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Time for a Redo
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A company will squelch its growth and innovation if it rests on its merits. Whether a stellar reputation or incredible products, nothing lasts forever. Something else will come along and undermine, undercut, or outperform since technology and ideas are constantly evolving.

Change isn't always a good thing. Coke and Pepsi battled it out for years tweaking their formulas to mimic their competitor's flavor. It wasn't received well on either side. McDonalds never experienced a failure like the McLean Deluxe and Arch Deluxe. People just weren't ready for their favorite junk fast food place to offer healthier alternatives though now it would be suicidal not to have them.

Tried and true products must always be viewed with a fresh perspective. Chances are they can be improved in some way without squandering what makes them special. (I'm not talking about the ever-lame "New packaging! Same great flavor!" marketing bullshit.) Processes and methods, though not always apparent or visible in the final product, should get reviewed often to ensure they are still the best and most efficient.

Recently I was faced with the challenge of installing one of my proprietary clasps on a bracelet. The buckle hook clasp is made on a jig and attached afterwards. However, this chain style would not work with a pre-made clasp. I didn't realize how much of a pain it would be after the fact. What was I gonna say to the customer since it was the feature that clinched the sale?

They can be revamped, made stronger and more elegant.
Many, many hours of thinking about how I could redesign the jig proved futile. This was the most difficult clasp to design to start with. It wasn't going to be easy to entirely remanufacture it from scratch - again - so it could be reliably and consistently done freehand.

In any case, I persevered and took copious notes since all the intricacies would be forgotten otherwise. It actually resulted in a more secure clasp that theoretically could be scaled larger or smaller utilizing any wire diameter. The original jig was good for one size and restricted to certain chains.

While not on my radar, it forced me to take a comprehensive look at all my clasps. They can be revamped, made stronger and more elegant. Some aspects will change regarding their general appearance or function but they will be better, including additional sub-styles. Clasps can make or break a piece so adaptability and variety are essential.

What else needs to be revisited? Is it that way by default or for another pointless reason? Everything from pictures to booth setup is a target! Too many tools have been wallowing between concept and beta versions primarily because I lacked access to a machine shop. So many jigs to finalize in metal instead of plastic and wood.

At some point, improvement is measured by marginal gains and it matters more than ever. Simply, complacency is not an option in a profession that relies upon imagination and creativity for the sole purpose of enhancing one's appearance.

Posted by M: February 17, 2024

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