Possibly the most useful starting point for making anything, the "Quality Triangle is the holy grail all manufacturers try to beat - yet you can count the successes on one hand.

Each and every one of those successes has come from incredibly creative thinking, but more of that later. First, what is it?

The quality triangle is a way of conceptualising and balancing the three key choices in manufacturing: Time, Cost and Quality.

Changing any one of these three affects the other two. It's essential to keep this in mind whilst developing a new product.

For example, in broad terms, you can reduce the cost of a product by lowering its quality. Pretty straightforward - cheaper components and materials. But you can also reduce costs by reducing time... If it's quicker to make, it'll cost less.

So a label which can only be applied by hand will increase the cost of manufacturing, whereas a label that costs the same to product, but can we applied by machine will take less time to apply and therefore cost less.

However, that shouldn't be confused with something like the time for shipping a component. In this case, when you decrease the time (for example by using air-freight instead of sea) the cost will increase. Shorter manufacturing timescales can also increase cost if, for example, overtime is needed to meet a sudden deadline.

The key to using the quality triangle is to always consider two things;

  1. What effect changing any one of the three elements will have on the other two.
  2. What effect changing an element of your order will have on all three (for example, increasing the quantity will lower cost, but may increase time. Whereas lowering the quantity will increase cost, but may not have much of an impact on time).

Naturally, it's for the manufacturer to advise on what's technically possible alongside any cost and timescale implications. By bearing in mind the quality triangle and manufacturers guidance, developing a new product will be that much easier (you can request our bespoke services guide from [email protected]).

Often, the best way to control the balance between cost and quality is at the conceptual stage. If you look at a brand like LeLabo, it's been conceived to use the most cost-effective components possible:

  • A natural colour giftbox with one colour print
  • All product info on the giftbox is printed in one colour on a natural colour label.
  • Clear glass and all product info on a natural colour paper label with a one colour print.

LeLabo's 245g candle SRP is £52. Compare that with a Fornesetti's 300g candle...

At 300g it's 23% larger than LeLabo so you may expect a 23% higher SRP. But through distinctive design, a ceramic container with on-body printing, lid and complicated packaging, it justifies an SRP of £155. Nearly 3 times higher. That gives the brand 3 times more than LeLabo to spend on manufacturing each unit - which won't be needed with clever design. It also means that in real terms, you receive more cash for each transaction, for each square centimetre of warehouse storage it uses... etc.

We're lucky enough to have made for thousands of companies over the decased since our founding. We're always amazed at the never-ending flow of brilliant, creative designs - and more importantly, stunning fragrances our customers arrive at. Underlying all the successes are those who've used the Quality Triangle to scope the product at the conceptual stage.