Currently calling the Southbay my home here in sunny California, more specifically Gardena, CA. This little place is truly a "diamond in the rough". Never thought I would find neighbors like my good friend Paul. At 70 years young he still keeps me on my toes and is always ready for a 4th of July celebration or BBQ. Gardena has welcomed us with open arms and is truly an amazing place. Hawaiian food can be found on many corners with some of the best "Loco Moco" I have ever had. I am a craftsman and designer by trade, for me getting to know the history of places helps me better understand the people of the area. It helps drive my art and what is inspiring me at any given moment. I really like this city.. lots of amazing people and a location fit for everyone. gotta be some really rad cars parked in some of my neighbors garages...
The digital world is huge, something I am learning about daily. It is a constant learning curve as something new is always right around the corner, so keeping up with trends is essential. The world of "Digital Marketing" is like a spider web of efforts that work together to create a machine of moving parts that in the end... DRIVE SALES! It's like Engineering, if you don't get it, you're not going to and you should trust those who do. It take a special mind to understand the workings of the digital world. Someone who is keen to change and understands the flow of your market (analytics), knows what your market is asking for and wants to see (social awareness) and lastly creates a pathway for your target market to and through the digital shopping experience (eccommerce).
We are BUILDING, it does not happen overnight.
Don't wait till you're out of money to invest into your sales/marketing plan
In order to first gather good insight, you must have a "usable" website. One that has been developed and created with the user and purpose in mind. Once this is done, you are able to run ads, track clicks and test your marketing efforts with real information (analytics). Information that is telling you who your market is and what they want. It is at this point that you will really see your efforts come into play. You will start connecting more and more with your customer through social efforts, seeing online traffic rates increase... which in the end (with good product at a good price point) leads to sales.
It's not rocket science... but their is a science to it.
IT TAKES PLANNING, BUDGET AND PATIENCE
SIMPLIFIED LIST OF NEEDS:
- product (CONTENT)
- sales portals (website, amazon, eBay)
- graphic assets (CONTENT)
- product/lifestyle photography (CONTENT)
- video content (CONTENT)
- social network development
- web development/tools
When you put together a plan of action and understand the needs for each of the above areas. You will then be able to approach your market with confidence. Don't skimp in one area and expect the others to correct it... everything works smooth with the gears are all working together.
It's like "Captain Planet"... WHEN OUR POWERS COMBINE!!!!!!
PUT THIS SAUCE TOGETHER AND IT WILL WORK!
Over the last few years, and certainly throughout this election cycle, much has been made of the burgeoning interest in American manufacturing. The reasons for this interest are myriad: a more informed consumer population concerned about where their products come from, increasing labor costs overseas, increasingly long lead times and quality control issues. Now we can add political risk and uncertainty concerning global trade policy to that list .
Over the next decade the National Association of Manufacturers estimates that 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be needed and that 2 million of those jobs are likely to go unfilled due to a skills gap. This is especially relevant to the sewing industry. The American garment and textile industry has shed over a million jobs since the mid-1990's. That is a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge to vanish over two decades. Not only does it mean that the workforce of skilled garment workers working in the United States is aging, it also means that the development of modern, lean production systems has stalled in many of the remaining domestic factories.
Barring rapid developments in automation, it is unlikely that large scale manufacturing of commodity apparel will return to the United States in the short term, however the benefits of smaller scale domestic production are many, including:
- Shortening lead times from many months to as short as a few weeks. Having a dedicated production line running at a factory can allow for production to align more closely with consumer demand. A flexible factory applying lean principles can turn around orders extremely quickly and almost certainly with lower MOQs than overseas factories.
- Managing quality is easier. Language barriers and time zone differences are negligible. With the factory a short drive or easy domestic flight away there's no need to rely on an agent or have employees make costly and time consuming travel to an overseas locations to deal with quality issues.
- With a shift in focus to direct to consumer sales, and the margins associated with those sales, the increased labor costs makes US manufacturing significantly more viable. The Bangladesh garment worker's minimum wage of $68 USD a month pays for a few hours of an American worker's time. Obviously FOB price isn't the only factor. The opportunity cost of long product development lead times, long production lead times, tariffs, shipping costs and shipping time all need to be taken into consideration.
- Consumer demand for made in the USA products is undoubtedly increasing. Millennials, and consumers in general, are increasingly concerned about where the goods they purchase come from. Expect that trend to continue, not only from locavore hipster types, but also from those who have seen the negative effects of globalization in their communities.
- Political risk in the form of unpredictable policy making from Washington needs to be taken into consideration. Though unlikely to come to fruition, it would certainly throw a wrench into many operations to wake up one day to a 40% border tax.
Most brands should be interested in at least exploring domestic production opportunities. Those that act quickly and find a quality factory partner will be ahead of the curve. A shortage in qualified labor in most aspects of apparel manufacturing all but guarantees that there won't be capacity to match the increasing demand in years to come.
Bill Amos is the founder of climbing apparel brand NW Alpine, and the founder and President of Kichatna Apparel Manufacturing, an Oregon based contract sewing firm specializing in athletic and outdoor apparel. He can be reached at email@example.com.
CEO at NW Alpine
Thanks a ton for such a great article Bill, looking forward to passing in the trails one day brother!
What Makes You So Happy, I mean (looking at his home on a wagon) you live on the street... !?
I met Andre Green tonight living on 52nd Place under an overpass. I have passed under his spot numerous times always wondering who lived there. Tonight I decided to say hello, with one question in mind... What makes you happy? Also I might add, not knowing who I would find.
Without the chance even to ask the question yet, this fine man was already showing me the beauty in the world. "The beautiful blue skies, all of his bike parts, the skill it takes to turn wheelchair parts into pegs for haulin' ya friends," said Andre. Dude was seriously such a humble person, thankful for what little he had. When I did get around to the question, he smiled real big like and said "I am happy because I have everything I want, and the good Lawd gives me everything I need! I mean I get to build custom bikes and I am going to pick up my DVD player". Which I did find odd, noticing quickly that he did not have a tv nor an outlet at that.
Met a cool guy tonight, his name is Andre Green and he makes custom bikes on 52nd Place under the bridge.
"The time vacuum created by the ocean's presence. Similar to stoner's time, everything moves nice and slow. This carefree aura even has the ability to travel with islanders and can engulf you in their presence." (urbandictionary.com)
In order to truly become a good designer, one that is sought after. This is a must to have in your bag of tricks... SHOW UP ON TIME! Really, be early by 15-20 and prep yourself. This is not just a good interview skill to have, but rather a form of respect. Coming early and leaving late is a form of dedication, it shows passion for what you do. It lets clients know that you are engaged and organized professionally.
As a designer/creative it is really important for us to manage our time. being on top of your clock will waste less of your day and put more money into your pocket. Efficiency is key to any good design hustle, keep on crankin' on!
I want to write this topic as if I were writing to myself...
MY DUDE, OK, Let's get into this!
It's simple... DO IT, start, GET UP!... Ok but really! You are full of creative ideas and inspired on the daily to build something, that is down right badass. You have this skills to use any tool put in front of you, promise, just try! What are you scared of? What!? You do not want to create ugly?... Well, that's a sorry ass excuse, but I do understand why you think that way. Let me start with this.. try thinking about it as "Practice Makes Perfect". You need to do ugly before the real beauty of your work finds itself. Nothing starts out perfect, and nothing is perfect.
“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”
~Not Sure (sorry) Lynyrd Skynyrd?
Enjoy the world, take it all in. Smile more and appreciate the ride life has for you!
First and foremost if you are a designer accepting jobs at this rate...
"YOUR KILLING ME SMALLS!"
But seriously, you are devaluing yourself and the rest of the design world. We are PROFESSIONALS college degree or not, we need to keep our standards.
Making a true living off of design and art is not for everyone. It's not easy to pass up money that seems so easy to get. "Do a quick logo for for $50?"... All I can say is DO-THE-MATH, divide that fifty-bucks by the hours YOU ARE going to put into it. In my experience's clients that did not want to pay wanted the most out of me, I ended up putting more into the project then I got out of it. I ended up following a path of uncertain direction and in the end accomplishing nothing more then practice time.
Let's go back to that fifty-bucks for a second. Say you put an (1 hour) into researching the brand and getting to know their market and competition. Then you spend (1 hour) conceptualizing and sketching thoughts, another (2 hours) adjusting your concepts based on clients comments. You spend the next (1 hour) finishing the artwork and getting sign off from the client. Now you get to start finalizing the design, spending another (1 hour) finishing and prepping the final artwork. You have now spent 6 hours working on this logo, making $8.33/hr... you have just made less then minimum wage in most states...let alone what it's going to be.
With the recent news of minimum wage raising to $15+ in the coming years, it is now crucial to understand this simple concept. What we do is a skilled trade, it takes years of mistakes followed by practice to perfect what we do. Yes, everyone has an opinion and the ability to be creative... but we are practiced. Our tools are costly and need constant updates... this includes our minds! "We need space" (post coming soon!) the more we are able to bring into our minds the more we as creative professionals will push out. I choose to not accept being classified by pay as a minimal pay type of worker. I have a college degree, thousands invested into tools as well as a space to create and bring my ideas to life, years of blood, sweat and tears poured into what I call my passion.
So... NO... fifteen-bucks an hour is really not ok...
Not for recent graduates, portfolio work, shares of a company... that does not exist yet, Not for any excuse! In the end you need to invest into your brand and products, we can't create something out of nothing for free, and just cause I enjoy what I do doesn't mean I should not make a living off of it.
Check this out... freaking awesomeness in Two Rivers, WISCONSIN! Only two and a half hours away in Madison (the capital!), is where our dude Chris Farley grew up. I did a report on Wisconsin in the 4th grade... all I remember is the state tree, a Sugar Maple. I just imagine this giant treat that you can take bites from.... mmmmmmm, sugar maple...
Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum has been open at their new location, 1816 10th Street, Two Rivers, WI 54241, since November of 2013. Our new address is a short distance from our original location with a stunning view of Lake Michigan. The building was previously owned by the Formrite Company of Two Rivers, and it's more than twice the size of the original museum.
Come check out our new home! Self guided tours are available anytime during our regular business hours. Guided tours of the museum are offered at 1pm and 3pm. Don't forget the Hamilton staff hosts educational demonstrations, field trips, workshops and offers opportunities for artists, printers, historians and other scholars to experience this vast wood type collection. Please contact the museum at firstname.lastname@example.org or (920) 794-6272 for more information or to schedule a group visit.
Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum
1816 10th Street
Two Rivers, WI 54241
NOTE TO SELF:
GREAT PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRATION..
I have always been one to really love seeing how things were made. All the steps it takes to make what consumers see as the final product. It's what drives me to create product and to push the boundaries with material and design. This little gem of a website is one to have in the toolbox for days of inspiration and face melting design.