There was a great article n the NY Times -ostensibly- about lean manufacturing in the furniture business. I qualified that because I don’t think it’s possible for sewn products people to fully integrate into the concept; I don’t agree that the inherent nature of our input processes permit it. You can’t smelt out a blouse front like you can a metal rod. Anyway, you might like to read about American Leather, A made-in-USA start-up who took on importers and beat them with products that cost three times as much. Virginia Postrel explains people will pay more for your product due to selection and turn-around; American Leather is fast; they guarantee 30 day delivery but still ship some orders in 2 to 3 weeks.
This is what most impresses me about American Leather
It also built relations with retailers by providing sales tools and training….”The retailers love them,” Mr. Epperson, the analyst, said. Each quarter, the company brings 50 to 70 store owners and retail salespeople to Dallas for two days of training called American Leather University, begun in 1999…”There are so many manufacturers that don’t think about partnering as far as marketing education, and they do,” said Connie Stevenson…
Remember you heard that from a feed-store owner too. I wonder if they need a leather pattern maker. I think this is exciting. All of us know you can make products in the US and still turn a profit but a lot of people don’t. Since all boats float in a rising tide maybe our tide is turning. And yes, I read that the Chinese have lowered prices in the face of lowered tariffs. I don’t see how that can affect niche products or quality producers with low turn-around times.
Speaking of niche markets and products, I took a tour through the DE baby sling business (I saw 3 book buyers on the list; made me feel good). Wow, who knew? It seems the DE companies producing baby slings are actively helping each other in very direct ways. They’ve created their own community. They have a discussion list, they swap and test each other’s products and they even have free instructions and free patterns so people can make their own baby slings rather than buying them. I think that is pretty cool. I’ve been saying forever, DEs have got to stick together and these businesses are doing it. Obviously they learned that paranoia is a business death kiss. I wonder if they’ll form an association, that’d be cool too.
I got out some old issues of _the designer’s network newsletter_ formally published by yours truly. I wasn’t surprised to find it dated, I was surprised to find it funny, rough and randy. I was scrappier than a rabid badger in those days. I guess the last few years have kicked a lot of life out of me. Funny how people keep asking about it, I should reprint it, I could use the money. Btw -to my former subscribers- my aunt Tina is still alive and well in El Paso (“lunchbox kids”). She’s 80 something, totally blind and still on the go.
I haven’t been able to read, I have a new project and the pattern of it keeps hijacking my screen. I hate those kinds of pop-ups. Maybe you know what I mean. A shape jumps right in front of you, starts contorting, morphing itself with darts, shaping, then folding. It’s kind of fun to watch sometimes but I can’t do anything while it’s happening (this is called “stimming”). I probably lost 4 hours to a pair of rectangles on Monday (here’s a partial sketch from my notes; sew A to A, B to B, C to C and shape the collar to suit). Seems like a real waste of time unless you know it’s an on-grain cut but bias-oriented dress with near 98% utilization and will fit great! (I’ll stick a link in here once I make it up; this text will be gone when I do). Sometimes noises hijack my screen. If somebody touches my pattern scissors, I know it. I can’t contentrate on anything til I disengage whoever has -unfortunately- touched my most prized possession. And you thought you were weird about your scissors. I love cutting tools in general and scissors in particular. I have many kinds of scissors with 27 pairs at last count.