In the initial brainstorming phases of my company, the question arose: produce overseas or in the USA? For me it was a no brainer! If I was going to start a luxury handbag company it was going to be manufactured nowhere other than the amazing country we live in! I think we all have heard our fair share of horror story production runs gone wrong overseas but that wasn’t the only reason for me shying away from foreign production. Even though I knew it would be cheaper to produce in other countries the reason I chose to be “Made in the USA” was threefold: quality control, a close relationship with my manufacturer, and short lead times.
1. Quality Control
By having my handbags manufactured five blocks from my showroom in New York City, I am able to head to the factory whenever need be. If a new sample is finished I am able to see it the same day and make changes or if new hardware comes in and needs my approval, I can easily do that too.
I firmly know that each bag is going to be made the exact way I want it. They put time and effort into creating my collection and thoroughly inspect each bag before it leaves their factory for my warehouse. They ensure that everything is correct even down to the color of the thread in the stitching.
For comparison, a friend of mine created his collection overseas and received his product in three shipments. The first shipment was great, the second shipment was good, and the last shipment was garbage. He wasn’t able to monitor the quality of his product by being thousands of miles away and as the factory slacked, the project took a turn for the worse. This almost put him out of business because he wasn’t able to sell the final shipment, which in turn was a substantial financial loss.
2. A close working relationship with my manufacturer
If I am ever feeling unsure about something or have a question I know I can call up my manufacturer and talk to them. People do not understand what a pleasure it is to have a real person pick up. My manufacturer is as invested in my company as I am because they know there are so many more factories all over the world that I could choose to make my handbags, but I choose them. Moreover, I am able to bounce ideas off of them and they will give me their best advice possible based off of their experience.
I know two companies who found their manufacturers online in Mexico and China and after spending thousands of dollars on samples, all of a sudden they could not reach their point of contact and were never shipped their samples. Bottom line: It’s not worth the risk of working with someone you do not trust.
3. Short lead times
If I place a production order, I know it will be completed within 8 weeks. That’s something not all factories can say in the USA, however many can still produce their products in shorter lead times than they can overseas. Some companies working with China and Bangladesh place their order six months in advance and pray it will be completed and delivered on time.
In the very beginning of our company, the television show The Good Wife requested two handbags. At that point I only had samples so I called my manufacturer and they were able to make the bags in two days! If I had to wait months for the bags to be produced we would have missed out on this amazing opportunity.
For me, I can’t see myself producing overseas for these reasons. The relationship I have with my factory is priceless! #MadeinUSA