PENCILS DOWN! This is an important step in the manufacturing timeline of your product. You’ve spent months and months nurturing and growing your idea into a product but at some point, for the sake of getting that product manufactured and to market, you must put your pencils down and move on to the next phase of getting the product to market. Imagine, your art has been completed and submitted, you’ve approved your press proofs and your preproduction sample arrives and someone on your team has an idea, a change they want to make to the artwork, just a small change, really no big deal – or is it?! The easy answer to this is yes, it is a big deal. This “small-no-big-deal change” means making changes to the artwork, new press proofs and a new pre-production sample for approval – this change just cost you a several weeks of time, which means your product is now shipping weeks later than planned. If you have a deadline for your product to arrive at a mass market retailer’s DC for a fall reset, this change may cause you to miss that deadline or it may mean very expensive air freight charges so you don’t miss the deadline. Yes, it is a big deal. Sometimes we are so close to our products, that we lose our objectivity on how a consumer will view the product on the shelf. So, make sure that change is a do or die change for the success of the product, if it’s not, let it go – PENCILS DOWN, move on to the next phase.