PRODUCTION – WHEN IT ALL STARTS COMING TO LIFE!
As you would know from previous blogs, I used to manufacture all of our clothes here at LUC, and some items which are on the website I still do make. However, when we decided to start using manufacturers I thought all of my production problems were gonna be solved…. Everything would be made quickly, perfectly and at a reasonable rate that we could afford. I dreamt of the day that I could pick up our finished items that I didn’t have to stress over, and everything would be all set to be sold. Weeeeeell no suprises that it kinda didn’t work that way!
We chose some manufacturers who were close to home and also seemed to have quite a good price point (not that we knew what to compare it to), we had a meeting with them and noticed a few other brand names that we recognized in their factory, so we assumed that they would be a good option.
The first mistake on our behalf was we didn’t ask for CLEAR quotes, which found us shocked when the invoices came through. Another learning curve for us in terms of production was again, the lead times. They have to make a sample of every style for you to approve before commencing with the bulk order, and this (suprisingly to me) was taking up to 3 weeks. I’m not gonna lie, the frustration was very real. I guess my expectations of having everything returned to us and ready for sale within about a month was unrealistic. The production of our Rebirth Collection took about 3 months, and a lot of chasing for garments when they weren’t ready when I was told they would be. It was quite a difficult and frustrating time. Another thing worth mentioning is that I had to cut every garment myself, I pretty quickly decided I didn’t want to be doing that again!
When it came to planning our newest range the Players Capsule, we knew we had to try a different manufacturer. I asked around on Facebook forums and also people I knew in the biz and found a few recommendations were leading me to one particular place. I set up a meeting and instantly felt like I’d made the right decision. They were helpful, professional, went by their word and I was stoked. They helped me source fabrics, they were quick and most importantly the product was so beautifully finished that I cried when I received everything back! The only downfall, they were expensive. We had to raise our retail price just to cover our labour costs, and in some items we are hardly covering that.
This has led us to really start re-thinking what it means to manufacture in New Zealand. We have always been proud to be NZ made and we absolutely love that we are supporting our local trade & businesses. Do consumers really care though? Are we just wasting and loosing money? It does make me sad to say this, but maybe we need to start looking offshore in the future. As it stands at the moment we cannot afford to keep manufacturing in NZ.
TO BE CONTINUED!...