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Articles on designing your own custom merch, growing your brand, and managing manufacturing as a small business.

1% Better Everyday by Joseph

1% Better Everyday, 1% Better Everyday, 1% Better Everyday!!!

A part of The/Studio culture is that we try to get 1% better everyday.  I didn’t come up with this philosophy.  Actually Tony Hseih from Zappos came up with it:


Here is the basic philosophy:

Philosophy Behind 1% Better Everyday

One thing I encourage you to do is to refer back to our Core Values document and specifically the challenge in there: make at least one improvement every week that makes Zappos better. Ideally, we would do this every single day. It sounds daunting, but remember improvements don’t have to be dramatic. Think about what it means to improve just 1% per day and build upon that every single day. Doing so has a dramatic effect and will make us 37x better, not 365% (3.65x) better at the end of the year. Wake up every day and ask yourself not only what is the 1% improvement I can change to make Zappos better, but also what is the 1% improvement I can change to make myself better personally and professionally – because we, Zappos, can’t grow unless we as individual people grow too.

Custom Manufacturing

I think this philosophy is truly important for custom manufacturing.  Literally everyday our customers are creating new products and projects.  We aren’t McDonalds or even a company like Zappos that is selling the same product everyday.  Every day in our business, the day is going to at least be a little bit different, because the orders will be at least a little bit different.  Therefore, making mistakes is basically an unavoidable part of our business.  However, the cool thing is that our customers will forgive us when we make mistakes.  They won’t forgive us if we don’t learn from our mistakes and make things better the next day.

The other awesome thing is that our competitors tend to make the same mistakes every day.  Every day we are learning from our mistakes and becoming 1% better everyday, we are just getting better and better than our competitors, to the point where already in the custom patches industry, we are far more advanced than our competitors.

Getting Camouflage Right

One of our large customer categories is military, police and airsoft.  All three of these groups appreciate the fact that we offer a special option called camouflage patches.  Recently there was an issue with a customer complaining that we didn’t get the right color for their camouflage patch.  We have this issue over and over.  I think the best thing to do is to first find a list of all the popular camouflage colors in the world and then the name of the camouflage color.  Then we can present this list to sales and see if the sales department has anything to add to this list.

Then production can look for suppliers of these patterns, and we can just keep the material in stock at the factory.  This will reduce everyone’s work because instead of having to find camouflage suppliers each time we have an order, we can go straight into production.  Of course we will always maintain our promise to our customers “You Imagine. We Create”, so if a customer wants a different color camouflage we can look for it for them, but for most customer’s our stock patterns should work just fine.


Let’s take them one step further, once we choose the camouflage colors, we can also choose thread colors and Pantone colors that match various camouflage colors.  This will make it easier for our military customers that choose patches that match the colors of their uniforms.




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