Producing clothing locally has its drawbacks. The benefits, though, greatly outweigh them. Recently, I had yet another experience that brought to mind the convenience of local production. I know for a fact that, if Tabii Just clothing was being produced overseas, the end result would not have been so favorable.
I received an invitation to participate in a fashion week in the Caribbean. I decided to design a collection of warm-weather scarves inspired by the island in my signature vibrant prints. The aim was to host a series of pop-up shops around the island and have the scarves on sale. I designed the scarves to also double as nursing covers for breast-feeding mothers.
I was invited a mere two months before the event. I quickly sourced the fabric from the excess offerings of other lines, in keeping with Tabii Just’s zero waste ideals. I then started reaching out to trusted manufacturers to see who could make the goods at a reasonable price in such a short space of time. After speaking to a few that were costing the project at close to my projected retail price, I was a bit despondent. I know the market in the Caribbean enough to know what their comfort level is in terms of price points. I needed to keep the price down, get it done in a few weeks and get it done well. One of the factory owners sent an email quoting me the best price but saying that she was booked for the next 3 months. I sent her a picture of what the scarf would look like and tried to respectfully let her know it wasn’t as much labor as a full dress. After several emails back and forth, she asked me to come in and show her what I meant. I told her I would be there by the end of the day. I quickly sewed a mock-up of what I wanted and got on the train to her place.
After our meeting, I proposed this to her: I cut, you sew.
I told her I would do all the cutting, thus saving her a cutting table, time and labor on her part. She perked up. That she could do!
I picked up the scarves this past week and they are beautiful. AND they’re done way before schedule. If my production was overseas, the conversation would most likely have ended at “We’re booked for the next 3 months.”
Simply put: I remain grateful daily for the opportunities that are available in the New York Garment District.
More on Local Production
- Save Money and Lead Time by Manufacturing Locally
- Benefits of Sourcing & Manufacturing Your Collection Locally in America
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