This posting has been amended (following the original below):
Heads up on this outfit “Neighborhoodies”. This company is a perfect example of people we love to hate -the prototypical DE company nobody wants to work with. If we do any work for a company like this, payment will be in advance and we’ll wait for the check to clear first. The biggest problem with a company like this is that they truly believe their own hype! In case you don’t know what is so offensive about them, here’s sample web site copy:
“The most brilliant yet simple fashion idea of this decade” -Fader Magazine
It seems there’s a whole generation of DEs who think fashion design means slapping words or an image on a t-shirt; it’s ludicrous. Worse, they expect people to applaud their “vision” and “artistic integrity”. I just can’t believe the press is similarly stupid; Fader’s editorial integrity is obviously compromised by free t-shirts. I suppose they could be useful if one needed a vanity-blurb.
“It’s not what you know, it’s who knew you first”
While it’s obviously true in their case, since when does marketing and slick self-promotion count more than knowledge? This is the mindset that revolves around product marketing as opposed to product integrity. Production in companies with this mindset are a nightmare defying description.
“… because there really aren’t any other companies doing what we do…”
These people must be living under rocks. All this company does is put whatever words you want on a t-shirt. I swear. Just what do they think Cafe Press has been up to all this time? There’s a jizillion companies doing this.
” We care about each millimeter of your custom-crafted garment”
I wish it were possible to show you one of these priceless “custom-crafted garment”s. One image shows the model picking her nose in a particularly offensive and disgusting way. It is no doubt “custom” but “crafted” and “garment” are still open to debate. Vionnet must be spinning in her grave.
“a quality line that involves seven people handling each order along the way”
In production management, there’s a concept known as muda which is Japanese for waste, meaning an unnecessary process that is not adding any value to the product. If you have seven people in the quality control process, you don’t have the first clue what you’re doing. The seven are pure muda. What’s most frightening is that they apparently need seven people in quality control which is scary since they only have a total of 30 employees.
“…a small company run by kids who have no business running a business”
boy, no kidding (hey, they said it first)
In spite of their pantomime of effort, the FAQ is not cute. It’s a trite construct typical of 20-somethings who pretend to be disaffected when they’re really just spoiled from camping out on mom’s couch. Example:
Q: What did Oscar Wilde have to say about Neighborhoodies?
A: “One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.”
While it’s interesting they use that quote to intimate their products are “works of art”, a more appropriate quote from Oscar Wilde could have been “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”
The only good thing I can say about them is they’re obviously providing jobs for themselves and others but there’s no word on where they get their shirt blanks. One can only hope they’re using shirts from a company with a lot of integrity –like American Apparel– but again, one should not make such brash assumptions.
Mike and Jess, you’ll both revel in the fact that their graphics are 50% off. And Josh, feel free to tear these guys a new one.
In a message date 4.08.05, I received a very charming letter from Danny de Zayas, Marketing Director of Neighborhoodies which reads in part:
“As you know, we are a young company constantly striving to improve everything facet of our operations, so we appreciate any feedback–complimentary or critical–that comes our way. I’d like to thank you for taking the time to review our product line and allowing others to participate in the process.”
“While I disagree with a lot of what you had to say, I feel that many of your opinions and impressions logically stem from the fact that you are peering in from outside our core demographic. However, I would like to correct a few of the more glaring inaccuracies in your post.”
“For the record, we did not prove Fader magazine with any free items; this is not a practice of ours–it’s not our style. It’s the same reason we don’t run “advertorials” in magazines; it’s deceptive, and quite frankly, it isn’t something we need to do. Fader contacted us because they wanted to feature us in their publication, and we sent them a sample product which they photographed and then returned.”
“To assert that having seven people handle one product is somehow inherently inefficient is, in my opinion, also a misguided statement, as the past century of production-line manufacturing can attest. Having people perform specific parts of order fulfillment has proven to be a very efficient use of our manpower, and I’m proud to say that by this time next week we will have realized an internal goal of one week turnaround for all orders–any impressive feat considering that every single order is hand-made and unique… And you can rest easy: all of our t-shirts and most of our sweatshirts are indeed from American Apparel and our in-house production is about the furthest thing from a sweatshop you can imagine.”
So you have it there. My assumption that Fader’s glowing editorial was due to free t-shirts was wrong. Similarly, I’m gratified to know Neighborhoodies is using the products from _American Apparel_, a US based innovative humanitarian manufacturer who is well known and respected. Lastly, my assertion that 7 quality control people is wasteful, is misguided because Neighborhoodies has set new goals to complete the processing of a shirt in just one week…one week. One Week. So, I was wrong about that too.