Thursday, December 21, 2006
Edda & Luis Rivera (owners)
105 South Mays Street
Round Rock, TX 78664
WM What is unique about City Jeans of Texas?
CJT I sell up to twenty (20) different lines of quality, high-dollar jeans off-price in all
CJT What are IC apparel networks?
WM Independent Contractor (IC) networks are groups of people with Knowledge,
Skills, and Experience (KSE) who create apparel in their homes locally, regionally,
CJT What can a network do for City Jeans of Texas?
WM A network can deliver product in numbers. It can meet a particular service request from
a retailer or consumer. It can bring customers in the door. It can generate income. A
network can create a City Jeans of Texas design with the CJT label.
CJT What are my obligations to a network?
WM Retailers are under no obligation to buy from a network or to acquire membership.
CJT Where would I meet ICs to create my apparel?
WM You could meet ICs in business meetings, workshops, fashion/dinner shows, word-of-
mouth and online.
CJT Why have I not heard of apparel networks?
WM There may be some apparel networks out there of which WM is not aware. These would probably work from the traditional employer/employee model and service major retailers. However, we don't believe there are any in existence with a direct model to service Independent Apparel Retailers in local, regional and national locations that can equal the WM model.
CJT Who are the people who make up apparel networks?
WM They are designers, fabric retailers, buyers, sewing machine retailers, sewing
instructors, apparel retailers, sellers, cutters, sewers, pattern makers and more.
CJT What is a direct model?
WM It is the ability to create apparel locally for apparel retailers or consumers without
a middleman. It dispenses with "one size fits none" mass produced apparel and
and allows for a "custom service" or "customer made" service at reasonable prices.
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Saturday, November 11, 2006
What do you say when your job is exported overseas?
What is your answer to a payraise which does not reflect fuel, food, rent costs?
How do you feel when your company CEO's salary numbers in the millions?
What Working Mannequin has heard and observed from people affected by these questions is that too many people just accept it all. Others take on a bitter view of the situation. These may choose to take action either by withdrawing, taking on another job, launching their sideline business. Still, others increase their "investment" in the lottery.
The consequences of the above questions affect us in very real ways: emotionally, physically, spiritually and economically. They affect our children, too.
Note the placement of "economically" as last in the list. Everyone of us can vote and cheer for an individual or a political party, but none of these can take the place of a personal resposibility on our part to change our emotional, physical, spiritual and economic situation.
As long as we look either to continue to delude ourselves with the "security" of a job or deceive ourselves that "being my own man/woman" will alter our family's livelihood, not much of any substance will really happen.
Working Mannequin is commited to calling individuals to create their own Independent Contractor Network in apparel. If you possess the Knowledge, Skills and Experience (see KSE post) why would you continue to belittle that treasure as a means to alter your family's life?
Among the benefits of a personal Independent Contractor Network (ICN) are the following:
- You use what you've all ready got: Your KSE
- You create apparel, not as an employee, but as an IC.
- You can, like corporations, leverage tax law to your advantage
- You choose, draw and select others with like skills and passions for your own projects
- You determine what apparel items you wish to create
- You set your own pace
- You control your own quality
- You decide whether to create your own or another IC's designs
- You determine which Apparel Retailers make up your business circle
- You determine if you want to grow your network
- You create the time for your family
- You determine how, where and how rapidly you grow your network
- You determine the price of your work
- You set your economic goals in terms of revenue you want to create for your family
- You determine whether workshop investments are right for your business
- You choose to take action, not just talk or act out in bitterness
Networks bring you into an association with others. A network is not a guarantee of the people who are its makeup, but you share common goals, desires which speak to each others emotional, physical, spiritual and economic pursuits. You can determine what you will do for yourself, but not by yourself; that is, you are not alone.
Working Mannequin has a vision to show people the benefits of a personal Independent Contractor Network for themselves. We begin with apparel, but their are other fields which lend themselves very well to independent contracting. Look for future Working Mannequin business presentations on our blog.
We welcome your reply to all our posts.
Thank you and may the God of Heaven and Earth enlighten and bless you and yours. WM
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Wednesday, October 25, 2006
This is an excerpt from a report. The link is provided at the end of the post.
Note the following:
- This is apparel retailing.
- The selection of buyers for the research as "mostly involved with purchasing decisions".
- Store manager "has responsibilities in the daily maintenance of the store operations".
While both these are vital, important roles in traditional retail, the direct model of networking in apparel retail is founded and sustained by age-old one-on-one relationships.
* * *
In apparel retailing, we talked to a former buyer for a major retail chain: Ms. Jennings and a
buyer/owner of an independent boutique: Ms. Massoudian. Ms. Jennings worked for six years as an
assistant buyer, department manager, group sales manager, cosmetics and fragrance manager, and
operations manager for a large department store, which we will call LDS throughout the paper, and two years as store manager for The Gap. Ms. Massoudian owned an independent high-end women’s
apparel store in Palos Verdes, California and was mostly involved with purchasing decisions. We
selected buyers for our research contact, since the buyer is the person who directly makes the
decisions for what to buy, whom to buy from, how much to buy, how much to price, when to
mark–down, and how much to mark–down, whereas the store manager of a store in a chain has
responsibilities in the daily maintenance of the store operations (both personnel and merchandise),
and the chain executive is more concerned with financial control and administrative policy making.
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Note the following:
- This is apparel manufacturing.
- He (Paugal) "accumulated intimate knowledge" in apparel.
- Paugal is a small company.
- Paugal employs 18 employees: His productivity exceeds the capacity of his employees.
- Paugal specializes in "fashion" with a life cycle of about 10 weeks.
- Paugal is a two-category operation: women's sweaters and dresses
- Paugal makes extensive use of independent contractors
- What are you doing with the Knowledge, Skills and Experience you have accumulated?
- How many times would a network, like Paugal, multiply your apparel productivity and retail efforts?
In apparel manufacturing, our contact is Paugal Industries. Paugal Industries is an apparel
manufacturer located in the Fashion District in downtown Los Angeles. Mr. Pierre Levy, originally
from France, founded Paugal in 1983, after working as a sales representative for a large apparel
retail chain where he accumulated intimate knowledge of the design, manufacture and retailing of
apparel. Paugal is a women’s apparel manufacturer specializing in products in the “fashion” cate-
gory characterized by product life cycle of about 10 weeks. Like many companies in the women’s
category, Paugal is a small company. Paugal employs 18 regular employees. Paugal has two types
of operations. In the first category, Paugal designs and develops women’s sweaters under the name
Ultraknits. Ultraknits has two brands; Fifi, targeting younger consumers and Loop, targeting
consumers looking for distinctive fashion. All production in this category is performed by inde-
pendent contractors. Currently, Paugal contracts its production out to four factories in China and
Bangladesh. Major customers of Paugal in this category are department stores and specialty chain
stores. Production volume for sweaters is about 40,000 units per month. In the second category,
Paugal acts as an intermediary between the local contractors and mail order companies for women’s
dresses under the brand name Olive. Paugal is not responsible for the design of these dresses. Cur-
rently, Paugal uses two contractors which are both located in the Los Angeles area. All of the six
customers in this category are mail order companies. Production volume for women’s dresses is
about 5,000 units per month. We selected Paugal for our research contact as it is a small manufac-
turing company reflecting the current situation in women’s fashion business and it is working with
major retailers and contracts some of its business to off-shore companies.
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006
There are, on the other hand, quite a few occupations which instill and equip employees with ongoing, valueable training and experience. Even so, the federal government has historically categorized these as "non to low-skilled" positions of employment. Aside of its demeaning, unflattering ring, it is not true.
Working Mannequin believes a more accurate, fitting description is that these employees have the resources of Knowledge, Skills and Experience (KSE) which over time have made them a valueable asset to their employer.
However, there are positions of employment in manufacturing where employees acquire and accumulate a considerable wealth of resources. Whatever the industry, for example, apparel making, there is a simple feasibility test to determine whether one's KSE can be applied as an independent outside and apart from the mass production enviornment.
- Is the device or mechanism on which I acquired my KSE affordable? Affordability should not mean soaking oneself in debt in order to purchase the device on their own.
- Is the device or mechanism small such that I could set it up in my home or garage if I chose to do so? There are industrial grade and home models for devices such as sewing machines, vacuum cleaners, floor buffers and more.
- Does the device permit me to express my creativity? That is, as an independent you are not punching the clock for anyone. You determine when and how you willl perform your service to your client's satisfaction while at the same time satisfying your desired time for yourself and family.
There are, aside of manufacturing, various trade professions such as plumbing, appliance repair and maintance where employees acquire valueable KSE. Even though some fields, such as plumbing, typically require state certifications the same feasibility test can be applied by anyone desirous of implementing their KSE as an independent in support of certified plumbers.
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These people have not disappeared. They have lost their employment, not their resources.
They live next to you.
They are for the most part without organization and getting by having found refuge in customer call centers, plastic injection plants and other jobs.
Working Mannequin recognizes these individuals as vital, valueable partners in a renewed and recharged apparel opportunity, both, for themselves, apparel retailers and others. This will not happen through mass-production facilities nor their jobs.
It will happen as they take their KSE and join with Independent Apparel Retailers to
create the network next door, across town, in the region,
state and nation.
Networks provide the acceptable alternative to consumer cynicism of mass production apparel:
"One size fits none."
Against mega-corporations and foreign competition local networks provide affordable customization, design, fashion shows, on-demand service, reduced inventory, an expanding KSE pool and more.
It is a direct model.
This far-reaching impact of apparel networks between Independent Contractors and Independent Retailers will extend as well to their neighborhood cousins; fabric retailers, and, textile. Who better than fabric retailers and textile to supply the more than 40 million, according to Home Sewing Association, people who sew whether for leisure or profit?
So, what are you doing with your resources next door?
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Monday, October 23, 2006
Although an economist himself, Schumacher does not speak kindly of his fellow economists. He challenges scientists and technologists to design and develop machines which are:
This is the core of Working Mannequin's call to Independent Contractors and Independent Retailers in apparel networks and their KSE (see KSE post).
First, that the Independent Contractor's primary tool is the sewing machine. It is affordable. Purchase of the most expensive home sewing machine is not in excess of an individual's gross annual income.
Second, any home sewing machine is small enough to fit in the home, easily. It has the added portability feature which means that despite it being slightly bulkier than a notebook anyone with a sewing machine can travel.
Third, and perhaps a point much undervalued: The affordable, small, sewing machine allows for creativity. Creativity ought not be seen merely as the free expression on canvas by a painter or a beautifully designed quilt or apparel item. It is creativity when a person can design their day according to their family life. Where they can put in so much time on a given order or task and then breakaway to attend their child's school or athletic function.
Schumacher did not believe the mega corporation was the solution to the needs and problems of our society. There is nothing affordable, small or creative in the mega machine on the manufacturing floor where many a worker earns his/her livelihood.
It excites me to think there will be networks which will make a name for themselves for their quality, integrity and ability to deliver. The cream rises to the top, always.
The Lord he is God.
What are your thoughts?
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Where: Church building (Portable C)
1200 N. Georgetown Street
Round Rock, TX 78664
When: Friday, January 19, 7:00PM
If you are driving south on I-35
Take Hwy 79 exit, turn left toward Hutto and Taylor
Go to third traffic light, Georgetown/Hwy 79, w/Walgreens drugstore
1200 N. Georgetown is just behind corner business plaza
If you are driving north on I-35
Take Hwy 79 exit, turn right toward Hutto and Taylor
Go to third traffic light, Georgetown/Hwy 79, w/Walgreens drugstore
1200 N. Georgetown is just behind corner business plaza
Among believers the result is some participate in the church collection with reservations while others abstain altogether. Furthermore, this lack of understanding and the attitude which it fosters reflect on how a lot of people regard their giving to businesses and government their due. The justification behind this robbery is that these are not people. This, of course, is yet another falsehood, because like the church, businesses and government are made up of and function with people.
It needs to be said much of this is due to a lack of preaching and teaching on the subject of tithing and giving. Contrary to aspersions cast on tele-evangelists who call on their listeners to give, teaching on the subject is in the form of an annual message for many congregations, typically. Preachers feel uncomfortable expositing the subject, hence, a lack of understanding.
The practice of tithing, (tithing is ten percent of the whole) as commanded to the nation of Israel by God through Moses, predated the nation of Israel. Abraham, who lived many centuries prior, is found giving tithes to King Melchizedek. Israel was commanded to pay their tithes as this was for the livelihood of the priests.
Today, while tithing is taught and expected of members in many churches, it is not a commandment to the church in the New Testament. There is nothing said against its practice by an individual, but the apostle Paul does write about the giving of a particular congregation. He says first, "they gave themselves to the Lord", that every one should "give as they have purposed in their hearts" and "God loves a cheerful giver". Clearly, there is an absence of a specified amount, but a clear spiritual accent on the church's practice of giving.
Working Mannequin believes as one learns to give one can then build their business, our churches, communities and government, because they are each made up of people. People are built up when we give.
Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Take his words. Understand them. Live by them. Teach them.
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006
The American worker, on the other hand, employs a much different strategy. When hit with hard times he resorts to a part-time job to supplement his income. He may even resort to a second job. However, unless he fails to report that additional income from his lawnmowing, housecleaning, he finds himself in the same predictment that comes with a higher tax bracket. Two realities undermine his efforts: He is still working a job. He is still going at it alone.
Working Mannequin has seized the two corporate survival strategies for individuals who have seen the job doesn't cut it and who have seen you can't go it alone. As Independent Contractors individuals are recognized as business entities by the federal government and as such can
leverage tax law. Simply put, they can legally take the law in their favor in tax deductions and other business matters.
As Independent Contractors they work for themselves, not alone, but together with like-minded individuals they create an alliance of networks.
It is NOT HOW MUCH MONEY YOU MAKE, but HOW MUCH YOU KEEP. Creating an alliance of networks enables you to increase HOW MUCH you make. Leveraging tax law to your advantage enables you to increase HOW MUCH you keep, legally.
Working Mannequin believes we must rise above mere legal compliance and strive for the "ethical and moral" high ground in our transactions with corporations, government, entreprenuers, community, church, family and God. Uphold and sustain all these because they are the fabric of our country, our culture and our society. Truthfulness towards one for all and all for one.
What do you think?
I did not like that designation, because while that is an oft used description by the government I thought it is not true. Those apparel workers who have lost and continue to lose their employment in the apparel industry are not non-to-low skilled.
Apparel workers, as well as their at-home cousins, have a wealth of resources. Namely, they possess KSE, the Knowledge, Skills and Experience required in the apparel industry. These are the same resources which employers have mined a treasure for themselves, and, their bank accounts. I commend those employers for their resourcefulness which has also provided employment for many.
Knowledge may be what was acquired from class, textbook or word of mouth. Skills is that hands-on ability which one picks up and masters after much repetition. Experience is the combination of Knowledge and Skills over a period of time such that one has developed a pretty complete familiarity with a great deal of the apparel industry process whether in manufacturing or retail.
However, these same workers and their cousins, estimated by the Home Sewing Association at over 40 million who possess sewing skills, have acquired, developed and retained their resources regardless of the industry where they currently make their employ.
Working Mannequin is committed to interested parties in apparel whether Independent Contractors (IC) or Apparel Retailers (AR). Working Mannequin is presenting our business model FREE for ICs and ARs, alike. The techniques and methodologies of the manufacturing floor remain with apparel skilled workers. Those same techniques and methodologies can be emulated off the floor on a smaller, private scale for personal profit by both parties alike.
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