What Happened in 2021?
Back at the end of 2020, we released a list of our plans and goals for 2021. So how did we do?
Happy Holidays, we at DAME have been discussing our plans and goals for the next year and thought we would share with everybody what they are! pic.twitter.com/AAE0BlGjgz— DAME (@damekigurumi) December 24, 2020
Our plan was, and still is, to rebrand DAME in order to give our media and the platforms we use a fresh and more modern look, though as you can see this has yet to happen.
Towards the end of 2020, we finally settled on a new logo and even our own little mascot character, as seen in the above tweet, however since then we have not had the chance to apply any of the new branding to our website. This meant that we decided against updating other areas, such as our social media platforms and guides, whilst some newer media has seen the use of our new branding, like the image for our breast form dimensions, to cut down on the time it takes to update things in the future.
We hope to be able to finish the rebranding at some point during 2022, however there are a number of other projects that take priority over what is ultimately a cosmetic change. Namely, we wish to concentrate on the various products and mask features we have in the pipeline, though there are also several interesting website features in the works that we are eager to share when they are ready. So, the rebranding is taking a back seat for the time being, as we feel this will let us give it our full attention once our plates are a little less full.
We know this has been a topic of keen interest and whilst it is definitely a product we wish to offer, we want to ensure that the quality and customisation is on-par with our fabric skinsuits. This includes features such as getting the suit made to measure, pockets for breast forms, as well as a good range of colours to pick from. We did work with a manufacturer to do some test orders, however of the 5 suits we had made, 2 had major manufacturing issues which we feel is unacceptable for the price we paid, especially in the interest of maintaining the quality of products we offer.
We have plans to revisit the idea of stocking latex skinsuits in 2022, this time with a different manufacturer, and may have more information to share about this soon. Once arrangements are finalised, we will be more transparent about which manufacturer we are working with, as whilst this information was previously withheld to maintain some exclusivity, we feel displaying the name of the manufacturer publicly as we do for our fabric skinsuits will ultimately lead to fewer issues going forward.
More Generic Mask Styles
At the start of 2021, we only had the Anna Generic Mask on offer for people to buy, however our plan was always to launch more styles. When we made this goal, it was relating to the Ami Generic Mask that we launched at the end of March which, from what we can tell, has been well received by everyone.
Out second generic mask style, Ami, has just gone live with even more options than the Anna mask!https://t.co/M7Kd5N6sr9— DAME (@damekigurumi) March 31, 2021
Generic Closing Back Kit
This is one of the main features that we have been looking forward to offering everyone, so whilst the project has taken us far longer to work on than we expected due to various personal issues, we have made a lot of progress recently and are looking to release this feature for the Ami style at some point next week. There is no ETA on a version for the Anna style just yet, but we hope to get it done as soon as we can. All future mask styles will also be released alongside a compatible backplate.
Prototyping is going well for our detachable backplate project, work is currently being done on the second revision. We hope to have further updates to share with everyone soon. pic.twitter.com/0INWXCZG9k— DAME (@damekigurumi) January 19, 2022
The backplate will be a separate item that can be bought and attached to your mask, changing it from a 3/4 style mask to a fully enclosing mask. Safety was one of the main things we kept in mind when designing the backplate, meaning there is next to no chance of getting stuck in the mask, just in case that was a concern for anyone. However, we would still recommend having someone else around if you are trying the locking feature for the first time. Better to be safe than sorry after all.
Generic Masks Options
In addition to a new mask style, we planned to add more options to all the generic masks to make it easier for people to tailor the mask to suit what they want. We planned to add quite a lot of new options though, again due to personal issues, did not manage to release all feature we were hoping to. One of the easier changes we made, whilst not on our list of goals, was to increase the range of hair colours we offer to include all 20 of the new colours our wig supplier has added to their website over the past 3 years.
Our wig supplier has been working diligently to expand the range of colours they offer, adding 20 new colours to their palette. We have now updated our website accordingly, bringing the total up to 80 wig colours for you to choose from! pic.twitter.com/Vk3JwJdRDv— DAME (@damekigurumi) April 16, 2021
We wanted to add elf ears as an available option to make it possible for people to easily order elf characters from us, and this feature made its debut as one of the available options on the Ami Generic Mask when it launched. These ears are permanently attached to the mask before it is painted, meaning that we can use the same blank shells for all the masks, keeping with some of the original goals of the company and the generic mask range. We do plan to add elf ears to the Anna Generic Mask soon, however we would like to produce some example masks first before we make the option available. More to follow on that in our next blog post.
Custom Lashes and Iris Design
At the end of 2020, we did not have any custom options on the generic masks, however now we have added not only custom eyelashes and irises but also the option for custom makeup and fringe styles, giving people even more choice when they order their mask. To make things easier, I also worked on ensuring that the options on the website became visible or invisible based on what you have selected, also making sure you can see a preview of the reference image use for the custom options. This helps to ensure the options are easy to navigate and as clutter free as possible.
We have plans to work on glasses to fit onto our generic masks. All the glasses will sit on the face of the masks like normal and will not require any extra attachment methods to hold them in place, ensuring that they can be easily used on any mask of the correct style without any modifications being needed.
We did not get to where we wanted on this side of things, though we did have the chance to gain some valuable experiences making custom glasses for a small number of customers, which allowed us to validate our concept and production methods. Whilst we are still doing some work on the glasses in the background, our primary focus has shifted to other projects and features, which will be covered in an upcoming blog post, so we will be revisiting this at a later date.
One of our larger, more ambitious goals for 2021 was to add solid hair to our list of offerings, with the goal being to have a working example by the end of 2021 and to launch the option in early 2022. We do have a semi-custom commission for solid hair currently in the works that we started some time ago and though it has seen some delays, again due to personal issues, production has resumed and it is currently being worked on as I write this blog post. As it stands, the hair is currently being modelled and we have multiple different ideas on how the design can work, we hope to be able to move onto the physical side of this project soon and we are all very eager to see what the end result is like.
The end goal, if all things goes smoothly, is to try and offer a couple of different solid hair styles for generic masks in many different paint colours, but we will go into more details on this in other blog posts.
So, What Happened?
All in all, whilst we did not accomplish everything that we set out to do, we still accomplish a good number of the goals we set for ourselves. 2021 has been both a good and a bad year for us at DAME, as a company it was good where we had our best sales to date, though on a personal level we have had the largest number of issues since we started the company.
Since we launched the company up until the end of 2021, some of us also worked other normal jobs outside of running DAME, which not only affected our ability to focus on DAME related tasks, but also affected our mental health to varying degrees. Without singling out who had what happen and when, between the 3 of us we managed to breakdown due to stress/overwork at least 5 times, go through a very messy redundancy, move house, get a new job, left 2 jobs and unfortunately had a family death.
A lot happened in 2021, but we are now all in a much better situation than before, and we have taken the time to relax and recover, with the hope that going forward we can keep more on top of our own personal health. Now that all of us only work at DAME, we are hoping that this focus will go a long way in not only improving DAME as a company, but also our own personal lives. We have started to have weekly meetings to keep on top of progress and so that we can be more agile as a company, which will help us to fix issues before they become problems.
We are starting to work more as a group by splitting the workload between us, as well as learning new skills where possible to ensure we do not have 1 person under pressure as the only person who can do a task. This is most notable with mask work, as if needed we can divert some of the workload to someone else to give each other breaks and make sure that it does not fall to 1 person to do all of the work.
We managed to accomplish a lot of our goals and move the company in the direction we wanted, though we did run into some hurdles with a few goals. The start of the year went well but the middle of the year took its toll on us, and we ended up spending from the end of 2021 into the start of 2022 resting and recovering where possible, to ensure that we are now in as good a position as possible to move forward.
That's it for looking back for now. Hopefully some of our next blog posts will be about looking forward, covering our current goals but also the direction of the company as a whole.