The making of the hipi: Part 1: Vietnam

The making of the hipi: Part 1: Vietnam

So I have been wanting to do a little “behind the scenes” account of the making of the hipi sleek protective hip bag for some time. I’d written about the run-up to production such as sample making and manufacturer selection. In this post, I’ll bunch together everything that happened between that fateful flight to Vietnam and the eventual launch over a year later! Yes, the huge delay is hardly world-class capitalism but it’s my reality which I will relate to you later.

But yes, I left Vietnam with a sinking pit in my stomach. Of course I was excited that I was coming closer to executing what had been a pipe dream but I felt that I should really stay there to babysit production. From what I remember, I was told not to worry and to leave them to their own schedule. Also, I didn’t want to travel to Vietnam on my own and had dragged along my husband, so I had to essentially tend to him.

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Panels being sewn together… tralala!

But yes, I would do it differently next time, reasons for which I will go into later as well. I suppose, in the future, I would be brave enough to go on my own and then haul in the family to enjoy a bit of Vietnam tourism during a likely down time.

Thus I flew back to Germany and waited with bated breath for news of production completing. We kept in touch mainly by Whatsapp. For example, once they were ready to cut fabric, they checked with me on particular dimensions, especially in order to cut efficiently. Here is an image of how they arranged the cutting of fabric pieces to maximise efficiency. Even though Saigon Apparel is a relatively small family business, they did have a relatively sophisticated cutting machine and I was impressed by how measurements were relatively computerised, although I can’t say what software was used.

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Example of a pattern to be cut out.
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Application of snap buttons or press fasteners. This turned out to be rather tedious and finicky in the end as I had chosen black plastic buttons to be more subtle. They are however delicate and must go for metal ones in the future.
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Selection of colour for logo labelling.
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Delivery of heat-applied label transfers: Was really excited to see this though that was of course my ego talking!
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I think these were test applications of the heat transfer labels.

Along the way, they ran out of the silver-bamboo radiation fabric I provided them with, and I had to order more from a Chinese supplier.

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Hipis all ready to be packed and sent to their eager parent.

So yes, after officially commissioning production with Saigon Apparel in the su and ensuring pre-payment the summer of 2018, I finally received the goods in the winter of 2019, smack dab in the middle of the renovation of the house that we had decided to buy in 2018. Yes, crazy! But I will continue the second Munich part of the journey in a Part 2 post.

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