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Badges? We don’t need no Stinkin’ Badges!

August 13, 2010

What a day Ace & I had on Wednesday!  While Spinner was on the beach sipping cocktails for 2 weeks – we’re inspecting the local sweat shops to see who will sew our garments. 

We had narrowed it down to 2 and our plan was to have each sew a sample of one of our dresses and then pick a winner.  You see, no one will tell you how much it will cost to do your production run until they know how long it takes to make one.  Seems sensible, albeit frustrating as I’ve been trying to put our financial models together. 

We were a bit nervous about the first meeting at the first factory – last week there was a heated exchange between one of them and a Smashing partner after a miscommunication.  The miscommunication was essentially caused because he doesn’t return phone calls since he gets 75 a days, he tells me that he doesn’t return any of them.  But we were not beat up and had a pretty decent meeting – we got a lot of information, they could make a sample next week but wouldn’t be able to start a production run until November.  So a maybe, but we were hoping for something better at our next stop.

As we began our schphel at factory #2 about wanting them to make a sample, we’re stopped with a comment – “Sample, we don’t make no samples!”.  Hmm, but how do we know we want to hire you for our production?  We would like to see your quality, prices, etc.?  No – You must give me production business and then I will make first one for you to approve and then off we go with the rest.  Again, we question how do we know we like what you will do with our design?  Her reply – “Our quality is good because I say so!”.  Now this statement sometimes works for moms, but never heard this used in a business situation.

After some back and forth not getting any closer to a sample – she wisks out racks of competitive product to have us look through to see her quality.  Hmm – I definately want to have her sign that non-disclosure agreement if we go this route!   

Trying another tact, we have this one fabric that we want to make sure works in a production setting before we order 700 more yards, we explain.  She seems to soften and then says OK – Let me have what you got and I’ll do it for you next week.  Great! 

As I unload all of the fabrics & notions, and make sure she can use the stretchy thread.  “Stretchy thread?” ” What’s that for? ” Argh….We spent months researching and sourcing stretchy thread, after having been convinced by several “experts” that this was essential.  So I’m showing her the seams where we put the stretcy thread, explaining to her that it doesn’t break when stretched – hence, stretchy thread.  She’s still looking at me baffled.  Having exhausted my stretchy thread expertise, I figure if I keep pointing at the seam and saying look here, that something would be obvious to her – nope! 

She then take our VERY expensive sample and pulls hard, breaking the seam and declares: “Stretchy Thread, We don’t need no Stinkin’ Stretchy Thread!”  OK – Not her exact words – But that is how it played in my mind as I’m standing there speechless, watching her rip our sample to demonstrate that even stretchy thread breaks!   

OK, ok, don’t use the stretchy thread I decare and she unhands our sample.  Phew , just a small rip.  But I cannot believe she did that.  But, in a way I hope she’s right, since stretchy thread does cost 25x more than regular thread! 

So stay tuned – we pick up our skirt samples at the end of next week.  Of course, if you knock on her door – she might just show you!  We better keep her address top secret.

Have a Smashing weekend.

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