Product planning is kind of part science, part keeping your eyes open. It doesn’t always happen the same way… Sometimes, a new product need is so obvious, it’s hardly worth committing the idea to a formal brief.
Such was the case with our first product, the SSAM Short. We knew what we wanted it to be, how we wanted it to fit – we wanted it ourselves. Other times, you’ve got data and feedback that clearly tell you the product should be blue, slightly larger, $134.99, and available in 6 sizes. But other times, a new product idea can come from the ether… a synthesis of feedback, chance, inspiration, and accident. Our Trail Boxer development was just that.
Some events recently unfurled to send us to the sewing room to challenge some assumptions and try something different.
Event one: we were on a ride and a particular friend was expounding on the benefits of “jorts.” (another subject, entirely) Along the way he also mentioned that he was riding in some generic brand of normal underwear…. “So wait, you’re not wearing bike shorts under there?” Nope. His retort – it’s hot in there, and there are a lot of mountain bike rides when you’re not in the saddle that much anyway… so why not just do away with all that extra padding and insulation? Hmmm…
Event two: some informal polling revealed that going commando or sans-chamois was far more common that we had expected – and not always because proper equipment was forgotten… often our friends were opting for other undergarments out of preference!
Event three: a customer wrote to tell us he loved our ventilated base short but wanted a less substantial pad as the current one gave him… wait for it… “swamp butt.” If that doesn’t conjure a powerful (and motivating) image, I’m not sure what does. (Someone had to help this man!)
It just so happened we had created a pattern for ride-friendly briefs for a product development effort that we dropped. Utilizing that pattern and the same mesh we use for the ventilation panels on our Ventilated Base short, we constructed some bike-centric boxer-briefs to try out. 100% mesh for unnerving ventilation. Enough compression to keep things… in place… but constructed to keep seams away from contact points. We rode, we tested… and we were convinced.
A few weeks later, our first boxer briefs started coming off our pilot production line here in Petaluma, California, and hours later were being sold online.
Sometimes product development is effortless genius, other times a cruel series of mistakes, and sometimes it’s plain luck. Luck favors the prepared.
The Insider Series is a collection of unique perspectives from inside the Kitsbow brand that exemplifies what it’s like inside the mind of an obsessive. The Insider Series exemplifies what we’re about, why we do what we do, and the passion that drives us to the trail.
The post The Insider Series – The ‘Swamp’ Science of Developing Product appeared first on Kitsbow.
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