Chapter 8: It's Done! But Not Really
So I waited on Ben Liberty.
Occasionally I’d email, but he was a bit of a Luddite and not a big fan of Email. (I know I loved him for that, too.)
I’d call. We’d chat. I found refreshing that he had no sense of urgency. I mean that sincerely. He was a craftsman who made no apologies for the time he took.
And remember back when I quoted Ben saying, “If Mrs. Herrera calls, I drop everything for her.”
Whelp, Mrs. Herrera called.
And then Ben was on vacation.
And then Ben threw out his back.
And then he told me, “This is a bit of a beast I’m having to put together.”
And then it was November and holidays were upon us.
The two and a half weeks he estimated turned into two and a half months.
Finally, the first weekend in December, he emailed me some pictures. “Success!” was all it said.
I opened the email and stared at the pictures.
And I looked lik this:
Crest-fallen, I stared at the my slick “diaper bag for stylish dads” looking like a blue camcorder bag from the early 90’s. It was boxy and bulky.
Hopefully the pictures morphed everything – the color, the boxiness, the…everything.
I called him first thing Monday morning and invited myself over.
The moment he opened the door, Ben said, “I know. I’m disappointed, too. It’s too boxy. It doesn’t look sexy. But I can tell you there’s one main problem and it’s easily solved: you picked the wrong material.”
He went on. “You need to choose something lighter. Like nylon.”
Ugh. I slapped my forehead. Remember Howard, the Italian importer? He said to me, “You’re gonna come back here asking for nylon. I’m telling you. It’s the future. And it’s the 80’s, again.”
And Howard’s one of those smug guys you just don’t want to prove right.
“But there’s more good news,” Ben continued. “I think your design really works. It really, really does. Now, I had to do a lot of problem-solving. It wasn’t easy to render a 3-D model out of your sketches. But I think I did it. And I think you designed something really good.”
“That’ll be forty-five hundred dollars.”
Not only had it taken ten times longer, but it also cost 3 times what he’d originally quoted.
I was part furious, part inspired, and mostly dejected. I had what was, in theory, a beautiful concept bag. But in reality, wasn’t beautiful, at all..
I strapped the downright embarrassing $4500 camcorder bag to a Citibike and rode home.