Customization

Leader Bag’s Domestic Manufacturing Challenges

| Posted by unionwear

How did Leader Bag Co come to be?

Leader Bag Co was born from a love of beautiful design, and the desire to create a family-centered product that is truly missing from the marketplace.

When Meghan Nesher was pregnant with her son, Julien, she went shopping for a diaper bag that would work for both she and her husband. Coming up empty-handed, she opted for a Brooklyn Industries messenger bag; great for function, not so much for fashion. After a few months of use, she switched to the Fjällräven backpack; stylish and more comfortable, but not super functional. It was around this time that Meghan and her sister-in-law Liz Elliott, also a new mom, had their lightbulb moment: Why isn’t there a diaper bag that is beautifully crafted, simply designed and practical for both mom and dad?

Leader Bag Co :: Baby Business

Meghan, Liz and third sister-in-law Jess Nesher formed and funded Leader Bag Co as a family business in 2013. Since inception, we’ve enlisted the help of technical designer and manufacturing guru Jay O’Neill to bring our idea to life, and the uber-talented Lotta Nieminen to create our brand aesthetic.

Your brand is still only a year old, but what’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

As a team of four, we all bring different strengths to the table, but at the same time, we all have strong opinions about pretty much every aspect of the business. We value playing to each other’s unique talents, but it’s not always easy with lots of cooks in the kitchen. We are constantly perfecting our team’s balance.

Manufacturing in the US – we were totally warned over and over that this was going to be difficult. All of us are perfectionists, and we’re all demanding, and I don’t think Unionwear knew we’d be so high-maintenance. Lucky for us, they have tons of pride in their work and are always striving to exceed expectations – which they did and continue to do.

Best thing you’ve learned?

Mistakes are opportunities, either to learn from or to create something new.

Your signature diaper backpack, the Julien, is a slick answer to a universal need; what kind of R&D did you pursue in the early stages?

Since we were all new moms, we did a lot of research for ourselves in the diaper bag market. We spent time looking at bags we didn’t like – even bought a few to compare. At the same time, we collected non-diaper bags we liked too, mostly based on modern aesthetics and strong craftsmanship.

We made lists of all the gear we stuffed into our baby bags and measured everything to make sure we designed the right size storage. We talked through where we would take the bag and what features we might need; for example, a hook to hang it in a bathroom stall while you change baby at a restaurant.

We collected tons of images on shared Pinterest boards – including inspiration for the brand, the bag and the lifestyle we wanted to promote.

Jay led us through multiple rounds of bag sketches – all different flavors and styles – until we settled on one we liked. He took the sketches to technical drawings, collected materials and had samples made. We went through at least three rounds of samples with Unionwear before we got our pack just right.

We put our samples on everyone’s backs, asked for feedback and took photos. We were careful to remove any design elements that seemed “girlie”, and made sure the shoulder straps were long enough to fit a really tall dad.

What features make the Julien awesome for carrying baby essentials?

The fact that it’s a backpack is key. We are all about leaving both hands free for tending to baby and being fully involved in family activities. Style-wise, the backpack is better for dad too – he’ll feel much more comfortable than if he were asked to carry a one-shoulder bag.

Ultimately, the Julien is awesome because of its storage and organization. We loved the idea of doing a drop-in “pouch” that can house some basics like a change mat, a few diapers, diaper cream and wipes. This way, you can just reach in and grab it for a quick change while you’re out.

We also made sure there were tons of compartments for all the essential gear. Outside, there are four decent-sized pockets for easy access, plus a clasp for hanging your keys. We also added stroller straps and hooks so you can easily hang it on your stroller when you don’t want to carry. Inside, there are four baby bottle (or water bottle) pockets, a sleeve for the change kit (or even a computer or iPad), a zipper pocket, and a few other larger pocket compartments. It’s wipe-clean and very utilitarian, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it from the outside.

When you’re running on no sleep and wearing the parental uniform of tracksuit pants and an old t-shirt, why is a luxe bag like the Julien important?

Being a parent isn’t always an elegant, effortless job. Especially when you’re a new parent running on empty and feeling overwhelmed.

The Julien immediately elevates your look: leather and canvas with rose gold details, all mixed with fine Made in the USA craftsmanship. And it’s effortless – it looks great with everything, is comfortable and keeps you organized so you can focus on what’s important: being present for your kid. There is absolutely nothing more chic.

Who else is making rad baby-related carry? Who inspires you to be better?

No one, in our opinion, is making a great diaper bag we’d want to carry! We do like Fawn and Cub’s change mat, and Ida Ising’s change mat/bag design.

Accessory and clothing companies outside of the diaper bag industry inspire us to be better, and companies that are producing their goods in the USA: Clare Vivier, Emerson Fry, Mansur Gavriel, Marine Layer, imogene + willie, etc.

What’s next for Leader?

There is a ton of room for us in the baby market right now. We see a lack of simple but beautiful and useful design, especially in kid accessories – which creates a whole lot of space for Leader to play.

What do you personally carry daily? And why?

Our Leader bags, of course!

Making Made in USA Easier: New Tools for Designers To Find Contractors

| Posted by unionwear

When they came face-to-face with an angry broker, whose business was threatened by their new website Maker’s Row, Matthew Burnett and Tanya Menendez knew they were on to something.

“He came to our office and threatened to shut down the site because that was his livelihood,” said Burnett in the Brooklyn, New York office of Maker’s Row, the site they believe is making easier and cheaper for entrepreneurs get their products made in the U.S.A

“It was a telling sign of the disruption that was going on in the industry,” adds Menendez. She recalled the incident had left her looking both ways, when leaving the office. “This is like a big guy, who comes in … huge presence. We felt really uncomfortable, but it was also really enlightening for us.”

Despite the decline in U.S. manufacturing, a “Made in the USA” label is still desirable in global markets.

It brings a certain assurance that products are made according to high production standards, using safe materials. Over the years, that label has also become synonymous with high labor costs. But the cost of foreign labor is on the rise, and it’s beginning to level the playing field for U.S. manufacturers.

Finding a domestic manufacturer, however, can be time consuming. Most brands don’t like to share manufacturing information because they don’t want to help their competition. “It was almost taboo to ask,” Burnett said.

Supporting local manufacturers

The timing is certainly good for Maker’s Row.

There’s a lot of confidence among U.S. manufacturers these days. A recent survey by the Boston Consulting Group revealed that 16 percent of the 252 U.S. manufacturers who responded are re-shoring jobs from China, a 20 percent jump from a year ago, and more than double the number that were doing so back in February 2012.

Back then, Burnett and Menendez were just beginning to wonder how they could find enough manufacturers to make Maker’s Row a success. It was a tough sell at first, but they began to list manufacturers on the site for free, which turned out to be a smart move because some of them saw almost immediate results.

“People started to see leads before Maker’s Row asked them to sign up for their service,” according to Mitch Cahn, who runs Unionwear, a maker of baseball caps and bags in Newark, New Jersey. With leads in hand, it became much easier for Burnett and Menendez to sign up other manufacturers.

“We get several inquiries a day from Maker’s Row,” says Cahn, who bought a former baseball cap factory in nearby Jersey City back in 1992, when he says there were about 400 baseball cap manufacturers in the United States. These days, he says there are only about four but he believes the playing field for domestic manufacturers has leveled because the cost of labor overseas is climbing dramatically, making “Made in USA” more of a reality, than a lofty ambition. “There had been interest before but it was really a lot of talk,” he says, “Now that the price differential is so much smaller people are saying, ‘Hmmm, I may spend another 20 percent to get a product ‘Made in the USA.’ Five years ago, it might have been another 100 percent.”

Local governments have gotten on board to help Maker’s Row, hoping to help their local manufacturers at the same time. They’ve had a large number of signups in Los Angeles and Chicago too. In about two years they’ve signed up approximately 5,000 manufacturers. A good thing, because there are also about 50,000 brands using the site to look for help. Subscriptions to Maker’s Row begin at $25 a month.

Shifting manufacturing

It’s a similar story at Genil Accessories in Brooklyn, where Gina Bihm and her staff make bow ties and neckties for the likes of Vineyard Vines and Marc Jacobs. Despite her big name clients, Bihm says she’ll also tries to help the little guy create samples, if they can find her, “I don’t turn away no one. No one,” she says.

Bihm said the recession which began in 2007 nearly put her out of business. At the time she was shipping out about 20,000 pieces per year. In 2008 and 2009 work was hard to come by. Her entire staff, once numbering about 20 full-timers, was cut to zero. She needed a loan to pay the rent on her work space. She still has only 11 full-time employees but she says business is better than ever. With bow ties back in vogue, they’re making about 4,000 units per week now.. and that was before she found Maker’s Row. They’re practically around the corner from each other but Bihm only signed onto Maker’s Row during the summer. “The phone calls doubled. I picked up about seven new customers and they all came from Maker’s Row,” Bihm said.

Those are the same reasons that Burnett believes Maker’s Row has seen some foreign businesses come on line looking for U.S. manufacturing. “we’re looking to change the rule of thumb,” Burnett said, “we’re changing that mindset by showing people where they can produce and manufacture locally because this is a global shift right now.”

MSNBC Gives Bag Designer “USA Made” Makeover at Unionwear

| Posted by unionwear

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

TRANSCRIPT

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.

 

Unionwear’s Featured TedX Talk: Made Right Here

| Posted by unionwear

Unionwear President Mitch Cahn’s 15 Minute Ted Talk–Made Right Here: How the international worker rights and buy local movements are creating a surge in U.S. urban manufacturing opportunities.  The talk discusses why the premium for domestic goods are shrinking, and the five types of business to business to market segments with strong convictions about buying USA Made.

TRANSCRIPT

Manufacturing is booming in Newark and other American cities after decades of decline.

Newark, NJ has over 400 active factories within the city limits that employ over 10,000 people.  Four years ago nobody knew this, now a growing number of people know this.  How did this happen in the middle of a recession?  Well, as a manufacturer, I can’t say it was anything that our industry did.  I am pretty sure it wasn’t anything that our government did.  And I don’t think it was a wave of made in USA consumerism that pushed us over the edge.

What happened was over the last 20 years, goods have been made overseas in the third world very, very cheaply on the backs of exploitation of labor and exploitation of the environment.  The growth in manufacturing now is because both “overseas” and “exploitation” have become a lot more expensive and a lot less attractive.

Activists did this–labor activists did this, unions, worker rights coalitions and environmental and buy local activists made this happen.  They raised awareness, they localized supply chains and they helped to impose regulations creatively.  And as a result we’ve seen what’s going on in Newark right now.  “Made in USA” has relatively become a bargain.  Cities like Newark are reaping the benefits because we have an infrastructure in place still from the 70’s and before that, we have a lot of concentrated labor and we are in the center of a transit hub.  We have the ability to move people and goods around very quickly.  We are within a day’s drive for something like a third of the population.

What I want to do now is talk about my experiences running Unionwear, which is a manufacturer of baseball hats, bags like backpacks and garment bags, safety vessel scrubs.  We manufacture everything from scratch right here in North Newark.  We have about a 110 union workers, we are 11 miles from Midtown Manhattan.  We have been in business for 21 years.  In almost every product category of ours, we might be the most expensive place to make that product in the entire world.  So how is that over the last four or five years we’ve grown by about 25% per year after about a decade of being flat.

Well we’ve narrowed it down to five areas.  One is market forces, specifically understanding the market forces that are going on and being able to educate our clients about it.  How is Obama care going to affect domestic manufacturing?  How is immigration policy going to affect in manufacturing.  What if China decides to float their currency against the United States?  Is that going to make United States manufactured goods less expensive?  And more appealing to the rest of the world?  Yes.

We stay on top of these things and we make sure clients know about them because changes in the economy happen right under people’s noses and they don’t even see it.

Market selection is a big one.  There are markets that want to buy local.  There are markets that want to buy made in USA.  It’s more expensive to buy those things but they are willing to pay a premium.  Who are those people and how do we reach them?

Product selection is an area that goes along with market selection.  Now someone might not be in a market that wants to buy made in USA but they might want to be a product that might be less expensive to manufacture in United States, so what are those products?

Re-engineering is important because it’s very different to manufacture a product where there is no regulation and people are paid ten cents an hour versus where it is manufactured in an area where there is a lot of regulation and people make 10 to 15 dollars an hour.  You can bridge that gap through smart re-engineering.

Finally we take advantage of our geographic advantages.  We play up how close we are to New York City and Newark airport and port Newark and millions of skilled laborers.

So I am declaring right now the era of cheap imports is over. It’s dead.

So what’s happened as the price of imports increases is the premium paid for made in USA product shrinks.  As that premium shrinks it becomes less expensive for people to have sourcing standards or enforce standards that they already had.  So what happens and why the market is grown is there are a lot more people who are willing to pay 25% more for a product that’s made green, made in USA, made union, then they were in 2008 when it might have been 200% or 300% more expensive for that same thing.  And it is that a big of a difference.

So one reason for this is labor supply and demand.  China has had decades of a one child policy, and as a result there are a lot fewer people entering their workforce now and the people who are entering the workforce, they don’t want to make the iPhone, they want to work for Apple.  So there are not enough people working in these factories–when that happens you have to pay people more to get them to work in manufacturing.

As a result of people being paid more there is now a consumer class in China and in India and in Pakistan.  That’s driving up the costs of goods, its driving up the costs of gasoline, petroleum which is making goods more expensive to ship to United States.

I put a slide up of the iPhone factory because that’s an example of what has happened because of worker rights activists.  When all of the working violations at the Foxconn factory where over a million people are employed were discovered, labor activists came in and negotiated a 40% wage increase and they lowered the amount of hours they can work from a 100 hours a week to 60 hours a week.  They came in a year later and negotiated another 40% increase.  You imagine what it does when a million people make that much more money.  And have to work that fewer hours.  They have to scramble the find workers.  That’s why prices have been of imports have been going up so much.

And as a result of social media, the rest of the world’s workers are finding out what’s going on and realizing they don’t have to work this way.  So you are seeing the same sort of riots, protests, strikes in Bangladesh and Pakistan.  This has led to wage inflation of 25% to 30% a year.  The response overseas has been to cut corners– poison in pet food, poison in dog food, exploding tires, broken plane parts, that’s led to more regulation which has put more expense on products that come in from overseas.

Companies have moved their manufacturing to places that they thought were cheaper than China like Bangladesh.  But they didn’t have the infrastructure and ended up being more expensive.  You ended up with month after month, factory fires and factory collapses which led to more regulation and more expense.

So who is buying made in USA, now that their premium has shrunk?

There are five different ways that people can say “buy local” and these are the markets that we try to appeal to.  Buy American, people buy American for economic reasons, or if they have standards like the US government.  Or if they want consistent messaging, like General Motors who makes goods domestically and they want to buy American-made goods because they are selling made American.

People want to buy union and support their fellow union workers.

People want to buy fair labor, they don’t want to buy goods that were made in a sweatshop.

People want to buy eco-friendly and people want to buy local.

So one of the of the areas that wants to buy American is the US government which makes up about a quarter of our GDP.  This is something that is relatively new, this enforcement of the government buying American made goods.

Another area is trade justice and if you say the labels fair trade and sweat free and living wage on goods, those are all ways of saying that these goods were made by workers who are not exploited.

An example of someone who used to not buy products with these labels in is now is NPR.  They would give away tote bags for memberships at the same time they were doing stories about sweatshops in China but the tote bags were made in those sweatshops because they get them for 25 cents a piece.  Now it’s costing them $2.50 a piece to import.  They are going to spring for $3 a piece and buy something that is made in USA and it basically cost less for them to put their money where their mouth is.

The link between fair labor and local and eco-friendly is this:  The closer production is to consumption the less acceptable worker exploitation becomes.  You don’t want to buy a shirt from someone around the corner who you know as working for below minimum wage and maybe working a 100 hours a week, but its okay if it is around the world.

Also the more likely that goods are produced using your labor and environmental standards.  The factories are operating under the same laws that you benefit from.

Another area is product selection.  So two examples of products that are less expensive to make domestically would be products that are big and bulky to ship and don’t have a lot of labor like this gigantic case right here that we make.  That didn’t need to be made in USA but it is.

Or bags using expensive materials– this bag has $40 in leather in it but only maybe $8 in labor.  In China maybe you can get it made for $4, so at the end of the day its $48 verses $44.  By the time you ship it here and have the duties on it, its less expensive to make it in the United States.  That’s why you see a lot of goods with expensive materials made in countries that are more expensive than United States like Italy.

So another area is small batch customization.  There is a big overhead to making products overseas, you have to translate, you have to make tech packs.  It is expensive to ship sampling back and forth, there are time zone considerations, so as result nobody wants to make 500 or a 1000 of something in China or Bangladesh.  It’s a lot less expensive to make it here.

And finally re-engineering is the area where we are able to close the gap through product design.  When we get goods a lot of times now people are reshoring goods–they send goods to us and it was a bag that they had made in China, they want to get it made in United States and I’ll say if you want it made exactly this way, its going to cost you $80 because there is no thought given to engineering the products because labor was practically free over there.  We can redesign it so your clients won’t notice the difference that will be just as nice and we can do it for $15.

The other area is Lean Manufacturing and that is the concept where you can take people in a high wage environment and train them to use all of their time to just add value to the product and not waste time doing things that are not that the client doesn’t pay for, like looking for a pair of scissors or waiting for manager or walking from machine to machine.

So finally, Newark is a place that is perfect for manufacturing for a number of different reasons.  We’ve got a high concentration of skilled labor, we’ve got a well developed infrastructure of manufacturing.  There are lot of other manufactures here which means that there is a market for mechanics and trucks and things where that might not exist in an economy where there is not a lot of manufacturers.  We are close to the port, we got Newark airport here and we’ve got access to everything.  We have access to New York City we have access to capital, marketing, and technological expertise right here in the city of Newark through our academic communities.

There are other cities where this is happening.  There are not a lot of rural areas where this is happening.  So this is the time to take advantage of this once in a generation opportunity where people are coming to Newark to get things manufactured.  Thank you very much.

 

How To Find Any Cut and Sew Contractor in Minutes

| Posted by unionwear

American Success Stories

The All New Chrysler 200

Filmed in Newark, NJ at Unionwear

Chrysler is proud to celebrate the individuals who embody the new spirit of success.

Matthew Burnett:  My name is Matthew Burnett and I am the Co-Founder of Maker’s Row.

Tanya Menendez:  I am Tanya Menendez, Co-Founder of Maker’s Row. Maker’s Row is an online market place that helps businesses and brands, find American manufacturers.

Matthew Burnett:  My background is an industrial design and I used to design watches and I decided to start my own line.  I was manufacturing watches overseas for about 3 years and during that time I found that you are really are rolling the dice as a small business owner.  I don’t have the time to spend the month oversee the product quality control, but I would just crossing my fingers every time I was ordering something; one time I okayed a sample, 3 months later I get a mass order; it looks nothing like the sample that I approach; so that’s about $40,000 down the drain.  Small businesses can take that type of hit.

Tanya Menendez:  We’re able to produce smaller batches.  We’re able to oversee the production, and they are able to respond to market trends in season.  They’re able to produce that in a few weeks and have it to market.

Matthew Burnett:  We wanted to create a resource in which be able to find the closest factory with the right pricing or right minimum quantity that you would be able to work with in under a week.  It’s almost like a dating site, because there are so many different personality traits that you are looking for to find that perfect match.  I think the American dream can evolve to something we’re now people are following their fashion.  There are tons of designers, that used to work for large brands and now they are starting their own product-based businesses; because now they have a resource to find these manufactures.

Great background shots in there:

  1. Unionwear embroidering hats. We embroider hats on the panels before the panels are sewn, for better quality, larger decoration area, and lower cost.
  2. Our Thread library of over 2000 colors, organized by color, counted for 20 head machines, sorted by number, and kept clean in airtight bags.
  3. Attaching a visor to a baseball cap.
  4. Stuffing a visor.
  5. Sewing the topstitch rows on a visor.
  6. Attaching a size strip along the perimeter of a baseball cap.
  7. Closing a tote bag.
  8. Sewing up the T-bottom on a tote bag.
  9. Laying up bag fabric to cut 1000 totes.
  10. Great outside shots of the Unionwear factory.

How Cloud ERP Helps Union Manufacturer Compete

| Posted by unionwear

Transcript:

Why Lean Manufacturing Needs Cloud ERP:

It’s about 10 years since we had our first lean implementation here. It wasn’t until last year that we were able to put the pieces together because we needed to wait for the software to hit the clouds.  Legacy systems are really too expensive and too clunky  for a company of this size to be able to implement a robust ERP and we wanted something with which we would be able to grow to four times our size.

We also want something that we can add on to if we want to do things like track production, raw material, and efficiency on the factory floor; not all of our production employees use computers but all of them use smartphones and with a cloud based system like Rootstock we can have apps put on to smart phones that our production employees can use to track production, to track receiving, track cutting, track efficiency and things of that nature in real time.  We can use that real time data for sales.  We can also use, we can also integrate our website with rootstock and populate our product line using materials and processes that we already have costed, have that information flow to the factory using API’s and other new technologies and have our MRP system purchase goods, have work travelers and work tickets and production planning done without having to use any indirect labor or admin staff.

How Cloud ERP Reduces costs:

One of the things we have been able to use Rootstock to do to save cost is to really get a handle on our raw material inventory.  We are able to make substitutions of raw materials in bills of material; so that if we are out of this swivel hook we can substitute a different swivel ,  take a look at what kind of inventory we have, recommends certain kinds of materials to our clients based on availability.

If sales people make recommendations of materials based on availability and cost and it will reduce waste and sting on operations tremendously.

In the future with ERP and the internet of things, we will be able to take orders online and use ecommerce and do many stages of our manufacturing using robotics, picking components and materials, using robotics to put them into bins, using apps to give workers instructions what to do with those bins and tracking production of them.

Bag Cut and Sew Contract Work FAQ

| Posted by unionwear

Unionwear has curated over 40,000 styles of bags (50 body styles, 360 color combinations, 5 fabrics) to filter through on our website at https://unionwear.com/bags/.  Minimums are 48 units, and prices are 25 to 40 percent off for wholesale clothing companies and decorators.  All these bags are made to order, so slight modifications are available with minimums of 150 units.

Will Unionwear custom manufacture my own bag design using specific materials?

If you are looking for a domestic manufacturer of a product you have already sampled and already have sources for your materials our minimums are 300 units per style.

See below for minimums on sourcing and pricing on patternmaking and sampling.

What does Unionwear need to give clients a quote on cut and sew?

Fastest and cheapest: find a similar bag at https://unionwear.com/bags/.  Note that we offer discounts of 25 to 40 percent off of our list prices to wholesale clothing companies and decorators.  Send the link to our product page, or the item code,  and a description (which must include dimensions, materials, and quantity) of how you want to customize that product.

When moving production from overseas:  Send us a sample of your product, tell us what you want to change about it, what we can’t change about it,  and let us know what your unit budget is.   We will then let you know what we are able to do in your price range.

If this is a new product you have designed–We need dimensions, visuals, and quantity range estimates, and what design or functionality elements are critical, so we can make re-engineering recommendations to keep domestic sewing costs down (our specialty!).

Ideal:  send us an actual sample of your or a similar product along with notes of how your product differs.

Almost as good:  a TECH PACK–drawings of all bag features, inside and out, with dimensions, along with your fabric and trim guidelines if we are sourcing for you, or descriptions of the materials you will be providing us.  You can even send us links to photos you find online of other products so we can see how you want certain items finished (as in you like the gusset from bag A, the zipper from bag B, etc.).

Where do I send this stuff?

Fax: 973 497 7708
Email: sales@unionwear.com
Shipping address: Unionwear attn: Colin Greene, 305 Third Ave W, Newark, NJ 07107.

How long does it take for Unionwear to quote a custom job?

We can usually get you a quote on a modified Unionwear pattern in 24 hours.  A totally custom quote will take 2-3 days from the time you get us everything we need to know. Any quotes requiring sourcing may take longer as we have less control over vendors quoting us.

What are Unionwear’s minimum runs?

To tweak an existing product, minimums are usually 300 units. To create a new product, our minimum order is $5000 with a minimum of 300 units per style/colorway per order.

Will Unionwear source materials for clients?

Unionwear has thousands of materials in inventory to choose from and over one hundred fabric and trim vendors.  If Unionwear stocks your material, there are no minimums.

You are welcome to source materials yourself and just use Unionwear for the cut and sew work. If you require a complete package…

If your  materials request can be sourced from our existing vendors, such as a special color of a fabric or a special width of a webbing we already carry, we will base your minimums on our minimum purchase (around 300 units for custom fabric for example).  If we need to find materials from new vendors, we require higher minimums (around 1500 units for custom fabric for example).

What charges and collateral materials does Unionwear need to supply a sample or go right into production?

If this is a modification of a product already on unionwear.com, the sampling cost is $75, and no patterns are required, but foolproof  explanations of the modifications will be required to avoid multiple sampling charges.

If this is a new product:

To avoid pattern-making charges, send patterns along with finished dimensions and seam allowances.

If we are not using stock materials, you will need to provide us with all materials.  If we are sourcing non stock materials for you, all costs associated with receiving sample materials will be quoted to you and they must be prepaid in addition to any pattern or sampling charges.

If you would like Unionwear to make your patterns, Unionwear needs at a minimum visuals (drawings, links, samples) and finished dimensions.   Any curved lines must be drawn to scale, and all dimensions between trims must be communicated (such as the distance from a buckle to the edge of the bag).

Unionwear charges a minimum of $75 for pattern making and an additional $75 for sample making, with a maximum of $15 for every pattern that needs to be created for the pattern making and $15 for every separate piece of fabric involved in the sample for sample making.

If the product requires embroidery, there is a charge of $25 for one embroidery, and a separate charge for digitizing the design for embroidery if a .dst file is not provided.

What is the lead time for sampling with and without patternmaking?

Sampling takes six to ten business days from receipt of all collateral materials. Sampling with patternmaking takes 11 to 15 business days receipt of all collateral materials.

What is the lead time for production?

Normal turn time is 3-4 weeks from receipt of all materials.

Headwear Cut and Sew Contract Work FAQ

| Posted by unionwear

www.Unionwear.com features dozens of hat patterns–snapbacks, campers, five panel, buckets, boonies to name a few–offered in a dozen fabrics in 25 or more colors, with almost unlimited customization options. We offer discounts of 25 to 40 percent off of our list prices to wholesale clothing companies and decorators.

What does Unionwear need to give clients a quote on cut and sew?

For any kind of sewn headwear, its easiest to start with a similar product on our web site, www.unionwear.com at the Hats Made to Order tab. Send the link to our product page, or the item code, and a description of how you want to customize that product.

If this is a new product you have designed:

If this is a new product you have designed–We need dimensions, visuals, and quantity range estimates, and what design or functionality elements are critical, so we can make re-engineering recommendations to keep domestic sewing costs down (our specialty!).

Ideal: send us an actual sample of your or a similar product along with notes of how your product differs

Almost as good: a TECH PACK–drawings of all features, inside and out, with dimensions, along with your fabric and trim guidelines if we are sourcing for you, or descriptions of the materials you will be providing us. You can even send us links to photos you find online of other products so we can see how you want certain items finished.

Where do I send this stuff? 

Fax: 973 497 7708
Email: sales@unionwear.com
Shipping address: Unionwear attn: Colin Greene, 305 Third Ave W, Newark, NJ 07107.

How long does it take for Unionwear to quote a custom job? 

We can usually get you a quote on a modified Unionwear pattern in 24 hours. A totally custom quote will take 2-3 days from the time you get us everything we need to know. Any quotes requiring sourcing may take longer as we have less control over vendors quoting us.

What are Unionwear’s minimum runs? 

To customize any style of headwear with stock patterns, materials and trims, 72 units (though 144 units gives you a big price break)

To create a new hat style expect to spend a minimum of $5000 on contract work on your product line over the course of a year, with a minimum of 300 units per style/colorway per order.

Will Unionwear source materials for clients? 

Unionwear has thousands of materials in inventory to choose from and over one hundred fabric and trim vendors. If Unionwear stocks your material, there are no minimums.

If your materials request can be sourced from our existing vendors, such as a special color of a fabric, the minimum is 800 units. If we need to find materials from new vendors, the minimum is 3200 units. Custom dye lots are 10,000 units. You are welcome to source materials yourself and just use Unionwear for cut and sew.

What charges and collateral materials does Unionwear need to supply a sample or go right into production? 

If this is a modification of a product already on unionwear.com, the sampling cost is $50, plus digitizing charges of a .dst file is not provided.

If this is a new product, send patterns along with a tech pack and seam allowances. If we are not using stock materials, you will need to provide us with all materials. If we are sourcing non stock materials for you, all costs associated with receiving sample materials will be quoted to you and they must be prepaid in addition to any pattern or sampling charges.

What is the lead time for sampling? 

Sampling takes three to five business days from receipt of all collateral materials.

Are there any other set up charges before production?

Most new headwear patterns will require dies, which will be quoted when we see the patterns (minimum of $400). For smaller production runs, some patterns can be hand cut, for a surcharge.

What is the lead time for production? 

Normal turn time is 3-4 weeks from receipt of all materials.