The first order
Manufacturing and sourcing is a tricky business. A plethora of people who have attempted to source clothing themselves will vouch for this.
We have our own horror story we’d like to share with you. Back in 2014, we placed our first order of stringer vests from a manufacturer we found online. Everything seemed great at first, the samples we received were perfect (the old wonder sample). The fabric, fit and finish quality exceeded our expectations, communication was instant – almost too good to be true….
A mix of apprehension, excitement and fear was present as we waited patiently for the articulated lorry to park and begin unloading the 142 boxes. All seemed well, until we began opening the boxes to find ‘charcoal grey’ had, unbeknown to us, been replaced by ‘army green’.
After the tears of despair had dried we vouched to never order from a supplier we hadn’t visited, we promptly booked flights to China to start building real relationships with suppliers that we could trust. On a side note, Daniel managed to convince himself for the first three hours that in different lights, it was charcoal grey – silly human.
Fast forward to November 17′
China, an ever-fascinating mix of deeply ingrained tradition and break-neck growth. Prior to leaving for our fourth visit in a little over two years, we felt composed, prepared and stoic enough to deal with the constant frustrations the country throws at you. VPN installed (the block on Google is a pain when your emails run on Gmail), Yuan collected and soluble vitamin powder packed. What could go wrong?
21 hours and a combination of multiple trains, buses, taxis and planes, we made it.
After 3 hours of disrupted sleep due to the constant construction work outside, we headed down to the factory.
There is a distinctly unique thrill to physically watching products being created. The transformation of the fabric sheet as its passed between work stations is mesmerising. We proceeded to spend 5 days in the factory observing the women’s Opti-Fit Legging’s and Tank being created, each piece meticulously cut and stitched. In addition to production supervision, we had the chance to develop samples for a string of new products due to launch in 2018.
Our overarching goal has always been to leverage the best producers we can find to bring you the products required, with the speed and efficiency to match your growth.
We are incredibly proud to work with manufacturers who not only produce the products with elite workmanship, but who also share our values and culture. We can confidently make the assurance that every garment that arrives with your brand etched across the neck has been crafted with love and care.
No visit to China would be complete without the ceremonial KTV visit.
A unique mix between karaoke and a private drinking room for those who haven’t had the chance to experience it. After Daniel’s multiple renditions of Oasis’ greatest hits, I’m sure our hosts had had enough.
It is always excellent to see such a flat organisational structure at the factories we work with, far away from the authoritarian, bureaucratic style you’d imagine. What could be more levelling than belting an out of tune song in front of your co-workers?!
Until next time
For now it’s back to the UK and back to familiar foods (sigh of relief).
We’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and suggestions on products you’d like to see in 2018. Furthermore, if you have any unique requests we’d be more than happy to discuss them.
Take care and have a great Christmas!
Marc & Daniel