I am so happy to report that this has been a really positive trip to the factory. I am sitting here on my laptop, catching up on some last minute work before I head back to the factory for the afternoon. Life is rough, huh?! I wonder if I could just move my office to the beach ;) I feel like I have made a lot of head-way with the manufacturer, finally having the opportunity to speak to our team directly. I feel like everything comes down to communication and this trip has definitely accomplished that.
We have a new main contact, as of the past few months, with the factory and she has been such a breath of fresh air. I feel like we are on the same page and things are finally moving forward full-steam ahead. I have said all along that the manufacturing aspect of this business has been by-far the biggest challenge for us, but I finally feel like we are on the right path for growth and stability.
If you are considering or in the process of starting an apparel business, I would tell you to spend a lot of time on this part of the process. It truly is imperative to your success to have product, quality product, to provide to your customers. With all of the press and/or sales you can bring in, none of it really matters, if you don't have the products to deliver. It can be extremely intimidating getting into an old-school industry where you don't have much experience, but this is business and you need to ask those questions, whether you feel silly or not. Any good manufacturer that is willing to grow with you, will understand and better yet, even encourage and assist you through the process.
I really second guessed the decision to work with this factory after the challenging experience with delays and overpromises that we faced and overcame during our Spring 08 line, but at this point, I truly feel that I was led in the right direction. And although, I would never have chosen to go through that experience, I feel like God gives us speed bumps and detours to make us stronger. I can confidently say that I do feel much stronger and more capable, and it feels good!
This trip has really sparked my fire again and I am so excited about what is to come with the RuffleButts line. We have new fabrics and design ideas for Spring 09 and everything seems to be on track with our Spring 08 and Fall 08 deliveries. My customers are always my top priority and I am so glad to know that we will have products to deliver to them and great new designs to come! I have a ton of pictures and more to share on the factory trip, which I will try to post later tonight or first thing tomorrow. Have a great day, and thank you all for your support!!!