The Design Process
Thinking back on the long journey that was our rug design process makes us swell with pride....and shudder at the memory of the mistakes, false starts, sleepless nights and huge frustrations. Yes, we could have chosen an 'off-the-shelf' design from a factory to save a huge amount of time and effort, but then we'd have missed out on the whole proud part.
It was an incredibly scary moment when we started sending out our very first rugs to our very first customers, as we had no idea what the response would be. But we are thanking our lucky stars (and also the persistent Ponyo Team of a year ago), as the reviews from customers have been incredible, making it all worthwhile!
The patterns were probably the easiest part for us to design, as we'd been dreaming of them for years! It was just a matter of getting them drawn up. The slightly harder aspect of this part was choosing the binding colour and the block colour part of the lower rug, to best compliment the patterns. We went though a few different choices but we're pretty happy with the ones we went for. The logos then flowed on from there as they all match the colours of the rug they're on, as the finishing touch.
The only pattern that got changed around last minute was the Unicorn Magic design. At the beginning it was very girly with a hot pink background, then a purple background! But looking at our collection as a whole, we already had a lot of pink, particularly in the Juicy Watermelon rug, and so we changed it to the lovely teal/mint colours you all know and love. This also makes it an option for more lots more people who don't necessarily like the ultra girly look!
The biggest challenge was designing the shape and fit of the rugs. We started off figuring out what our main pet peeves were of other rugs. As horse owners we've tried all types of rugs so we know what we like, and we know what we don't like! We wanted to avoid a mini skirt, ensure great freedom of movement, avoid rubbing, have a good neck / shoulder line, reduce slip and create a generous neck cover that didn't allow any leakage.
We actually started off using bed sheets....lucky our founder's mum had a whole airing cupboard full of old unwanted ones, because it took quite a few attempts to get it right. Not only that, but we had to make the same shaping for all the different sizes! There were many pins accidentally stuck under finger nails and sheets cut in the wrong places when we were a bit too sleepy to be wielding sharp objects, but we got there eventually!
In between every attempt, we of course had to try the bed sheet rugs on our unwilling hairy mannequins. Many, many times. We went through quite a few carrots as compensation. I mean, they also get to be super stylish now, too, so who's laughing now?
Once the shaping and sizes were all decided upon, our beautiful bedsheets were sent off to our factory to be made into sample rugs. And however much planning went into it, it didn't mean we had perfect samples coming back to us....some were too long at the knee....some were too long at the hind quarters, some neck covers were too long or the wrong shape....some neck cover closing attachments had too narrow a metal loop so the velcro couldn't be squeezed through....some had the neck attachment D-rings too far back or too far forward....some had big gaps at the chest...some were much too short at the hind quarters...some had surcingles that were too short to do up...I can't even tell you how many issues there were! The excitement of receiving the box in the post, ripping it open and then "....Oh".
This then lead to countless occasions having to rip apart otherwise amazing quality rugs, to remove the binding, re-cut into the right shape, and sew the binding back on. Sounds simple but I can assure you that it takes an age!
Finally, when it was all fixed and the design was perfect, we were eagerly awaiting our final final samples to arrive so we could hold our first ever product photoshoot. The photographer was booked. The venue and models were booked. And then the rugs finally arrived....in Australia! Yes. A 'slight' error on our factory's part. You couldn't make this stuff up, am I right? But alas, it's a true story!
So as you can see, our design process wasn't a straightforward one. It wasn't easy and at times it really wasn't fun. But in the end, we've created something we're really proud of and that makes it all worthwhile. No doubt we'll go through this all again for future products, but we wouldn't have it any other way. We're always open to suggestions from our customers as we plan on continuously and relentlessly improving our products for you, and make Ponyo Horswear the best it can be.