When I was a child, nearly all product was Made in Taiwan. Now a days a walk through any Wal-mart, Target, or Best-Buy all reveal the same thing; it’s nearly all Made in China. For the past few years as well, Sockwa has been Made in China. That’s all about to change for Sockwa. In 2011, Sockwa will begin to develop footwear that will eventually be Made in America.
We’ve gained momentum in the our fight for simpler, more ecological, and more minimal solution for footwear. Now, after rising production issues arise in China, coupled with tremendous raw material price increases globally, we had to look for a different solution. Made in Vietnam? Made in Indonesia? Made in India? Where does it stop?
Can we really keep exploiting underprivileged, low-income, third world countries with our consumption needs? It is happening, but this doesn’t seem like a long term solution for anyone on the planet. Made in Taiwan, changed to Made in China, with Taiwanese owners of those very same factories. Labor rates increase as the manufacturing countries gain popularity and as more businesses bring their manufacturing to those countries. Where does it end?
After considering Indonesia, Vietnam, and even Mexico, we’ve come full circle and realize that we must bring manufacturing, control, and innovation back to America. Yes, this means higher labor costs. However, we realize that there are more important issues than price. Quality, Speed, Innovation, and Control are what’s going to continue to give Sockwa the edge it needs when going up against the bigger, slower footwear companies.
Recently, we’ve stripped our product, vision, and culture down to its essential qualities and rebuilt a product that’s better, easier to make, and will help our company in the years to come. Recently, we’ve had to give up all preconceived notions of how you make a product, and had to think outside the box, to come up with a solution to a problem that was only getting worse and worse.
As I sit 7,500 miles from home, in Nanjing, China, I realize that I’ve come full circle. Three years of travel back and forth to Asia, has resulted in new experiences that will help me with the rest of my life. The challenges we’ve faced only make us stronger, as we embrace change and opportunity. What lies ahead is anyone’s guess, but we won’t stop our pursuit of great, simple, efficient, ecological products that will help bring people closer to earth and bring us closer to home.