State of the Pants: Preparing for Production

Hi Everyone!

When we posted our last State of the Pants, I was about to embark on a mega-roadtrip to test the latest iteration of the pants with more fit testers across the Western United States. Hopefully you’ve not only seen the recap, but also reviews from real fit testers! We’re getting SO close now, and today I’d like to give you an update on where we’re at.

The most recent round of fit testing taught us a LOT, so we’ve made a couple of final tweaks to the fit and we’re calling it good to go 🎉 And, now that we’ve got the fits and styles dialed-in and tester-approved, it’s time to get these pants into production!

But before we can get these pants into your loving hands, there are still two big roadblocks we are working through: sourcing and finding the right factory.

Sourcing

The process of sourcing seems like it should be a lot easier than it is. As a home sewist, when I wanted to make an article of clothing, I’d head to my local fabric store and get everything I needed: fabric, zippers, buttons… all of that was in one store, no problem. But when you’re making pants for the masses, things change. Because we need such large quantities of these items, we are working with multiple vendors across the world. Fabric comes from the mill, zippers come from the zipper factory, buttons come from a button factory, and so on. With each vendor comes different processes and turnaround times: if they have what we need in stock, they can ship it out in a few days or so. If not, they might have to make it, which can take a lot longer. Now let’s throw a global pandemic into the mix, and we’ve got ourselves a larger challenge than I originally anticipated!

The good news is that we have a team member who knows the ins and outs of working with vendors, so it’s going to all work out. We’re learning as we go (as we have been with this entire process), finessing our system to have it dialed for future orders, and getting ready to launch. 

Finding the right factory

Once we have all of our sourcing finalized (which is almost done), it’s time to send all of the materials to a factory, where workers will cut the fabric and sew the pants! As someone who has done a large amount of the sewing herself, I can’t tell you how important it is to have a team of people trained to do it en masse. And… How grateful I am to let them do it for me. 

That said, it’s super important to me that whichever factory we work with treats its team with dignity and respect. To ensure that our factory is up to standard, it was always my intention to visit the factory in person. Given the current state of affairs, traveling overseas is not an option, thereby limiting us to factories located in the United States—which I was secretly hoping we’d end up doing anyways, as it reduces emissions from shipping across the world. That said, given the most recent stay-at-home orders in my current location of California, I am unable to even visit American factories. Luckily, we’re working around that and are planning on doing FaceTime factory tours which, while not perfect, is at least something. I’m grateful to have found some options that I feel excited about at face-value, can learn more about via video chat, and eventually meet and inspect in person when safely possible. 

Okay, then what?

So! Once we have our sourcing secured and a contract with a factory, it comes down to cutting and sewing. 

To start off, we’re going to do a small run of 150 pieces. These will be used not only as a test to ensure that we’ve got all our pipelines figured out and that the product is perfect, but to also get some final, intensive wear-testing under our belts. Testimonials, here we come!

Then, when we’re confident that we’ve streamlined our processes and everything has our tester stamp of approval, we’ll be preparing for the best thing ever: a Kickstarter! A Kickstarter is the best way we know of to ensure that everyone who wants a pair of pants can get one, without having to worry about the gross initial costs that come with creating inventory ahead of time.

Stay tuned for more, and get ready… Our Kickstarter is scheduled to launch in Spring 2021 🎉