The evolution of Pubbet #1 started back in October 2016, with many revisions to his size, colour and appearance since then. Let's take a look at his outfit today and I'll share some pics from the last year or so of updates.
Pubbet #1 version 1
The first Pubbet sample was made by a company in Wuhan and was based on my sketch shown in the gallery here.
The puppet quality was good but the clothing was made from very thin materials. The white t-shirt was almost see-through and the jacket had weak seams which means the bottom edge curled up over time.
This was the sample that you would have seen during the Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns and I took him all over Thailand visiting charities and running the campaigns. After that 4-6 weeks I noticed that the clothing started to look a little worse for wear...
Pubbet #1 Version 2
We were forced to find a new manufacturer for Pubbets after negotiations fell through with the Wuhan company. They had changed ownership and a paid factory inspection revealed that they weren't set up or even had patterns to make Pubbet #1.
Luckily I had a plan B in place and we quickly moved production to a factory in Shenzhen. They started on their version of Pubbet #1 and one of the main design briefs was to make the clothing better quality and more durable.
As you can see in the gallery here they made the yellow hoodie out of knitted fabric which was an unusual choice but it was definitely higher quality. The T shirt they made was also thicker and looked nice.
Pubbet #1 Version 3
At the 11th hour right before production was set to begin in Shenzhen the company they suddenly announced that the cost per Pubbet had increased by almost 40%! Needless to say I wasn't able to continue with the order, which was very frustrating because we'd already been invoiced and had sent payment...
I had a dilemma. Find another manufacturer in China or issue refunds and give up? If you know me and how passionate I am about this project then you'd know that option 2 was out of the question.
I like to think it was fate, but I was in Vietnam doing a visa run when I got the bad news re: the price hike for Pubbet #1. I decided to look into manufacturing options in Vietnam because I'd been reading that many companies had been moving their factories to Vietnam due to the lower costs and higher quality.
After some enquiries in a local Vietnam expat Facebook group I was introduced to a number of small workshop managers who make stuffed toys and clothing. 3 days later I decided on a small workshop in Hoi An and they got to work right away making Pubbet #1 version 3!
PLEASE NOTE: The colours in the Vietnam Pubbet clothing samples shown here are not final. They used scrap material to get the patterns and sizing right before ordering fabric in bulk for our order.
To say that I was impressed with their samples would be an understatement! The workshop didn't make toy clothes, they made miniature clothes that have all the detail and quality of human garments. The hoodie is now made from polar fleece and the T-shirt is thick and well made.
I casually asked if they could put together a sample of our first Pubbet outfit (sold separately) which is a suit, shirt and tie combo. Within a few days they had it ready and sent photos!
We are due to start production on Pubbet #1 puppets early in January 2019 along with the first Pubbet outfit, with 3 or 4 more options becoming available soon.