It's a special time: I'm saying farewell to the Fendor-Bendor. You might think that this is a sad thing. Well: it's not! Because the future looks very bright for the fender and I'm totally happy with it continuing in the same spirit with its new care takers. I'd like to go back to focussing on doing commissioned bike design engineering. I will leave the ins and outs vague for now, but you will know soon about who and how.
As homage to the Fendor-Bendor project and everything connected to it, I would like to show our production process with this photoset by Renée Miles.
It starts at the sketching table of one of our artists: Sophia den Breems.
Working with artists has been a very precious part of the Fendor thing. Before, I used to be the creative whom the "business people" had to work with, and now I had the chance to switch roles and work with the illustrators in the way that I think it works best as learned from my previous experience. In case of the Fendor-Bendor it was basically about letting the artist do what he or she likes best. This has worked out perfectly with first-time-rights in almost every single case.
Another beautiful thing was that I did not really have to search for artists. Often they contacted me or they were recommended by friends. This worked out naturally.
When the artwork is finalized, an order is sent to the next artist in row: our screen printer. The guys at Krijger Vormgave in Amsterdam-Noord are freaks in the best sense of the word. They go the extra mile to deliver a perfect result, and my impression is that they're always a little disappointed when graphics are quite simple to print.
Good communication is key:
Screen printing is magic. There goes the first run.
It gets interesting when printing multiple colors. In this production run, there was only one design with colors other than white: the Warsaw collab Fendor.
Since 2 years, the whole Fendor-Bendor production takes place in Amsterdam. Production has always been in The Netherlands, but I really wanted to try out if I could produce everything nearby. From my previous work as an in-house bicycle design engineer at Koga, I was familiar with production in Taiwan. I got used to working that way, with all of its up and down sides.
So I did the complete opposite with the Fendor-Bendor. Being able to be there right away when there's a challenge and getting to know my suppliers in person have been things I value a lot. I think this is perfect when producing on a relatively low scale. And I'm quite sure that for many entrepreneurs even larger scale production could be economically interesting. There's so much time to win and energy to be saved - both mental and physical.
After the sheets are printed, they're ready for the next step. The step in which, in one blow, the almost final product will be created. This process is called dye cutting.
This maker, Agia-Lith, is located literally around the corner from my office in Amsterdam-West. This allows me to pick up small quantities by bike. Agia is specialized in special techniques and sometimes long forgotten production methods in the graphic industry. So this Fendor, a heavy duty fender for bicycles and used in the roughest conditions, is basically produced by companies who mostly work with sensitive paper and cardboard.
And then, there's a Fendor-Bendor.
The magic of the Fendor-Bendor is that, out of a flat sheet something 3D is created. Simply by using folding lines and the characteristics of the plastic. Each time it was a special moment to pre-shape a fender with new graphics for the first time. It litterally brings the graphics into a new dimension. The third.
That's almost it. After cutting, the fenders are sent to the social enterprise down the street, where they're finalized with a velcro and its packaging. Then they're ready to fly all over the world to help people get stoked instead of soaked.
I will miss my dear Fendor-Bendor! And I'm sure it will do well in its new home, with some very skilled people taking care of it and continue with the same values and business ethics of which I've learned to care about so much. It's been a special project which has gotten me in touch with so many great people all over the world. Before starting this, I didn't really know how social the act of selling a physical product is. It's great to get to know you, and thank you for collaborating: dear customers, shop owners, artists, bike adventurers, (fixed gear) racers, distributors, suppliers, ambassadors, bicycle brands,....