Today is Small Business Saturday. Last year, I predicted that by today, we'd have the online store up and running after a completed Kickstarter campaign. Only half of this is true (and we are so grateful to our Kickstarter backers!) but it's tough not being launched in time to sell our activewear on this day that's dedicated to small businesses like ours. (Though we do have some of our limited-edition duffel bags available at a discount!)
Frustrated with the seemingly endless back-and-forth between my suppliers, patternmaker, and manufacturer, I lamented on the phone recently with my patternmaker after he mentioned I hadn't noticed a change that had been made. I told him, "Maybe I should take a design class to try to understand this better."
He cut me off:
"There's no class that will teach you this, Amanda. It can only be learned over time."
I sighed. He was right. As tough as it is (and as easy as it is to see thousands upon thousands of brand new styles come out literally every day from companies that produce quickly and cheaply overseas), that's the truth about learning to manufacture clothing here in Massachusetts. It simply takes time (kind of like becoming a runner, am I right?).
There's fabric, soft elastic, thread, size tags, heat transfers, binding, and the right size bra cups to acquire. There's spec sheets, patterns, production markers, purchase orders, size runs, and send-outs. There is a process in place that, once disrupted for the smallest change, needs to be started all over again to ensure no mistakes are made during product construction.
I'm not telling you this to have a pity party, or to make excuses. We take full responsibility for the delays, and promise to learn from this experience. The reason I'm telling you this is because so few people know exactly what goes into the creation of the products we wear. So few people are even able to buy products made in America, with little availability of products that support their local artists and makers. For many of us who do produce locally, it just happens to be a slower process. It's a process that ensures the highest quality and fewest mistakes. I'm learning to be patient, and accept that just because something can't be done quickly, that doesn't mean it's not worth doing – in fact, it is sometimes the opposite: attention to detail is perhaps a good precedent to set. I look forward to showing you the fruits of this months-long effort, and we've already taken steps to ensure the next round of our gear is produced as efficiently as possible. And even doing that, we know that it will still be slower than what you could order online from Macy's or find at H&M.
Sometimes shopping small means shopping slow. Slow fashion, made in America, is something we are proud to be a part of. And we hope that next year we can offer you a Small Business Saturday discount – until then, join us in getting out there and supporting local small businesses today.
P.S. As of right now, we're anticipating all Kickstarter preorders will still ship before the end of the year. Thank you for your patience! We hope you have a wonderful start to the holiday season. If you didn't get a duffel or sticker pack during the Kickstarter campaign, we have a limited supply up for grabs right now at a steep discount!