Designing bags is fun, i have been doing it for many years and hopefully will be able to do it for many more. In this blog post, i share some of the processes involved in designing bags and bringing a range of bags from sketches into the real world.
So what is a range plan?
A range plan is an overview of the entire range that you propose to launch. For bags it is important that you have enough of the different size and formats of bags to offer to the customer.
For example if you have multiple backpacks, ask yourself the question, what is the difference between the different backpacks? are they different sizes, are they going to appeal to a different customer? For a good range, you want to avoid having bags that do the same thing. Ultimately you don't want to cannibalise your own products.
Case study: Happy Shopper range
As a tool to plan the range I use little images of each bag all together on one single page. Being able to see everything together in the planning stage helps me to evaulate all the bags and decide which ones to keep and which ones to potentially drop. No matter how flush i'm feeling, there is always a budget involved. As i design each of the bags individually, each one is a bit like a baby and the idea of dropping them can be heart breaking, but at the end of the day it is a business decision.
Each bag needs it own justification so, as part of my process i will explain below the rationale behind each of the 18 styles i initially have in this new eco collection. Obviously 18 is a large number so i inevitably might need to cut a few out.
Goodordering was born as a cycling brand, and cycling will always remain at the heart of the business. However, as the brand has gained traction, there has been a more diverse customer base that i would love to offer our bags to. The tote bag has increased in popularity as people have started to focus more on sustainability reducing single use plastic bags.
Offering new bags into the range now and again is fun and can re-invigorate the brand. Ideally it would be good to introduce a new style cautiously, dipping the feet in before jumping in completely, however, there is also a certain value in trusting your own intuution and observations.
As picnics have increased, and people are getting more used to bringing their lunch with them to work or out on adventures, i thought it was time to offer an insulated lunch bag. I have one that i have been using with the kids for years, so at the right price, it would love to offer it within this new goodordering range.
We have the shopper, classic backpack, rolltop backpack and mini bckpack in this range. The mini is aimed at children. The shopper and the rolltop can be attached to the bicycle. The classic backpack is .... well its a classic. If i had to drop one of these backpacks for budget reasons i would proboably drop the shopper.
Things to consider when putting together a range plan
* Are any of the items doing the same thing as each other?
* How many of the items are risky vs 'no-brainers'?
* Have you ordered enough of the 'best seller' styles?
* Have you got a piece in the range that is press worthy?
* What bag could be your new best seller?
* What styles could be an entry point into the brand or range
* Are there styles that customers have been asking for?
* What is your budget? How do you work within that budget?
* Are there any styles that you have missed out on?
* Are there styles that will open up your brand to a new market?
* Can you anticipate what customers might want in the future?
How to get the answers to the above questions
- Ask customers through a survey or face to face
- Look at past sales figures
- Look at other brands and the products and ranges that they offer
- Work out your budget and expected revenue
When range planning it is useful to take a bit of time to reflect on the above questions. Whilst its tempting to offer a large range, its good to be able to edit the range to optimise on the pieces that will benefit the brand whether it be financially or for press. The last thing you want is to have hundred of bags sitting in a warehouse not selling or to have to discount pieces which ends up eroding your brand. So think wisely up front and plan your range well.