17 Jan Manufacturing Update
Let’s talk about BlackMilk manufacturing.
So I’ve been told that there has been a lot of talk about BlackMilk manufacturing sleepwear offshore – and I have been asked if we’re going to start manufacturing everything off-shore.
Straight up – no! We all just spent the last nine years building a great little clothing manufacturing operation right here in Australia, so barring some insane unforeseen event (zombie apocalypse spreading to south-east Queensland, giant radioactive lizards roaming the streets) we are here to stay! And until I have a chance to review our future manufacturing strategy, we’re going to put a halt to any more outsourcing (other than our Italian hosiery) for now.
However, as I mentioned in my video last week, we do have something which has been in the pipeline for the last couple of months, and has now arrived.
So let’s talk activewear! Since we launched our activewear brand, we have been working solidly to constantly improve it – the functionality, the technicality, the look and feel. But we’ve had a lot of feedback from you, our customers and have hit a few roadblocks.
We have been making our active wear here at our small Brisbane factory, and whilst we love being able to bring you new products, it has been limiting for a few reasons. Fundamentally technology and timelines. For activewear to really stand up in the marketplace it needs to have a lot of features and benefits that require very specific technology and equipment, and we simply don’t have that technology in our factory in Brisbane.
Square peg, meet round hole.
On top of this, we are limited with what we can produce here, and this limited capacity has meant we can’t release/restock our activewear as quickly and often as we could like.
So what does this mean? It means some of you guys who have been massive fans of our active brand have gone back to buying other active brands simply for the fact that we can’t produce what they need. Honestly, I can’t really blame you.
Still makes me sad though.
So we decided we’d go and speak to an activewear specialist factory and see if they could help us. We found a manufacturing supplier that shares our commitment to ethical, reliable work practices and who can provide us with the great quality we want to promise you – regardless of where they are in the world! The other great news is that our active wear is designed, developed, quality-checked and distributed right here too.
Let me clarify a few points:
1. This is about improving our active wear functionality and quality, It doesn’t signal a major change in strategic direction for the entire company. We have no intention of stopping making clothes in Brisbane! We own all our own equipment, and have a team full of talented and professional workers. We have spent the last nine years building our manufacturing to this point, we have no intention of letting it go!
2. This has nothing to do with trying to make clothes cheaper. In fact, making clothes overseas is more expensive than people realise! It can actually be quite complex, particularly with technical products, and the fact that many of these factories tend to have huge minimum order numbers, and there are a whole bunch of shipping and tax considerations. We are passing on any savings to our BlackMilk community by re-pricing our activewear range – so that way you get to share in the benefit of better activewear at a better price. On top of that, because we really want to smash through these products and get focused back on BlackMilk collections, we are also going to put a discount on it for the first week
We do realise that for some people within the BlackMilk community not being made here is a big deal. I get it. BlackMilk was originally built on local manufacturing. I of all people understand that – I personally sewed everything myself for the first year! So given the fact that we just want to focus on making great collections right now, we’ve put a halt on our global outsourcing strategy (with the exception of our Italian hosiery).
Of course, there is much more to be said on this subject, but that’s another discussion for another day!
Thanks for being on the journey with us, and good luck grabbing yourself some new active and swim!
Hugs and Nylon.
p.s. A lot of you are probably wondering what the future of the active brand is going to be given this information. I honestly don’t know! I’m going to have to have a think about it… I still have a few thousand metres of active fabric in the warehouse!