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Made in the USA Part II...

May 05, 2016

Made in the USA. Part II of our Journey at Yooki

 

(continued from Part I)….


Our manufacturer advised us to order additional yarn so that the blanket process could be completed. We agreed and had an additional shipment of yarn sent their way.


Deadlines for finishing and shipping the blankets came and went with more excuses and general lack of communication from the manufacturer. We actually had a friend who was located closer to the manufacturer take a day trip to visit them to inquire as to the progress of the blankets and hopefully catalyze some progress. Her experience was more than a little bit worrying - other than the owner who had agreed to meet her at the facility, it was completely barren of any workers or knitting activity. We were assured that the knitters were at a “second site” that day and would be returning the next day to resume work.


She did get to view several prototypes some of which met our standards and some of which had major flaws like massive holes in the middle of the blanket. We finally made a good decision at this point and decided to cut our losses. We requested that the manufacturer simply send us whatever they had completed so that we could attempt to sell those blankets that had been properly manufactured.


It took several weeks for us to finally get confirmation that the blankets had been shipped to us, but eventually we received them here in Southern California…. with a few problems:

  1.  The blankets did not have any yooki wool tags affixed to them
  2.  Most of the blankets were curled and not “finished” or steamed to shape.
  3.  Several of the blankets were still connected to the waste yarn: Waste yarn is as pictured below in gold on our sugarplum blanket. Waste yarn can serve many purposes but in this case it was used so to get the knit started (cast-on) and it served as a medium to attach weights to during the knitting process.

 

waste yarn on machine knit blanket


To deal with the above issues, we found a local seamstress in the Los Angeles area who was willing and able to sew the tags onto our blankets and steam them into shape.


We shoved the boxes of unfinished blankets into our car, drove up the 405 to the valley, and delivered them to the seamstress. She ended up doing fantastic work and even returned them ahead of schedule so that we now have some fantastic Yooki cable knit blankets.


While it feels good to get this experience down on paper and off our chest, the point really wasn’t to create a sob story. Rather we wanted to both highlight some of the unexpected landmines that accompany new ventures, as well as share the difficulties that we have experienced trying to perform our manufacturing in the U.S.


While we would love to manufacture our wool products in the U.S., we just have not been able to find a knitter that is willing to manufacture baby garments in small volume or one that meets our quality standards. In contrast, our overseas manufacturer has been absolutely fantastic at delivering a quality product on time and in small batches.


We know that many of you out there are also budding entrepreneurs and would love to hear your reactions to our experience as well as any experiences you’ve had too.


For fun and a little chuckle...here is a photo of our first legging prototypes knit in the USA.

 

first legging prototypes knit in USA

 


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