There are a number of reasons why I decided to produce our bags in the United States, more specifically Los Angeles.
1. A close working relationship with my manufacturer.
2. Quality control.
3. Providing job stability to those individuals already working in the factory.
4. Shorter lead times.
Many moons ago, I worked for a ski apparel company that produced a majority of their SKUs off shore. I was solely responsible for sourcing the tech fabric, importing it, testing its properties (wicking ability, etc), and then negotiating a price for the fabric. Once the fabric was approved, it was shipped to another off shore production facility and made into the actual garment. I always made sure to say a prayer, in hopes that the correct fabric had been shipped and that the tech pack that I had emailed to the production facility was clear enough to produce the perfect product.
One bummer about working with an off shore textile and/or production facility is the language barrier. I for one do not know Vietnamese or Chinese. Therefore, all work was done via email and even still there was a disconnect. Also, due to the time difference, there was always a delay in email responses.
The relationship that I have now with my manufacturer is stellar. Emails are responded to within an hour, text messages are replied to almost immediately and phone calls are always answered. If need be, I can even jump into my car, cruise down Highway 101 to the actual facility and take care of business. This is IMPERATIVE to me.
Having a domestic manufacturer is also important to me for quality control reasons. We're not making $2.00 tees at Gilkey Co. We're making top of the line luxury handbags. With that being said, there is more money at stake with each production run. I need to be able see, touch and smell each item prior to any wholesale distribution and or any shipment sent from a purchase made on our website. Production in LA allows this to happen.
I also know that each employee that works for our manufacturing company is trained and treated well. They are not over worked, their craftsmanship is impeccable and with Gilkey Co. production staying domestic, we're helping ensure a steady paycheck per employee.
Another benefit in working with a domestic manufacturer is shorter lead times. I know that when I place an order (depending on the size of the order), I will have the order completed and ready in roughly 6-8 weeks. Working off shore, you have to factor in the longer time in transit. Your product may get stuck in customs and or even lost on it's ship.
I feel blessed that I get to work with a manufacturing company that is based out of Los Angeles. However, I do realize that I am operating a business and it might not be feasibly possible to do this forever. For the time being, Im going to count my lucky stars and tell any and all of our customers that Gilkey Co. is PROUDLY produced in the United States of America.
Taylor Gilkey Laird