• Maya Kapur

TexWorld Made in the USA Panel

Updated: Aug 17, 2018



We make all of our accessories in the USA! This week, our founder Lauro Dotolo spoke on a panel about Made in USA manufacturing at the NYC TexWorld Trade Show. You can find out more about making your products in the USA with our Clutch Made Team to by booking a design consultation here.


The Clutch Team preparing gift bags for attendees

Panel Discussion


To start off, the panel discussed the advantages and disadvantages of manufacturing in the USA.


Advantages:

  • Quality control - you can oversee the process easily and fix problems

  • Communication - less lost in translation

  • Small minimums - you don't have to commit to large amounts

  • Faster speeds

  • Ethical practices

Disadvantages: (misconceptions)

  • If the product is extremely intricate, you cannot produce the entirety in the US

  • Labor rates

  • Slower speeds

  • The general public doesn't think that the US still produces - less work/jobs here

  • Non ethical practices

WHAT YOU HAVE TO CONSIDER WHEN MAKING


Cost

  • The number of pieces you are producing (quantity)

  • Types of seam/hem finishes and the number of different types (i.e. French, bias bound seams)

  • Number of colors/threads per style

  • Lining vs. No lining

  • Amount of detail/intricacy

  • Number of sizes

Capability

  • Machinery

  • Can't be picky - for example, you are 1/8" off and pay $20 for 50 pieces

  • Wide range - not one factory, you may have to go to multiple different ones

  • Many cannot do start to finish, some may do sourcing (Clutch Made does it all!)

"It is all about design, form, and function." - Laura Dotolo

Lead Times

  • Faster in the USA because we do not have to ship across the sea, but they will still quote you either 4-6 or 6-8 weeks

  • Fabrics sometimes are not from the US (Clutch Made only sources ethical US materials!)

  • Holiday times may sometimes not coordinate (i.e. Chinese New Year in February or European Vacation in August)

  • Small quantities = pushed to the back of the line (Clutch Made doesn't — we can do small minimums!)

All Factories are Equal — NOT TRUE!

  • Red flags - if a factory can start immediately = don't have enough work

  • Product development is different than manufacturing/production (Clutch Made can start working with you within a week of speaking!)

  • Should have certificates of labor, etc. and be up to date

  • Try to take advantage of newbies

  • Not all are honest

  • Not all make good product

Do's:

  • Make an appointment - not unannounced

  • Do your research to see if the factory makes what you want to produce

  • Have a list of questions

  • Email a thank you

  • View as a partnership, not working for you or teaching you

  • Be respectful

Don'ts:

  • Tell your life story - get to the point and be straight forward

  • Ask for a Non Disclosure Agreement or Non Compete - instead get a provisional patent

  • Negotiate right away - get an estimate or quote

  • Ask for a ton of quotes right away

  • Don't need a Tech Pack most of the time right away (Clutch Made has a tech pack service!)

  • Reach out too early for manufacturing - they won't take your product on if you don't have everything prepared

  • Produce right away - you need a sample (Clutch Made makes samples!)

  • Force showing samples - they may have confidentiality contracts - instead check out their website to see if they have a gallery (Clutch Made has a sister platform Clutch Bags!)

  • Take pictures of samples without asking

Questions for Factories:

  • Do you have a specialty in materials?

  • What is the minimum/maximum number of pieces you can make?

The future of American made is changing. It is our goal to switch the mindset of consumers as well as designers/producers that is is possible to manufacture good quality in the USA and support buying American made!


QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE


What about the new tariff laws? How is it going to change manufacturing?

If you are a start-up, it is better to make it more simple so that you can produce in the USA. It is an easier process and that way you can oversee production.


How do you protect yourself as a designer? For example, what if it is produced and it isn't what you expected?

Make sure you are involved. Especially as a start-up, you want to inspect the products before they are packed and go to the factory.


How will zoning effect the manufacturing industry in NYC?

Rent is going up which leads to factories and fabric shops leaving. You should either get political and get involved in the movement. Or, as a designer, you have the power to give more work to the factories so they are able to stay in the Garment District.


Do you have to find your own fabrics and give them to the factory?

Yes, you provide all materials including fabric, hardware, and trim. (Clutch Made has a sourcing service!)


How do you work sustainably?

We stay local! There are even small business days that you can participate in. Donating to Materials for the Arts is a great way to give back as well as be more environmentally conscious. The idea is to start the conversation and work from there.


The Clutch Team at the TexWorld Show