Product development in a start-up... aka. good things take time
We launched a new bag this week and it took almost a year from the initial idea to production. Zara does it in 3-4 weeks, Shein in 1 week.
However, the comparison is like comparing apples to oranges.
Two of the most important reasons here:
1. Fast Fashion vs. Slow Fashion
3 out of 5 Fast Fashion garments end up in the trash after a year. The products are cheap, (often) of lower quality and very trendy -> very quickly "out". While Fast Fashion is therefore very 'time' oriented, the Slow Fashion approach focuses on quality.
I strongly believe that an important approach to sustainability is the longevity of the product - and with that extended use and reduced consumption. That's why we pay attention to extremely high-quality materials and craftsmanship in Italy. Also, the design is extremely timeless and the bag can be worn in different ways (3-in-1 bag ;)).
2. Copy Cat vs. White Label vs. own design
Copy Cat - existing designs are copied, especially known from fast fashion companies, that copy the design from smaller and luxury brands.
White Label - you choose a "ready" designed product and put your label on it. Every week I get at least one mail from a Chinese producer for bag suggestions.
Own design - It is the most cost and time intensive, as it usually takes several prototype iterations and tests.
In my personal opinion - to be successful as a brand in the premium sector, there is no way around an own design. As an elementary part of the product, it is part of the brand's DNA.
That's especially why it took us so long to finish the bag, because we wanted to live up to our standards of aesthetics, functionality and timelessness. There is SO much thought that goes into every single product. That's why I find it so mean when I spot copy cats from our products or other small labels.
So yes, our development took longer, but if I want to wear a bag for the next 10 years, I don't want to compromise on that. The HELVETIA is my new favorite accessory and my (VERY) belated birthday present.