- Mission statement: Offering simple alternatives to maintain an active lifestyle.
- Description of product: Yidai is an attachable shoe bag that can be easily clipped on onto any backpack. With the addition of two straps on either side of the bag, it can serve multiple purposes. When its straps are expanded to their maximum length, Yidai can be worn as a side bag. It can also be used as a fanny pack if needed.
- Bill of materials
The following is our BOM if we had chosen to produce our bag on our own. As can be noted, the total price per each bag would approximately be 65RMB. After pondering upon this amount and communicating with possible suppliers in terms of the cost for each bag, including our customizations, we established that it would be more economical to order the bags instead of producing our own.
Cost per unit for an order of 1000: 8.6RMB
Cost per unit for an order of 10000: 6.8RMB
4. Suppliers/partners: The part of the process that turned out to be the most crucial in the development of our product was that of contacting possible suppliers and obtaining a quota with our specifications. We started contacting possible suppliers through Taobao first. However, the suppliers showed little interest in disclosing information regarding their sources, so we turned to Alibaba instead. We then searched for suppliers in Alibaba that sold shoe bags similar in appearance to the one we envisioned, to ease our communication and minimize the number of customizations. We contacted about ten different vendors, describing how we were interested in collaborating with them to create our own, customized bag. When communicating with them, we showed them our 3D models, our specifications in terms of shape, size, and other features. We ultimately narrowed down our suppliers to two different factories: Toolya Accessory Co., LTD and Xiamen Relink Imp. and Exp. Co. Ltd. We ordered a sample from both and after further examination decided to work solely with Toolya Accessory Co., LTD. After obtaining the sample, we discussed with our contact from that factory through WeChat and requested several changes to our initial sample, including the addition of our logo. Even though further changes are needed, we are positive about our partnership with Toolya Accessory Co., as responses from them are always punctual and cooperative.
We decided to use the most minimal of packaging. As such, we chose to use simple paper tags. Similar to the previous process, we finally obtained a reliable supplier on Taobao. Overall, since both of these suppliers are dependable, the sustainability our bag’s production in the future is secured as well.
5. Narrative of the journey
The process of producing our bag was an arduous but gratifying one. Along the process of designing our alpha prototype, we had invested a lot of time considering the possibility of making our bag expandable and retractable. However, after talking to our peers and getting feedback from Nicolas Cinguino, we decided that establishing our own mechanism to create an expandable bag would be more retrograde than helpful. As such, we decided to focus on our original idea, which was that of simply having two straps with fasteners on either side of the shoe bag. After creating our alpha prototype based on our Fusion 360 sketch, we proceeded to establish our product specifications and even went to a fabric market to obtain possible prices for individual units of fabrics, zippers, and straps. However, we decided that it would be better to rely on suppliers instead of obtaining the different materials ourselves. After that, we went through a long process of contacting suppliers through both Taobao and Alibaba, as mentioned above. To our pleasant surprise, our final suppliers were incredibly disposed and reliable, responding promptly to our new requests and inquiries. After getting our first samples, we handed them out to several students, using their feedback for improvements in further iterations with the suppliers.
Our alpha prototype, which consisted of sewing an extra strap onto one side of this bag, which we bought on Taobao.
Final concept created in Fusion 360
A not so ideal sample we got from one supplier
First version of our Yidai sample
The final stage of this process pertained to its marketing. Given the simple nature of our product design, we focused a lot on our branding. After reflecting on our potential customers, specifically the NYU Shanghai community, we decided to give it a Chinese name while including its pinyin in the logo. We also created a website, whose QR code was included in our showcase poster, to obtain feedback from potential customers. Describing our partnership with a local factory also added to our credibility and to the appeal of the product, especially since it was produced based on our original design. Fortunately, most of the feedback we obtained was positive, and people showed interest in potentially buying our product if it were a possibility. Despite this, we noticed several limitations that still should be improved upon if the project were to be carried out on a larger scale. Firstly, a wider variety of sizes should be considered, as well as a more varied length of straps to contribute to the versatility of our product. Given the time limitations for our logo design, further improvements regarding its presentation could also be done. With more time, we would also consider different fabric options to make the bag more breathable.