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Old 05-10-2020, 12:06   #29
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Idaho
Posts: 1,103

I've been working with a local team comprised of the regional business development center and students at BYU-Idaho to get things rolling. I have provided some guidance to the team, who are doing a bulk of the work outside product development. Here's what we came up with.

1. Distribution: Although many of the venues we looked at are indeed viable, they will likely want to see sufficient demand before they agree to carry my brand/product. Demand is currently in its infancy so, as my friends over at Kelty suggested, I might want to start with a core following, which could very well be many on this forum, and conduct a direct sales campaign until such time as demand grows/evolves and retailers and distribution venues, such as Bass Pro, sporting goods stores, the Army/Air Force Exchange Service or Navy Exchange (PX/BX) systems want to carry it.

2. Manufacturing: In order to meet the aforementioned demand, there needs to be a reliable manufacturing source. While I'm the guy who designed this product, I'm more of an idea guy/tinkerer/inventor/prototyper and not necessarily qualified or skilled to oversee all the aspects of a manufacturing operation. I will suck it up and do the job to get it started, if that is what it will take. I'm still open to outsourcing the production to another organization. However, my team's lead guy stated many of those manufacturers he spoke with require a minimum number of units to be assembled before they agree to work on them, and that minimum number does not yet exist. And a lot of those manufacturers will require that they keep the templates and instructions, which doesn't sit well with me if their work turns out to be less than what was expected and we part ways. Some manufacturers I've spoken with in the past about doing embroidery or printing of my logo required they get control and/or ownership of the designs customers submit to them. This brings the option of local manufacturing back to being the most likely COA.

My student team is putting together a social media campaign to seek out and potentially recruit local seamstresses/tailors looking for work at a time when the country is pushing for manufacturing to return home. That would be nice if this works out because I'm interested to hear what a textile professional thinks of my concept and if can be streamlined any more.

There is also the possibility of presenting this project to the textiles/apparel department at BYU-I. I'm currently updating assembly instructions, which is very tedious and time consuming, to allow the least skilled individual to follow my work. I did this for ODA guys, green-suiters and other fabricators when I was overseas on my last contract. Depending on how skilled the students are, my guidance on how to assemble these may be minimal, except for particular details they aren't familiar with. And who knows, maybe if works out, some of those kids might want to continue working for me.

Continuing on this line of thinking of keeping this whole process here in the USA and potentially putting unemployed skilled labor (or unskilled labor in this particular field) back to work, for quality control and brand integrity, I believe manufacturing and distribution should be maintained in a local area to start with. For one, there is the logistics of either getting all the materials to the seamstresses/tailors, or getting those workers to a central location with the materials and equipment. Effects of the weather, economy, natural disasters, or a combination thereof, (like right now) can severely impact lines of communication and disrupt logistics and commerce. I would imagine that the more localized it is, the less moving parts are required, and chances of supply disruptions can be mitigated.

There would also be the reduced risk of knock-off copies to flood the market and corrupt the brand integrity if production wasn't spread out over multiple organizations or across a larger area of the country. The knock-offs and copies are going to happen. It will only be a matter of time. What will mitigate or slow it down is applying a level of control on both manufacturing and distribution.

As for the jackets/robes, themselves, I'm looking at starting with MULTICAM, Woodland, MARPAT, Coyote, OD, and Foliage for the outer shell options. I've gotten a request for NWU-III but my materials source doesn't have that print available for their fabrics yet. I can look at adding some of the other colors that you all have seen later if there is enough demand for them.

My price point is $200. I realize many might feel that's a bit steep but it takes a bit of materials to make one of these. Again, these aren't repurposed woobies turned jackets. Along with amenities that no one else has thought of, each jacket also has their own water and abrasion resistant stuff sack.

Sizes are currently S-3X but, because somebody here just had to be different , I'm now going to have to return to the salt mines and create a 4X. I've also been redrawing the sleeves to be significantly roomier because it occurred to me that some of you gents are likely sporting some serious pythons and these aren't supposed to be form-fitting Under Armor jackets.

Some of you have already expressed interest and even submitted requests, which is fantastic. I know winter is coming. And fall hunting camp arrives before that. For those interested, as a reference, I'm 6'2" and around 200 lbs. and I am comfortable in a 2X.
"It is a brave act of valor to condemn death, but where life is more terrible than death, it is then the truest valor to dare to live." -Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682)
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