Product Development

Hey Hey Hey! I was awarded a Patent this May! Yay! (Ok, Delanie...enough alliteration)

This may, I was named as the inventor, for the container & labeling process design. (I started this work in 2013, filed for patent in 2015 and the patent was granted this May.

Although I am no longer with Faber-Castell, I have contributed to the intellectual property history of the brand, being the first American and the first African American to be granted a patent for the brand (stadium cheer)

The design strategy was intentional in the protection of creative equity and building efficiencies into the manufacturing and production processes.

When you incorporate manufacturing and production understanding in your creative process you can impact operational process. Design is not only how something looks.

While not a utility patent, a design patent protects creative intellectual property efforts. The effort resulted in work which has protections for the next 15 years.

What did this new design accomplish? (It's all in how the creative brief was written ya'll)

• Eliminated costly manufacturing processes.
• Reduced inventory and waste at the factory level.
• Improved production time.
• Eliminated reliance on poor forecasting.
• Cost savings for compliant trilingual labeling. 
• Increased the overall life of the product with the new air-tight housing.
• Allowed the customer to actually see the pigment in the container. 
• Much cleaner, chic aesthetic.
• Allowed for formula coding on the housing.
• Pat Pending and Pat status protected(s) this product from knockoffs.

Sharpening Creative Leadership Skills

From my personal office library, books on leadership.

From my personal office library, books on leadership.

What personal investment do you make in leadership and creative growth? In effort to make sure I continue to build my skills, I enrolled in leadership coursework at University of Michigan via Coursera.

One of the final course exercises was to identify the "why" of what I do in my creative business role of creative leadership. It was a solid exercise and my classmates had good critique for my below submission:

Questions 1 - 3

1. As designers and developers, why do we do what we do?

2. What does success look like?

3. How must we act to ensure success?

My Answers:

A 1. We create products and product experiences for consumers so that they may experience the joys of visual creative activities. We wish to give them the foundation in tools, materials and knowledge in order to continually learn and grow their creative techniques.

A 2. Consumers who are continually building on their skill bases, and experiencing graduated degrees of art and creative knowledge. They are happy with their accomplishments and are confident in continuing their creative journey. Our company is credited with giving them this amazing experience.

A 3. We must continue to serve the customer’s need for new experiences and great products. We must continue to ask if our process is serving them well.

This exercise I'll definitely take with me in my next project challenge. 

Excerpt from: Loadstar Leadership: A Product Development and Designer's Notebook © 2018 Delanie West

At Age 11 I launched my First Toy & Craft Business - Kid Entrepreneur Selling Craft Kits in the early 80’s 

I like to say there are three categories in the craft business: Do it Yourself, Do it With Me and Do It For Me  In the early 80’s I was in the "Do it For Me" Business.

Id' say "architect" when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. The next best thing when you're 9 is assembling dollhouses. There weren’t many open-ended or even guided craft experiences for kids, nothing like the selections in the market today. Ma and Pa hobby shops sold dollhouses for girls, and model car and truck sets for boys, oh and latch hook kits, that was pretty much it. I couldn’t get enough of this DIY stuff, as many dollhouses, model car sets and latch hook kits as my mother would buy, I’d assemble. Mom told me she refused to allow me to be bored as a kid, I was always crafting, assembling and making.

I officially launched my first DIY Craft Company in 1985. I was CEO, Sales, Designer, Production, Quality Assurance, Shipping and Ad Agency. I kept my operating costs down.😂

"Story Book Cottage Dolls Houses by Dell" ( Even as a kid was branding and selling ) 
My tagline was “Great Gift for all Ages! Years of Enjoyment! What kid thinks about this kind of stuff??? Who was I?? 

"Fully assembled and furnished for 53.00 USD."  The lead time was two weeks. My factory was in my bedroom. I apparently controlled costs by limiting the choice of paint color. 😭 Customers could order a fully customized dollhouse, complete with flowers, a captains’ bed, 2  lounge chairs, coffee table, curio cabinets, table and 4 chairs. 

Storybook Cottage Dollhouse - Greenleaf Dollhouse

Storybook Cottage Dollhouse - Greenleaf Dollhouse

My Sell Sheet - Mom never throws anything away so I have the receipts.

My Sell Sheet - Mom never throws anything away so I have the receipts.

Back when # meant NUMBER! Can you imagine #hashtagging a phone number 😱

Back when # meant NUMBER! Can you imagine #hashtagging a phone number 😱

Dollhouses were (and still are) sold in flat pack boxes, the customer assembled the house and the furniture. This was the part I LOVED.  Someone from my church who knew of my hobby asked me to build one for their kid. I had my first customer. 🎯

I designed (typed) my own sell sheet, samples, pricing list and order form (with up-sell options). My customers could order the ultimate in luxury options, they could select house, trim and shingle paint color. For an additional charge - they could have carpet, curtains, wallpaper, an entire dollhouse family, and whatever "miscellaneous fixtures and furnishings" were. If you wanted to place an order, you filled out the form, called me on the house phone, and paid a deposit. My receipt was on the sell sheet. 

I loved miniatures, and almost 15 years later, I had the opportunity to think in miniature once again as designer and developer for Stickopotamus and later on, Jolee’s sticker line, the first three-dimensional sticker (which rose sticker price points from .99 upwards to 4.99). Thinking in miniature was THE perfect creative process prep for illustration for sticker design. My love of small tiny things was the impetus behind the endless options and line extensions for those enormously successful brands. The DIY in-a-box assembly aspect helped me in my role as VP for the Creativity for Kids brand. Greenleaf Dollhouse influenced many of the creative things loved and created as a product designer. Today you are able to purchase this exact Dollhouse Kit online from $33.00 to $200.00. 

With many years in the art, toy craft business, only this past week did I remember my early venture into the craft business, how could I ever forget that? 😏




Creative Keys x Delanie West x BeSuperCreative: How Baking & Starbucks influenced Mixed Media Product Development Ideas

Sharing some of my product legacies: These were both fun projects!

Texture Cards were inspired by both my standing in line at Starbucks viewing the beautiful artwork on the gift cards at the register and my love of baking and all of the clever texture & pastry brushes offered to add detail to cakes and sauces. With the growing popularity of artist textures for the mixed media consumer, I wanted to present an inexpensive solution for mixed media artists to manipulate their texture of choice. 

Texture Luxe, also an answer for a luxurious texture experience for the mixed media artist. It was developed in three colorways: Silver, Gold, and Pearlescent. 

Texture Luxe Gel Medium Whipped Spackle, Gelatos and Texture Cards
Silver Texture Luxe & Texture Cards
Texture Luxe and Texture Cards
Unprinted first samples for approval.

Creative Keys x Delanie West x BeSuperCreative: Vision Boards - Creative Direction - Product Development & Design

This was an interesting project. All the materials were included to create your custom vision board and help you visualize and your goals! Learn how to create vision boards that are both beautiful and inspirational #Visionboard with #design_memory_craft #Vision Board kit! (Instructional kit, fabric planning board, pens, #listing sheets and embellishments)