kind-of exciting to learn about. Really!
- There are soooo many choices. Here are some of them that I’ve been learning about: Cotton, Polyester, PUL, Olefin, Canvas, Acrylic, Nylon, Pack Cloth, Oil Canvas, etc, etc, etc into oblivion!
- Different kinds of fabric are better for different uses. This sounds elementary, I know, but it’s SO interesting to learn about, and I feel like I’m learning that truth all over again!
- And there are lots of fabric tests to help you determine which kind of fabric is best for you. These are really helpful! Here are some of the tests:
- Tear strength – how much pressure/weight can be put on the fabric’s edges before it tears
- Tensile strength – how much pressure/weight can be put on a non-edge of the fabric before it rips through
- Warp Vs Fill (or Weft) – I still don’t fully understand this, but I know it has something to do with the way the thread runs through a piece of cloth
- Abrasion tests – measured in number of rubs before fabric starts fraying or showing signs of wear
- UV resistance – measured in hours of UV exposure before color fades or material breaks down
- Weight – measured in ounces per square yard
- Denier – weave. The lower the number, the finer the feel, the higher the number, the rougher the feel (canvas, for example, has a high denier).
- Temperature (extreme heat, cold, and massive temp changes) – does fabric break down, lose strength, etc?
- Check out this fabric book I got - it has almost 500 pages! 31 pages are for "Attributes and Specifications" (all the tests), and there 5 fabrics per page - that means there's test information for 180 fabrics! It's pretty monsterous, but I love my fabric catalogue. :-)
- Choices galore!! I found one website that offered the following:
- 30 different kinds of woven labels
- 37 different kinds of printed labels
- 34 different kinds of eco-friendly labels
- 18 different kinds of leather labels
- 15 different kinds of pvc/silicone lables
- They also have varieties of metal labels, Italian labels, laser-engraved labels, vintage labels, pressure-sensitive labels, etc… WOW!! (And by “wow”, I partially mean “yikes!”)
- Nathan and I are trying to decide between a woven label and a molded label (ie: silicone/pvc). If we get a woven label, we only pay for the label, but if we get a molded label, we also have to pay “set up fees” and “mold fees”. These can easily run several hundreds of dollars, which will make the first order significantly more expensive.
- For molded labels, each company has a time limit for how long they’ll keep a mold between orders - I’ve seen 6 months up to 3 years. If we don’t re-order within their time frame, they will get rid of our mold, and we’ll have to pay another mold before we can order more labels from them. This is a big deal for new companies like Natril Gear who may take a while moving product at first.
- RGB is the only color system I’ve ever known (except for CMYK). But in the world of labels and printed/molded things, they work with Pantone colors. There are RGB-to-Pantone converters, but none of Natril Gear’s RGB colors were ever an exact match for any Pantone colors, so we had to pick new colors for our logo and name to be used on our labels. This got a little hairy, but we figured it out! The picture below on the left is our RGB logo, and the one on the right is our logo in Pantone colors. You can tell a small difference, but not much!
- We looked into this because we need to make our own mounting system for our Luggers, and we wanted to make it out of plastic. Click here if you don’t know what I’m talking about….and you might not b/c I haven’t posted about it on TheRoadTo.org yet.
- Turns out, like everything else, there are a lot of ways to do this: 3d printing, rapid prototyping, injection molding, fabrication, etc.
- Injection molding is the only one we’ve priced so far, and it’s PHENOMINALLY expensive. The kind of injection molds we’ll need can cost up to $10,000 per piece…and that’s just for the MOLD! Then you have to buy the molten plastic and pay someone to run the machine so you can actually make some….but all of that is on TOP of the $10k mold fee! Ah!
- And as if that wasn’t financially freaky enough, before you can start having meaningful conversations with a plastics manufacturer, you need AutoCAD drawings…which is another thing entirely and another expense entirely. Sheesh. Now I understand why people refinance their house and strip all their savings when they start their own businesses!
- Nathan and I are hoping to avoid a family meeting about Natril Gear that looks like this:
For the rest of my "rabbit holes", check out the next blog. After that, I'll share about one of the results from my encounter with the truth of this famous saying "the more you know, the more you know you don't know"....Natril Gear's first open letter.