Since its inception in 1995, Icebreaker has led its competitors in the merino wool industry. With over 3,000 trading partners selling its wares in 43 countries, Icebreaker maintains production facilities around the world to keep them supplied. And the recent economic downturn has not stopped their growth. Bill Powell, production artist, says, “People will always buy quality, and we have a quality product.”
Icebreaker's mission is sustainability, and the company has won several gold, silver, and bronze awards from the Designers Institute of New Zealand for its innovations in packaging, as well as the design of its TouchLab stores.
Icebreaker had been using Vectorworks Architect software since 2006 intermittently. Bill Vincent, account manager at Megabits, the Vectorworks distributor for New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, met with the Icebreaker team in 2010 to address their wish list. “We gave Vectorworks a list of our issues and problems and they said ‘yes we can do this, that, and that’,” Powell recalls. “They ticked all the boxes—it was a very easy decision to make. We explored other 3D applications, but Vectorworks came out on top each time.”
Powell took a Vectorworks Essentials online training course to get started and then received a series of ten online lessons from Vectorworks trainer and archoncad owner Jonathan Pickup that focused on a live project--designing a TouchLab retail space--so that he could learn and build at the same time.
One of the most powerful things that Powell was able to introduce to his team was the program’s ability to integrate data. The software can replace the costing function of an accounting program by storing cost information in the actual drawing. Merchandise pricing information is linked to the drawing and automatically updates every time the drawing is changed. This capability eliminates the need to go back and forth between a drawing and an accounting program, saving time and ensuring accuracy.
“For us that is huge because we have 3,000 stores where our clothes are sold, and we have our fixtures and fittings in a great deal of them,” explains Powell. “When we send our product to a prospective retailer, we can immediately say we have these four options and if they come back and say we don’t want that particular feature we take it out and it’s immediately recalculated. It saves a ton of time. Traditionally we would go back and redraw it, which is extremely time consuming.”