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Meet Eryn Gregory: Championing 3D Apparel Product Development

Eryn Gregory, founder of ergodesign inc., is the lead instructor of the MOTIF 3D Transformation: The Why, What & How online course.

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M Hi Eryn, tell us a bit about yourself! How did you become an expert in 3D apparel product development?

E My name is Eryn Gregory, and I’ve been involved in the Active/Outdoor Apparel industry for almost 30 years, first as a Designer of performance apparel for athletes and adventurers, and then as an executive, managing teams in Design, Fit, and all functions of an oversees sourcing and manufacturing operation. Along the journey, I learned best practices from experts around the world, and this led me to challenge conventional product processes and seek more sustainable and exciting ways to get product to the consumer. Utillizing virtual assets for those processes was a natural next step. 

3D software represents a huge leap forward, by answering the multi-faceted needs of apparel businesses, as they transform out-dated modes of building and selling apparel in a digital age. My introduction to 3D occured while managing the Fit Department at Columbia Sportswear. With over 1,500 styles per season, and a library of over 250 physical blocks, the team had to reach new levels of fit approval efficiencies in order to manage a massive workload, while optimizing resources for the company. And yet, we knew we could achieve more…by extending those efficiencies to our internal and external partners, and re-imagining the entire process from concept to consumer. That set us on the road to discover what 3D could do for our team and brand and begin the transformation. When I left Columbia Sportswear in late 2016, I was fortunate to be connected with like-minded companies around the world, who, in their own journey, were discovering the benefits but also the barriers, of implementing 3D. 

Helping other brands to navigate the process effectively keeps me engaged and eager for more.

M Why did you want to create the “3D Transformation” online course?

E Like many apparel professionals who work directly with product and processes, 3D offered a tantalizing ‘future vision’ for my work, but beyond the initial excitement, I felt challenged by communicating a product creation vision to others outside of the process; bringing the organisation along with me. Whether it was understanding the importance of a compelling ROI for senior management or mapping out realistic timelines and deliverables for the team, frequently I felt unprepared for the task at hand. My goal in creating the “3D Transformation” course was to help others avoid the same pitfalls and to share my learnings along the way, so that they could focus more of their energy on 3D implementation, secure in the knowledge that the roadmap was clear and the foundation was strong.

M What are the benefits of taking the course?

E The benefits of this course covers the spectrum from those who are just beginning to entertain the idea of 3D in their business to those who are already on the road to 3D integration, but who may need some strategic guidance in order to get the project across the finish line! Many times, companies rush into 3D without first delving into WHY they need it in the first place. The fear of falling behind the competition leads companies to make poor decisions; ones that do not reflect and support their core values and mission. This course stresses the importance of building a sustainable 3D business case and plan, in support of your company’s strategic goals. In the long run, a successful implementation of 3D relies on making smart decisions at every stage and recognizing the barriers early in order to avoid them. This course maps that journey for the learner and offers real-life insights into who, how, and what is necessary for transforming your brand through 3D.
M Is this course best suited for individuals or teams? For which type of organisation?

E This MOTIF course was designed for large and small companies alike. Your company may have embedded legacy processes that are not answering the needs of your consumer and business partners, or your small brand is just beginning to grow, and the lack of established processes are leading you to look for innovative ways of doing business. This course offers critical insights to help your company make the right decision about 3D. We approached the course content from the Brand perspective, as most initiatives are led by those closest to the consumer and market. But, we took special care in ensuring that all internal and external partners within the supply chain were represented in the training, ensuring a holistic approach to implementation. Whether you are a retailer or manufacturer, I believe you’ll find valuable insights in this one-of-a-kind course.

M How does this course differ from other courses? What is unique about it?

E Many podcasts, webinars, industry chatrooms, and expert forums celebrate 3D success stories in the apparel industry, but very few share the challenges and missteps along the way, which inevitably created delays. 3D technology is evolving incredibly fast, and that highlights the need for brands to get it right the first time! MOTIF has created a comprehensive, interactive, and compelling training that will give organisations and individuals the unique tools to make the right decisions for the right reasons at the right time. By delving into scenarios of real-life challenges that every brand faces, every learner is able to access lessons and tools applicable to their situation and support them on their 3D journey.

M How did you build the course? In what ways did you work with MOTIF?

E MOTIF assembled a diverse team for this training course. It was truly a global effort, with input from industry experts around the world_ Europe, Asia, and the US. Everyone was instrumental in creating this course. My role was really to just ‘tell my story’ in a way that could create a framework for educating others. From that early outline, ideas came from every member of the group. We had ambitious goals for the scope of this course, not wanting to omit or ‘gloss over’ any key learnings, so with the assistance of many international conference calls and lots of round-table editing, we accomplished a comprehensive and impactful course for the learner. It was an incredible experience to work with MOTIF and its partners; and I feel fortunate to have had this opportunity.

M What were the challenges you faced during the course building?

E The biggest challenge we faced in building the course was to make sure we reflected the state of the industry now and in the future. There are some universal truths and common painpoints that haven’t altered in the apparel industry for decades. We can all agree on that. But the pace of technological advances, in every facet of our lives, means that the course’s content needs to remain relevant in order to benefit organisations seeking solutions for the long term. For that reason, we endeavoured to identify some ‘future state’ 3D solutions for problems that most companies don’t even realize they have yet! The important message here is that ‘change is constant’ and recognizing that the road to WHY 3D is just the beginning.

M Could you share any advice to learners taking this course so they make the most of it?

E The key concepts I would like learners to take away from this course are the value of effective communication and looking at every challenge as a stepping stone to the next breakthrough. Information can be given and received very differently; making assumptions that your vision is understood in exactly the same way by others is often the biggest hurdle that projects encounter. As you take this course, identify where those disconnects exist in your own organisation, and after completing the course, take a good look at how you can better bridge those communication gaps so that your team’s 3D vision is shared by all. 3D is teaching all of us what is possible in the virtual environment and it’s evolving daily. Don’t think that it’s too late to effect meaningful change in your organisation. 3D can be a key asset if you’re implementing it for the right reasons. The transformation may seem daunting, but if you focus on the steps laid out in this training, you’ll be equipped to tackle those challenges, head on.

M A favorite or inspiring saying to leave us with?

E “If you want to go FAST, go alone. If you want to go FAR, go together”. –African Proverb

3D Transformation: The Why, What & How

Explore the business cases behind 3D and its best practices

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