Continuing on from my July BLOG post about how we've navigated the rocky road that has been 2020, I'd like to share with you how the Sassind Team pulled together to create our Spring / Summer 2020 collections.
Starting at the end of this month (October), we will be launching 3 brand-new collections: a cotton knit story + a linen story + a shoe story. Given travel bans, and Melbourne's continued lockdown, I'm so very proud of our little 'can do' team for rallying together to help us bring all of this together for you, our supportive Sassind community.
Our process for development pre-COVID was a well oiled machine, which just so happened to involve a lot of travel! Each season, I would travel to India with our ideas, and work together with our factory's technical teams to come up with what we call first prototype samples. This would generally be a 7-10 day trip in which I'd spend each day in the factory reviewing proto samples, and finalising the sizing, style, and colour ways. By the time I'd leave to come home I would have final prototype samples, and will have placed the order for our bulk shipment. A final trip would be made just prior to bulk shipment (usually around 100 days later) to do a final quality check with our agent, Sanjay. Product would then arrive and be launched within the week.
Quite obviously, this year has been very different. Whilst still relying heavily on our factory's technical teams, much of the development work had to happen here before sending off our ideas via email. Shannon, Cate and I started as we always do, with a brainstorm session and then onto creating Pinterest boards for each collection to gather ideas. From there I would normally create mood boards which I then take with me to India to start working on samples. This year I relied on Shannon and Cate to draw up comprehensive and detailed sketches, based on our mood boards and finalised style selections. From there the factories came back with questions (many many questions), recommendations, and observations. It took time, a lot longer than normal, to receive our first prototype samples. From there collectively we created what will be our first season designing our entire range remotely.
We now have a new appreciation for the professionalism and trusted relationships we have built with our Indian agent, Sanjay, and in turn the suppliers he has sourced for us over a period of time. I also have a further appreciation for the people we call our team at Sassind, for 'pivoting' endlessly and working with the cards we've been dealt this year.
Cotton knits are scheduled to land at the end of October, followed by shoes and linen in November. We will be ever reliant on the number of freight flights coming into Melbourne (very very few for the last 6 months), and any delays we experience due to a shortage in services during Melbourne lockdown. Please be patient with us - we promise it'll be worth it!
Stay tuned for my next BLOG explaining how I met Sanjay very fortuitously grounded at a Rajasthan Airport during a sandstorm a few years back, and what an integral role he now plays at Sassind.