Fundraising through making luggage tags

The project has been completed and I'm not currently taking orders. However, please feel free to get in touch with me via Contact page for any requests 🙂

As I’m a member of the Australian Youth Band and will be on the band tour in Europe in July this year, I have had been thinking about how I can contribute to the fundraising efforts that many band members have been working very hard on. I was looking for something that has a low hurdle for people to buy in, and something that I can commit to and enjoy.

The idea of selling luggage tags came from observing what other band members might find useful having. Many of us (including myself) didn’t have instrument name tags, and since we’re all going to Europe, I thought there’s potential demand for it. That was in December last year.

Research + Evaluation

I started the process by researching how a typical luggage tag is made – materials, dimensions, form, etc. I researched the individual materials used and their prices so that I know how much it costs to make one luggage tag. I found that $1 can per luggage tag can cover the material & shipping costs.

I visited Spotlight & Daiso and other stores to source samples of materials to test out the thickness, durability, look & feel. Spotlight had leather-looking vinyl for upholstery, but it was too thin and had no backing. I found that purchasing materials online was the cheaper and time-saving way of sourcing items, so I surfed on Etsy and found the right faux leatherette to use. When I was back in Japan over the new year holiday, I visited a few different shops to observe and learn how commercially available tags are made. I’ve bought a bunch of double cap rivets at Tokyu Hands after I found out that they were very cheap compared to online products.

Prototyping / testing possibilities

Left: felt with leather-textured vinyl & plastic sheet, it was too thick and felt didn’t work well with PVC. Middle: with faux leatherette, folding in on edges warped the opening. Cornering was a challenge. Right: final design, triangular part added to hold the flap.

I’ve prototyped tags using material samples including stiff felt, vinyl, faux leatherette, plastic sheet and mount board. Trying out several different sewing techniques helped me figure out the most suitable and time-efficient manufacturing method. I had initially tested hand sewing, but I quickly realised that I needed a sewing machine for a neat and clean finish. It was an exciting investment for this project as well as for future projects.

Now – manufacturing!

Fast forward to now, I’ve produced a handful of luggage tags to be handed to my friends who submitted the orders and have been patiently waiting for me. While I wait for the fabric I ordered to arrive (it’s been a month since I ordered, but there’s not much I can do with the impacts of coronavirus), I made a ‘behind-of-the-scene’ video to show how I made the luggage tag.

Once I complete responding to the orders I currently have, I would be donating $117 to the band, which I think is a good start. I don’t have an end date for receiving orders, so I can keep it running as long as people are interested.

It’s quite rewarding that my design skills have been useful for fundraising. I’d appreciate it if you could support me by making an order! (May 2020 onwards – currently not taking orders)

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