MSNBC Gives Bag Designer “USA Made” Makeover at Unionwear

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The MSNBC show Your Business helps Yadabags find domestic manufacturer Unionwear to produce their bags more cost effectively than China.


JJ Ramberg, Host: We first met Janet a year ago, at a conference for entrepreneurs in Nashville.

Janet Goodman: My business is YadaBags. YadaBags is a purse that’s designed to carry medical equipment for people with chronic disease, so people with diabetes can put all the paraphernalia in it and actually find it.

Host: She came to us to ask a question on camera about getting funding for her business. Once she felt she got the design right she hired someone to do a small but costly production run to see if people would actually buy the bag. After getting some sales, she was optimistic and ready to produce more. But when she looked into manufacturing in China which she thought would be cheap she found that she would have to make a thousand bags to get the right price. That put her in a chicken or egg situation.

Janet Goodman: I am not willing to risk retirement, if I didn’t get orders and I have to put money in to get product that I know is going to sell I would do that in a minute.

Host: With an order for a thousand bags unlikely at this point, we set out to find a solution for her chicken or egg problem by doing what she thought was impossible, finding a domestic small batch manufacturer that was cost effective. And we found just the people to help us out. Janet, I want to introduce to you Matthew and Tonya.

In front of Unionwear’s Newark Factory

Janet Goodman: Hi Matthew, hi Tonya.

Host: They are the founders of Maker’s Row.

Matthew: So Maker’s Row is an online market place and we connect businesses, small businesses and big businesses with American manufacturers to produce products here in the United States.

Host: Maker’s Row did a little homework for us, within introduction to Mitch Cahn the President of Unionwear. They helped us surprise Janet and Fred with the tour of the Newark, New Jersey based factory where the order minimum is 300 pieces. A much easier pill to swallow than a thousand units being made overseas. Mitch.

Mitch Cahn: Hi nice to meet you.

Janet Goodman: Hi nice to meet you also Mitch, this is quite a place you know.

Host: Let’s see your bag. Tell us how much it cost to make this one.

Janet Goodman: For putting it together was $60 and not including material. It was labor only.

Host: Okay.

Janet Goodman: Right, okay.

Host: That’s your bag.

Mitch Cahn: Okay here is our bag. (Produces redesigned bag)

Janet Goodman: Oh very nice.

Host: And the total cost to put it together?

Mitch Cahn: Around $47 and the material should cost no more than about $7 or $8.

Janet Goodman: Total?

Mitch Cahn: Yes.

Janet Goodman: Everything?

Mitch Cahn: Yes.

Janet Goodman: Oh I could love him.

Host: Would you like to give him a hug?

Janet Goodman: Totally.

Host: Mitch explained that the approach to manufacturing in China were labor inexpensive is less efficient than the way they tackle a bag like Janet’s here in America.

Mitch Cahn: We took almost about 60 steps in manufacturing the bag and that’s how we are able to lower the cost.

Host: With all of these resources at hand we gave Janet a challenge. Pull this all together to re-launch YadaBags by November. Just in time for American diabetes month.

Host: So this was a big day.

Janet Goodman: Oh wow, really big. I think it’s really moving in the direction that I envisioned.

Host: What did you learn?

Janet Goodman: Oh wow, I think the biggest piece for me if feeling like I have some support in developing that and somebody to think with as opposed to trying to figure all this up, all of this stuff out myself which I can’t do because I don’t know a lot of it.

Host: But by the way you have done an amazing job. With no manufacturing experience, no design experience and you created a bag.

Janet Goodman: I did, right I got there.

Host: You didn’t yet create a business.

Janet Goodman: Well, I should have got there, but didn’t get there.

Host: Right you got a bag business.

Janet Goodman: I got a bag.