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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Apparel: Uncompromising quality?

Quality is job one.

Ford is not the only one with that goal. Local independent apparel retailer owners want to hold a tight-rein on uncompromising quality. But, how accurate is the reality, really?

Retailers rely on manufacturers and suppliers for merchandise to stock their boutique inventory. Typically, this results in retailers stockpiling more inventory than they care. The hope is for a complete sale of all inventory in right size, fit, color, fabric and style to satisfied customers.

So, if quality is defined as the complete presence of size, fit, color, fabric and style are these elements within the control of the local retailer?

I do not wish to disparage manufacturers, but can local retailers fare better in their control of quality with local production?

I have often posed the question:

What's the difference between an upscale dress on the rack at Neiman-
Marcus or Nordstroms and the local independent apparel retailer?
Except for the location and price, none. The same individual who
assembled the Neiman-Marcus dress on the manufacturing floor assembles
the same dress as an at-home independent contractor/entrepreneur for the
local retailer.

Who makes up such a local production core? You can count displaced, experienced apparel production workers among the over 40 million the Home Sewing Association
who sew in their homes. The HSA cannot say whether it is for profit or leisure.

How many of those 40 million people do you think live in your city?
How many do you suppose would enter into a profitable at-home enterprise that allows them to utilize their resources and be creative?
Do you suppose there may just be the number of quality contractors you need for your local dress production?
Do you operate with a 7 to 14 day customer fulfillment window because that's what it takes for your supplier to fill and ship your order?
How much smaller a window would your local contractor enable for your business delivery to your customers?
TSR, Inc. is committed to the development of Independent Contractor Networks together with Independent Apparel Retailers. IC-Networks are local, regional,
state and nationwide. They are more than a social club. They consist of a membership with a wide variety of resources, that is, Knowledge, Skills and Experience
in apparel. They generate income for all members.

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