HOB & Rookie.

From Materials Engineering to Product Design. Stage 2

From the lessons learnt during the first ever bag designing and making experience I was keen to improve on every aspect and I was in no hurry as the semesters became tough finding spare time to visit markets, do the research and find vendors became even tougher.

After the first experiment, my senior and good friend Haider Ali Ansari (a.k.a Kooler) while on an outing in Sadar, Rawalpindi, connected me with his younger brother’s friend who was running a sports goods manufacturing setup in Sialkot. When kooler shared his connection, there were three reasons we were excited about it:

  • Sialkot is world renowned to manufacture world-class sports goods. So the bags would be of exactly the high quality we wanted.
  • The industry in Sialkot accepts small orders because they are usually habitual of making small sample lots for international buyers.
  • The bagmaker were a friend’s friend so we could hold them accountable for poor manufacturing and quality.

Finally, we completed our research and were able to make the designs for the next bags. This time we planned to launch 3 different designs and each design having a lot of 10, in total 30 bags. An update in the team was that Waleed opted to stay low on this one, so only me and Nour were left.

One fine day during our semester break in 2014, I called Dawood Dilawar, had a good conversation with him, learnt that even he was eager to do such an experiment and decided that I will pay him a visit and get to know how things work in Sialkot.

After the visit, it was decided that we would go for two designs and 20 bags rather than 3 designs and 30 bags. Along with this Dawood decided to partner with us. He loved the name, which was changed to HOB & Rookie from HOB. The change in the name wasn’t changed because of Dawood’s inclusion, we felt that our brand name was one of the items which needed improvement, that's all.

The first bag (I am forgetting the name of the bag, forgive me for improvising I am calling it Big Joe) in this attempt was made to carry the legacy of the first bag, a bag that can we used during week days for university and for the weekend when headed back to home from hostel.

Side view of Big Joe.
Yes, we were studying IR in the 7th semester, so yea I had to highlight that.

The second design was called Rebel, it was sleek and simple with a flap closing. Rebel was designed to be more suitable for the day-packers.

Rebel in all its glory (I know not so much)

Both the bags had a 15' laptop sleeve.

This time we sold 11/20, one was gifted to a dear friend Usman Syed. The remaining 8 were sent back to the manufacturer because they were defective.

Lessons Learnt from this stage:

Learnt about product design, customer profiling, design thinking, manufacturing, marketing and sales and last but not the least about getting the job done, make vendors meet deadlines with desired quality.

During the backpack designing process, we learnt about branding and logo designing and how logo does what it does, i.e. register an image in the mind.

The most important lesson we learnt at this stage was to never pay the vendor the complete payment, because that's the only thing which one could leverage to motivate the vendor to improve quality/speed up and even repair damaged goods due to poor stitching in the first place.

In short, all the three points that we were initially excited about, became the points at which we failed.

  • The stitching quality was poor hence 8/20 bags were sent back.
  • The bagmaker didn’t pay attention to our small order because he was too busy meeting deadlines of other international clients.
  • The biggest set back was, we couldn’t hold the bagmaker accountable because he was our partner’s family friend.

These three points were the steepest learning curves in our tiny venture thus far.

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Co-founder at Deodar Design. Experimenting & exploring ways to live a better yet simple life.

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Muhammad Anas

Muhammad Anas

Co-founder at Deodar Design. Experimenting & exploring ways to live a better yet simple life.

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