December 19, 2021 4 min read
Where and how a company sources their products has always been the $64 million dollar question and with the supply chain issues we are seeing, our decision from the beginning to look to Mexico and bring manufacturing closer to where we were selling our product seems to be a good one. With our experience working for companies that manufactured consumer goods in Asia and knowing first-hand the issues, we wanted to do things a bit different.
Every company needs to figure out what works for them… Understanding that, we needed to look at our business and product differently if we wanted to build a North America supply chain that was scalable, one that could grow with the brand. One that was flexible and could readily build and deliver product from factory-to-consumer with speed.
Being a US based footwear company headquartered in Denver, CO, we have access to some great partners and manufacturers in Mexico. Artisans who are experts in their craft and understand the boot making process. In building QLTY, finding the right manufacturer was the first step, its’ like building a house. Without a good foundation the rest of the house would be unstable.
One of our largest frustrations with manufacturing in Asia is having to spend a full day (20+ hours) traveling. This is a logistical nightmare plus a big expense, for a small company.
Being a DTC (e-Commerce) focused business, logistics are the foundation. Unlike wholesale brands we don’t manufacture in bulk, and we don’t work on a seasonal timeline. We are able to work off of our customer’s needs and produce in small batches. This model allows us to focus on quality and react to the market. Our goal has always been to build a just-in-time supply chain based on consumer data. We are not there yet but working hard to scale with this in mind.
Are there any plans to manufacture in the USA?
If we had the opportunity, we would love to manufacture our work boots here in the United States. Unfortunately, the resources needed to build a manufacturing facility here in the states is not feasible at this time for our young brand. As we continue to scale and expand the number of product's that we create for our friends in the trades, it is always in the back of our mind to bring the manufacturing of the DNVR to the states.
What is the quality of products that are manufactured in Mexico?
When choosing a manufacturer, you are always looking out for the best interest of your company. Depending on the size of your business and your goals to scale can dictate what partners you select in manufacturing your products.
For us, as a new company and just starting out, we did not have to solve these problems. Our goals were simple; Quality and craftsmanship are the foundation of every product that we manufacture and finding the right partner / factory to produce our work boots.
Having spent our careers at companies that manufactured products in Asia, we have worked with some amazing manufacturers that produce some beautiful products. What Mexico has going for itself is a skilled workforce focused on detail, craftsmanship and the ability to craft the best leather-based products in the world.
Stitching the Goodyear Welt on to the upper.
Is it cheaper to manufacture in Mexico?
We get this question a lot… Is it cheaper to manufacture in China, Mexico or in the United States? We would say you get what you pay for. In our experience companies go to China for two things: the need to utilize advanced manufacturing techniques and to use manufacturing as a tool to reduce cost and boost their bottom line.
Our long-term goal is to grow QLTY and invest in United States based manufacturing, but the barriers that are put in place to do this are quite extensive. Building a factory is not cheap, and there are not many resources available to tap into, to build our boots within the United States. There is a reason why so many brands say; “Made in the USA with imported parts.”
We mentioned you get what you pay for, that's why we chose a factory in Mexico that focuses on quality craftsmanship and pays above fair wage to their employees. If we chose, we could move across the city to a factory that would reduce our product costs so we could drive-up profits, but at this point that's not our focus. It might surprise you to know that the cost to manufacture each pair of our boots in Mexico costs us the same as what our competitors spends to manufacture their boots in the United States.
Quality and craftsmanship is not cheap...and at the end of the day, you get what you pay for.
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