We make a big deal at Arcido about taking our customers’ and feedback seriously - we do listen to what people say and try to take it into account when we design our bags. Our first product, The Arcido Bag, didn’t have any water bottle holders - we had a lot of messages from people asking us to include them. So for our follow up product Faroe, we added two. And thanks to a lot of positive feedback I think we made the right decision.
One of the great things about Kickstarter is that we can get feedback on our products before they even go into production. That means we can make changes to the product based on the feedback and comments we received during the campaign.
We also gave out some preview units to influencers and video blogger (see below). As a result we have had a bit of feedback on how to make the Akra backpack even better. We took the decision to make Akra open fully flat, and to make the laptop harness more accessible. With a few other minor alterations, I think we've got the best carry-on backpack going.
If you read my previous blog post you’ll know that I have been travelling around the world for 4 months with one of the Arcido Akra backpacks. It’s allowed me to use the bag really thoroughly, packing and unpacking it every few days, and carrying it many miles on my back. It gave me the chance to visit the manufacturers in Vietnam.
Unlike Felix, this is the first time I’ve been to the factory. We started making our bags in China but eventually found a great producer in Vietnam which has a reputation for high quality bags. Actually, we met our current manufacturer as a result of our first Kickstarter campaign.
The partner we chose takes quality very seriously. I asked the factory boss what he does to ensure such high levels of quality, and expected the answer to be something like ‘having good supervision’ or ‘ensuring high levels of training’. Actually what he told me surprised and impressed me. “What I do is actually to concentrate on the staff,” he explained. “The one thing I can do effectively is listen to my people and try to make their working environment better.”
He goes onto explain one example of that he installed a water-cooling system in the factory that cost tens of thousands of dollars, but makes the working environment a lot more pleasant for the workers. Perhaps more impressive the fact that theirs is the first bag-making business in the country to have a 5-day week. “All my competitors say we’re mad not to work six days, because we’re losing a whole day of production every week,” he tells me. “But actually, our working days are slightly longer and the overall loss is only about 3 hours per week.”
This approach isn’t so different from what a lot of businesses are trying in Scandinavia and elsewhere, and may become the norm in future. Working fewer days is better for staff morale, and probably doesn’t affect production output much overall. More broadly, the approach he has is to trust his staff to do their job effectively and give them the best environment to do that - which I can’t help thinking is pretty enlightened way of running a factory. The result is happy workers, great products and happy customers.
You may be wondering what all this has to do with receiving customer feedback and comments. The simple answer is that we take a similar approach to our product development as this enlightened manufacturer does; listening to the people who use our products and trusting what they have to say. In the factory, the boss listens to the people on the production line; we listen to our end-users and try to figure out what we can do to improve our products that way.
We also trust our manufacturers to come up with solutions to various design issues we have. For instance, when we had an issue with our laptop harness it was the team in the manufacturer’s design department that came up with the solution. By simply adding a little bit more foam around the ‘wings’ of the harness, we have made it much easier to replace your laptop after you’ve taken it out -- pretty essential if you want to make a quick exit from airport security.
With any luck we’ll continue to get great customer feedback in future to improve our products and come up with new ones.
Got questions or comments on our products? We would love to hear from you. Use our contact form or send us a message on Facebook messenger.