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Embrace, laugh and learn: Rethreaded’s product design fails

by | Oct 10, 2014

At Rethreaded, we’re big believers in the idea that someone’s story can be a powerful agent of change, healing, and hope for someone else.  We’re also big believers in the idea that to genuinely share your story, you have to share your failures openly and honestly.  Part of our story includes working with incredible people, who have helped us develop some incredible products like our Grace Scarf, which has become one of our favorite Rethreaded items.  Another part of our story includes failing pretty miserably with some product designs that were, let’s say, less than stellar.  In the spirit of open and honest sharing, here are some of those designs that never made it onto Rethreaded shelves.



First up is Kristin modeling a very….unique…shirt and shorts combo.  We’re not totally sure how or why this combo came into existence, but our guess is it started with good intentions.  However, things clearly got out of control and we ended up with this sort of cute, but mostly weird, 90’s tailgate party outfit, with a slight hint of unnecessary 80’s flare.  We think Kristin’s slightly confused and very concerned expression sums up this whole experience perfectly.

 Our, ahem, creativity and original thinking also shows up in our early accessory designs.  Here you can see Amandalee wearing something that, at the time, we believed could be called a scarf.  Looking back, we believe a more accurate description would be a disheveled spider-web thing you wear around your neck for no reason.  Or perhaps a really, really giant shredded t-shirt necklace that no one should ever wear.  Ever.  Either way, no one’s walking away happy from this one.

We didn’t just fail with clothing and accessories. Our missteps also carried over into the world of bags.   Here’s Emily showing off a real gem.  For this design, we challenged hundreds of years of tote bag design by deciding we didn’t need straps or handles.  We decided wrong.  However, there are some people who believe we can still market this as the world’s largest hand purse.

Not to be discouraged, we continued to work on our bag designs.  Amandalee is showcasing one of our pioneering efforts to transform a t-shirt into a bag.  It turns out that rolling up shirt sleeves, cutting a wider hole around the neckline, and sewing the shirt closed at the bottom doesn’t really produce a cute bag at all.  It actually just leaves you holding a giant sack that looks like an obnoxious tank top you bought on vacation.  Separately those are both fashion faux pas.  Blending them together is a whole new level of horrible.  We’d like to officially apologize to the city of Cancun for roping them into this disaster.

We love our story, and we hope you do too.
These are only a few of the items that flopped.  Our journey has been full of “interesting” choices, failures and mistakes.  At Rethreaded, we’ve decided to embrace those failures, and to learn from our mistakes.  When we do, we aren’t bogged down by shame or embarrassment, but instead we’re filled with joy as we look back on some of these ideas and laugh.  These failed products are just as much a part of our story as our successful products.  


Blog Credit: Mac Mitchell, 
Rethreaded Advocate

Follow him on social media:



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