I dropped of some samples to a friend of mine the other day. I was testing out some designs and just wanted feedback. He was taken back by the softness of the shirt. Yeah, he liked the design. But today-I want to share some thoughts about the garments themselves.
We could use blanks from larger household names. They are cheaper - on both quality and in cost. And maybe for a promo giveaway, that quality doesn’t matter. Maybe you truly want the cheapest product and your intention is to make that shirt a one-time use and then the shirt finds its way to Goodwill a year later, having only been worn once.
Mom taught me that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Most of our blanks are by Bella+Canvas and Bayside. We have the occasional Next Level in there too to fill in holes as needed.
Bella hits many of our needs:
- Extremely soft products that satisfy the toughest critics
- Wide palette of colors so we can get the perfect shade of _____
- A dizzying array of styles going from tanks to tees, hoodies and more.
- Socially responsible. 100% recycling. No sweatshirts. Much of their operations are based in Los Angeles.
- Proximity to our office. We can access much more inventory bypassing the distributors.
Bayside has a slightly different play for us. Their products are almost as soft. Their style selection is a little narrower. But their supply chain is amazing and mostly US-based. What does that mean? No boats. No border issues. No import issues. Their cotton comes from North Carolina. Most of the fabrication occurs here in Los Angeles. Assembly can occur here in Los Angeles, though admittedly, we tend to purchase shirts assembled in Mexico. The cost difference is just too profound and we cannot be competitive. A 100% US made shirt is 50 per cent more expensive if assembled here. And 3x more expensive if we use US-based union labor. However, it’s truly awesome that Bayside gives us those 100% US options. It’s helpful when we can get that certification when we look to export shirts beyond US borders. Also by virtue of being US-based, they tend to have less out of stock issues. Oh, and their warehouse and corporate offices are only about 20 minutes from our office making access to product dreamy.
Next Level is a nice backup. Their offering is not too different than Bella. Just a narrower palette, narrower selection, a bit farther away. It’s a worthy backup but we just prefer Bella.
No matter how you look at it - we are driven by quality. Each of our suppliers need to share our commitment to quality, service and to the being a global citizen.