Wow, here it is March of 2013. Since my last post, the New Year has been very quiet. After an exciting November and December in 2012, January came in with a “retail sales letdown”. It's nothing that I didn't expect, but it has been very disappointing. But as March has begun, I’m starting to see a little pick up!
I do have some sad news to share. Late in January, Laura's father had become very ill. For weeks she was at his bedside and a few weeks ago, he sadly passed. We missed her dearly while she was gone but she was where she needed to be.
Laura had made plans to attend the Abilities Conference in Atlanta and DSAIA Conference in Cincinnati but was unable to attend either. Jillian took the "bull by the horns" and lifted that responsibility off Laura's shoulders. She couldn't find airline tickets to Atlanta for a reasonable price because of the late purchase, so she actually drove there. She said the conference was amazing and met so many people with many different disabilities. The DSAIA Conference in Cincinnati was another great event. I can't thank Jillian enough for stepping in and taking care of all the arrangements.
Well, I'm heading back to China this week to spend time at the factory. We're working on the samples for the youth sizes and the samples for the ladies jeans in black denim. During the Chinese New Year Holidays, the entire country shuts down. It’s the one frustration I have with China. The whole month of February the workers take time off to go back to their homes to celebrate their biggest holiday of the year. Unfortunately, many don’t return to their jobs, so the month of March the factory owners have to rebuild their staffs. This causes about a two-month delay every year in production.
So now the youth sizes will not be ready for a few more months, which is a big disappointment, but if there is one thing I have learned in this business ... its patience. But I'm glad to be there in person to meet with the sample maker myself. They have lots of difficulty with our special sizes and shapes. The shape of our pants styles are nothing they have ever seen and they find our styles very challenging. So maybe with me there, I will be able to explain more clearly what we need.
The ladies jeans are of a big concern for me. The first factory that made our ladies’ jeans did a fantastic job and the ladies jeans fit very well. Now we are going to make them in another fabric (black) and by our new factory. If the samples don't come back right, then it will take time to make more samples. I can only hope they get it right on the first try. So, this trip may be the most important one of all.
Also, I decided that making skirts is just too labor intensive. So I'm taking that idea off the table. It would be cheaper to make new ones; but we're not ready to make skirts just yet. Our first priority is finish all the pants and to make them into other fabrics. We plan to focus on making the best fitting pants anywhere for our Down's customers.
It was finally necessary to raise our prices. So effective March 1, you will notice a small increase in the price of all our jeans. Also the post office had a price increase, so our shipping costs had to go up a little as well. I still believe the cost of our jeans is very reasonable and with our exclusive “try-on” service, I feel they are well worth it.
Well, please keep spreading the word. It’s vital to our growth and development to increase our sales this year. Now that we have products to sell, we need more sales. So please, if you like our products, help us grow our business!