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Recycling 102

Posted by Margaret Barth on

Working for this forward-thinking company, in my early days, consisted of lots of experimentation and product development. I wasn't satisfied to create just functional pieces that would have market appeal. I needed to use all my experience, from the theater to fashion. I also wanted a gentler, kinder way. One that didn't involve pollution or excessive use of water, so dying materials was out of the question. I wanted to use every little scrap, what they call zero manufacturing now.

This position opened my eyes to so many pieces of a business that never existed before. How it could be expressed in a profit or loss margin was beyond my abilities. It was a value that wasn't measured in typical business plans. So, I concentrated on what I did best: Product Developer, Production and Sales.

Seven floors of materials led me to using vintage materials and chenille bedspreads, cocoon coats, vests, narrow scarves and headbands with playful colors -- some were adorned with flowers made from old lace or ribbons for Spring release.

Vintage materials were used for motorcycle jackets, vests and some a-lined skirts. Simple lines that allowed the material to be the statement. Due to graphic images and vibrancy of color, we needed to develop big pieces for these fantastic prints. Interior pieces and furniture were a natural high-end addition.

My sewers were getting used to a super-hyped designer that started the day with sketches. I left for hours, combing through floors with our vintage floor manager to pull the quintessential goods. I had to remember while designing that many of the products had to be production-easy for my sewers (two out of four never sewed a day in their life). Each new product line would present different technical abilities and behaviors of materials. More advanced abilities, more training, all the while meeting deadlines. I was coming into my second year as Product Developer and Sales Rep..I was getting burned out and the position had now grown into two separate positions. We were growing.


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