Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

All of us here at LUSB are thrilled to wish our clients, friends, and everyone in between a safe, peaceful holiday season.

Eat a lot of cookies.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


For the shallow followers of each party who listen intently to their elected officials and nod their head in agreement without the faintest intention of considering the opposition points, I say bury your head deeper.

We, as a country, society, and supposed world leader cannot continue to hold paper currency as an idol in our hands, nor can we allow a private bank such as the Federal Reserve to continue to devalue and toy with our market, nor can we stand for a government who deliberately mismanages a budget based on God knows what.

I'm a bit fed up.

Just got back from the gym, where I dropped sweat for an hour while watching multiple 'news' programs spew their rhetoric and parade their pundits. I don't care what side of the aisle you mow the lawn, our elected officials have become a laughing stock, so much so that the reverance once bestowed upon such offices has tarnished to a deep charcoal color, nearing the color of tar. In fact, that was insulting to tar. Sorry, tar - you're better than them.

Every election we hear of Hope and Change, or the Contract for America, as a panacea for us to swallow and be healed. Cheap insults at our intelligence. Have we not the mustard in our gut to seriously take on the insincere pillow talk we've been regurgitated? Well, have we?

Monday, November 8, 2010

RIP Patrick Furlong

Our friend, co-worker, and kind and gentle heart Pat left our world over this past weekend. Pat served our company for the past 3 years as a contract employee, hardly missing a day or minute to assist us in our efforts. I cannot express to you the loss we feel, but the grace in being able to know and share time with Pat during his life will never be forgotten.

Pat held a unique sense of humor, always sharing laughs and stories, and always generous with his time. He loved what he did, always tinkering with something, improving on our equipment, and being an ambassador on the road to our customers. Everywhere Pat went people embraced him. He was lovable, kind, benevolent, and most of all, a sweetheart of a man. We will miss you Pat.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Our Sales Manager Joe is home tonight, recovering from some side effects of his cancer treatments. While it is difficult to understand why such a good man is tagged with this rotten disease, it is with great admiration that I watched him today joking and laughing the way he always has. We wish you wellness, Joe, always...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This is what it's all about!

Go get 'em girl!

Updates, News, and More!

Bluefig, our quilting and sewing division, will be showcasing our line at the International Quilt Market next week in glorious Houston, TX. Now if my beloved Giants make it to the World Series against the Texans, maybe a short ride to Arlington is in the works? Probably not, but it's nice to dream about. Coming in the Spring of 2011 will be our new rolling cases. From the initial prototypes we are seeing we know you will be impressed.

Joe is doing well, just about finished with 3 weeks of radiation treatments, and preparing for the next stage of his treatment. I wish him nothing but the best. God bless, brother!

Keep an eye out for our new electronic newsletter coming out next month. We look to showcase some more projects in the works and keep you better informed!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Off topic!

OK, I am going to illustrate a point that some seem to overlook, and it's way off the normal jive for me. It's the age old issue of over zealous soccer parents wanting their kids to be stars on the field, at whatever the cost.

This weekend, once again, we see the middle aged, portly coach pacing the sideline raising a voice at the player for not putting his full effort out. Said player looks dejected, returns to the sideline, where he slumps over himself while drizzle overtakes his body. Dripping wet, and appearing to feel as though he failed, he returns to the game where he misses a clear shot with a whiff. The coach again berates his ability, and the parent gasps at the error, thus reinforcing the negative input.

I am not against wanting to win, nor am I against encouraging full effort and participation in sport, but I vehemently oppose those who wish to live vicariously through their children on the soccer field. Seriously people, do you want to know your kid's chances of becoming a professional soccer player are? It ain't pretty - like 1 in 1.8 million in fact. Stop worrying about each missed kick or pass and just support them with positive reinforcement. Maybe they'll play harder, longer, and get more out of the experience, and eventually pass it down to their kids if they actually enjoy what they're doing.

Sorry for the rant, but it drove me nuts this past weekend and has been stewing ever since!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Swing of Things

So, for about 10 years now we have maintained our manufacturing balance by producing both domestic and international volumes of goods. This balance has always provided an avenue for both the young start up and a large producer to leverage our talents and relationships to get the products developed they need. Recently, the market in Asia has changed, bringing the cost of goods skyrocketing quickly, with labor shortages the norm. Product is delayed, materials harder to come by, and the climate uncertain for those of us relying on what used to be the consistency of Asia with the ingenuity of the US. As prices in Asia rise, and labor difficulties mount, the ability for hybrid producers such as ourselves begin to take a different look. Our capabilities in the US have increased greatly, and more of our clients are seeing the need for US made goods. Is this a total swing back home? Not quite, but the balance of equity between the US and China is evening out, leaving questions as to how the low price retailers in the US will be able to satisfy their 'inexpensive minded' consumers... One thing is for sure, the culture and business climate overseas is changing, giving us a good chance to look in the mirror and respond appropriately.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Had a good time tonight at a PNDC event, our annual member meeting and social. Great people, venue (Governor Hotel), and food. The presentations were insightful, informative, and most of all, inspiring. Towards the conclusion of the evening a discussion ensued regarding waste, and how to get rid of it.

Waste is a bigger thing than what's left on the plate after you're full. Rather, it is as far reaching as the calculation of unnecessary movements to complete a task, or the fault in logic of not improving what's always been done before. There are so many ways to reduce waste, including physical, in measurements of time, or in exerted energy. All of which can be more efficiently engineered to provide a more (here it comes) sustainable existence.

We began getting rid of waste 5 years ago. Today we are probably 30% better than 5 years ago, although we have trimmed more than 10% per year, we have grown and filled some those gains with new waste. It is continual improvement and analysis that drives the train, and a diligent effort is required.

Tonight I carried the garbage to the street - a weekly ritual. Just think - What if I only did it every other week? Or once a month? What kind of impact would that have, and if everyone did that what kind of impact would we have overall? I would think it would be pretty impressive...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Update on Joe

Joe is recovering from surgery (Thursday) to remove a growth on his brain. He looks great and is feeling ready to to move on to the next step in his treatment. He should be heading home today and will recover in his familiar comforts. We love you Joe and will keep a prayer vigil going 24-7.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Big Sigh...

A familiar 'Big Sigh' that eminates from behind me at work will be quiet for a short time. The 'Big Sigh' as we know it internally, is the hallmark of our dear friend and colleague Joe. See Joe was diagnosed with another bout of cancer to contend with and enters the hospital tomorrow to begin that journey yet again. Joe's beaten it once and will beat it again.

We're praying for his health and well being through difficult times, and look forward to the day I can hear that 'Big Sigh' behind me once again...

Love you Joe!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In memory of...

Those who lost their lives 9 years ago...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What's New?

Thought I might post a note on the latest and greatest around LUSB. We are currently in the process of weeding out inventories that are aging in the pet department and some discontinued styles in the craft world. All of this is in preparation for an upcoming move - we may have found our location for the future in Vancouver of all places. Stay tuned on that one as it is developing fast.

Our vacuum forming operation will be moving to our location in Stevenson, WA soon. This will add much needed capacity for our growth and alleviate some of the bottle neck we experience in our plastics department. I look for this to be ready come November 1.

We will be exhibiting at the International Quilt Market Show in November, as well as attending the Industrial Fabrics Assoc. trade show in October - where great ideas and new technologies are showcased for us to review! In addition, SHOT show is approaching fast - set your dates for January!

I also want to take a moment here to thank our wonderful employees, who through thick and thin, continue to push the envelope and build great solutions for our clients! Thanks, peeps - you mean the world to us!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sea Change

The US military has finally relented and moved off of the digital universal pattern that was so heavily invested in, and moved onto Multi-Cam (Crye) for future soldiers. It was announced widely this week that plants are maxing their capacities to produce the new FR pattern, and if you truly want to see a stimulus in industry here it is. The amount of production required by this move will be in itself a micro economy, although few ever realize it if you are not entrenched.

What does this mean?

The textile mills in the US will be mass-producing for the next 3-4 years to maintain the demand, and the fabricators and manufacturers of gear, uniforms, equipment, hardware, etc. will all be swept up into mix. Most of us in the gear manufacturing process have already integrated the new patterns into our production, and we foresee the next few years to be that of transition - similar to the transition to UCP in the early 00's. A small boon to the textile industry especially...

Look for Multi-Cam on a soldier near you, and thank him/her for their service.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Time to Relax

Summer flies by some years, this one included. Last year I was dreading major surgery in August, making each day seeming more precious as the event approached, allowing me to savor each moment prior to having my head cut open. I awoke today thinking about how I cherished my days last summer and realized that this summer, I have hardly stopped to blink, traveling from one show to the next and making tracks that zig-zag across the map. In this last bit of summer I will do my best to relax a bit, and enjoy what's left before fall drops by for the annual visit.

On another note, about 20 years ago I worked at KFOG radio in San Francisco as an intern. There were some cool perks to the job, like meeting musicians, working at concerts and events, and getting free promo CD's - yes, CD's - they're round, plastic things if you don't know! One of the remarkable talents I met was Chris Isaak, who I can tell you is as humble and kind a guy as you can meet. As I spend the next few weeks falling into a more relaxing mode, I'll be spinning Mr. Lucky for the soundtrack...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reno Warrior Conference

In Reno this week for the Warrior Conference to display some ideas and new thoughts...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Charburger Blues

Took the boys camping this weekend with my brother-in-law, niece and nephew. Awesome overnighter in the Mt. Hood National Forest - Fishing, smores, dirt, etc. On the way home today, we decided to try the famed Charburger in Hood River. After entering and being blasted with heat from the kitchen, we stood in line to order the simplest of meals - a few cheeseburgers, some chicken strips, root beers and fries. We sat and waited. And waited. Then we waited some more. All in all, 37 minutes 'til I couldn't take it anymore. I had to ask where order 61 was. As I approached the counter I overheard a waitress arguing with the cook about another order in peril, to which he responded 'I don't care, give them their money back.' She rolled her eyes and set a course to let the unfortunate folks complaining know they were set free of their prison sentence and good to go. This didn't bode well for me, either. I was told however, that our order was up and on it's way. Relief.

Order arrived, 3 baskets first, 3 to come, with one missing fries. The waitress left to get the truant deep fried taters, and shortly returned with the same basket, without fries. Seems from our table to the kitchen, all of 20 feet, something got in the way of her best intentions. The other three baskets were delivered, with a disclaimer on the chicken strips that 'one was missing, and the cook couldn't find it.' Really? How do you lose the strip? Did it run away from the bad service? Maybe it was embarrassed to be part of such a fiasco? I guess where I come from I wouldn't have explained that in a 10x10 kitchen someone lost a chicken strip (just put another in the oil pit of death OK?), but please stay tuned as we have an APB out on it now -Somewhere in Hood River our strip was on the loose!

The food was mediocre, at least what did arrive. Even the tardy fowl meat arrived, although we're not sure where he vanished to, and was watched closely by more than one of us at the table. Can't trust 'em I tell you.

We left a memento on the table - A plate with ketchup spelling out 'This Place Is Lame' - I know, I know, childish at best, but afterwards we laughed like mad at the whole event and left with a memory we won't soon forget...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Design Resource

OK, for those of you crafty types, if you don't already subscribe to Communication Arts you may wish to consider it. A standard among designers and creative agencies alike, this publication has provided many hours of enjoyable review over the last 10 years or so. An excellent resource for inspiration!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I saw an amazing presentation today by Dr. Bill Pike of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Dr. Pike launched into how the future of emergency response might look and operate, with a video presentation showing some remarkable concepts in technology assisted operability and interaction within the geospatial realm. I'll post the video as soon as I can find it!

The buffet was good, too.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Almost Primary Time!

Oh drat! I have to read my voter's pamphlet for the seemingly worthless candidate's statements and discover who wants to be a superior court judge (like I was following them?) While I cherish our right to vote, hold free elections, etc., this particular part of the process seems far too shallow for a true understanding of what will happen when these folks take office. However, there is one bright spot in all of Washington's elections - Goodspaceguy...

Yea, I said it, Goodspaceguy is a real dude. Known as a 10-time candidate supporting intergalactic travel and orbital living, this comic book character threw down the $1800 filing fee once again and got on the Washington state ballot. While his platform (levitating, no doubt) is 'out of this world,' I have to admire his tenacity and persistence in attempting to become elected - and of course for offering some levity to the mundane claims of 'I will fight for the public and say no to special interests' that we are more likely to nod our heads in agreement with. After all, this is what our country is all about, right?

Unfortunately, Goodspaceguy, I cannot with any clear resemblance of logic vote for you. Living on Mars may sound nice, but Earth seems crazy enough at times...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Many Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you for signing into Today's Creative Blog for the tote giveaway! We are excited to make this happen and look forward to many more offers like this in the future!

In other news, I thought this was an interesting tidbit today - seems luxury sales are forecast to take off according to an article in Yahoo! News today. The link was broken so please excuse me for not posting here. However, it stated a larger than forecast demand from Asia and Europe for luxury goods/brands, with an emphasis on craft brands. This could boast well for the US, however, based on the decline in consumer confidence reported this week perhaps we have multiple personalities among us... Oh well, we can keep ourselves company I guess.

Off to ride bikes and fly fish with the kids. Perfect weather today in the northwest. Love it here...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Bluefig Site Redesign

Long overdue, we are going to revamp within the next 60 days. Get ready you needle jockeys, it's coming!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sometimes a fresh set of eyes.

I was reminded today that I, nor anyone, has all the answers. We have long been struggling to develop a niche in a specific industry but have had a hard time getting traction. I decided this week that I would throw my stubborness to the side (temporarlily, probably) to ask some competitors their opinions. Sage advice came from the one group I most likely should have courted all along. They collaborated eagerly and gave me the right reason to continue, and the tough decisions I have to make don't seem so tough now.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The End of Customer Service

I have a wedding to go to this weekend, so I thought I better purchase a few new duds that aren't embellished with LUSB logos (enter shameless plug at wedding here.) I walked in to Nordy's, a standby for excellent service and always a fine choice for emptying the wallet. The men's department was empty, crickets making the only sound audible with the exception of a sporadic overhead page. With nary a representative around, I stumbled through the sparse offering, settling on a few selections before ambling around and dispensing of them as quickly as I found them. I spent nearly 20 minutes wandering, making eye contact with two representatives numerous times, even receiving a mildly cordial greeting. After an additional 5 minutes, I gathered my thoughts and scooted out the door.

Meeting up with my wife shortly after, we walked passed the men's store once again, where for some reason, we were treated as lepers once again. My wife bought a jacket which incited a smoldering argument between cashiers, ignoring the fact we were waiting patiently through this spat, and were handed our bag as a sendoff.

Somewhere, maybe due to recessionary tactics and sluggish retail sales, Nordstrom lost its way. I was literally shocked. For crying out loud, we were about the only people there tonight? And still we were treated like we had boogers on our foreheads. I expect more out out Nordstrom because they set the bar high, but it seems they have lowered the standard set so many years ago by the Nordstrom family. Or maybe, it was just a bad night to be shopping.

Either way, it reminds me that I need to do a better job in my own house, keeping a vigil at how we treat our customers and making our team stronger than ever. Lots to do tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Safety First...

Today was a great day for development on the safety side of things. Overall, we have our new lift-rated bags flying out the door right now as their unique hard shell and Dry-tight lid are making a splash, and for good reason. The key for us is to continue to innovate here, and not let ourselves get stagnant through the course of the day. Look for a few new styles to hit soon. We think you are gonna like 'em!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Barefoot Bandit

The kid finally was stopped. After some prolific theft, flying planes, evading the police and apparently vacationing in Bermuda, Colton is back in the pokey.

So what gives? His mom plays apologist and Facebook racks his fans in the thousands. He's a regular fugitive celebrity, like Natural Born Killers portrayed so many years ago. Are we that fascinated with some kid that makes bad choices? Oh wait, I forgot, he's misunderstood...

No sympathy here, just shear disappointment in our ability to reason right and wrong.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Congrats Espana! Now get to work...

My father's homeland, Spain, won the World Cup. My congrats go out to my far reaching tie to this country. Now, hopefully, the country can refocus and reunite to rebuild an economy in shambles, and an ever increasing dissension among provinces. Time to put some rubber on the road, Spain, not just more running of the bull...

Of course, what would a fine international event be without a horrid act by terrorists. Detonating bombs near innocent civilians is of course cowardly, and perhaps one of the most unintelligent, shortsighted ways of trying to build your case to the world, however, it is the world we live in now - unintelligent. Throughout history it has been shown that the ignorant and uninformed have routinely found ways to be acknowledged. The biggest question we should all be asking is, will we (insert world here) let them do this indefinitely, or find a way to educate the uninformed and offer them an alternative to this ridiculous, selfish behaviour?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Random News...

AP reported today that the health care legislation enacted a few months ago will result in longer waits and crowding at ER's due to insufficient capacity and shortage of GP's. Does this really come as a surprise? While training for new providers was announced in the legislation, it could be some time, and more importantly unknown, if their impact will solve the burden placed on health care providers (not insurance companies!) I haven't clearly defined my stance on this issue. I do believe that if one needs care, they should have access to it (not free access), however, the legislation did little to address tort reform and decreased Medicare coverages, so how could that possibly solve the problem? The jury is still out, and as with all legislation served up by our 'representatives' in Congress, I am skeptical...

Our continued involvement in manned space travel will end soon, stripping the number of astronauts from over 100 to less than 10 in a few years. The southern states of Florida & Alabama will lose many jobs as NASA shrinks towards robotic development, and Texas will see serious job loss near the space center. We'll be paying Russia, Japan, and European countries to fly our cargo and robotics into space, at a whopping $50k per 60kg. Isn't that outsourcing? The cardinal sin of campaigners? I'll agree that NASA has done a poor job of PR in the last say, 30 years, but to strip it down to an R&D lab is a bit much for me to understand.

Today I bury my father, Joseph Fernandez Macia, who died 7 years ago. We've waited too long to put him to rest, but the time is right and his spirit is living among the grandchildren and his family stronger than ever. I miss you Dad, wish we could spend one more day fishing together on the ocean, and share a laugh over a beer. You are truly missed and forever in our hearts...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Three blind refs.

The international focus is centered on South Africa, hosting the World Cup and those masters of their game, FIFA. The FIFA-rific referees are having an exceptional show, offering enough controversy to the games to gag a maggot, and leaving the collective onlookers scratching their heads as to why technology can't be used, frugally and judiciously, to avoid such gaffs and blunders. I mean, really - Would it be that big of a deal to have replay correct these mistakes? I guess since it is only 'sport' we are not too worried about it, or maybe it is just that much more fun to talk about.

I coach soccer. Little guy soccer, like 9 year old peeps. They run reckless across the field hogging the ball and forgetting the cross they learned in practice, finding the open man, and setting up an attack. They smile, laugh, trip, and get called for offsides when they are still struggling to learn to spell it. This is why I love soccer, but I can't take the professional (well, FIFA) circuit allowing such ridiculous omission of accuracy. It might be OK for the 9 year old, but at the adult level perhaps I expect a bit more.

We use technology to fix our mistakes at work, home, etc. We rely on tech to solve problems and increase efficiencies. We use it knowing it isn't perfect but holds the potential for future greatness. Why can't FIFA be the same? I can't answer that, and apparently, they won't either, as their self-imposed ban on commenting on bad officiating takes precedence over common sense.

Either way, I'm taking a week off for family business soon. I should be well engrossed in Argentina-Germany by Saturday. Face painted, scarves wrapping my head, and a bull horn that rivals Rosie O'Donnell. Let's just hope the refs keep to themselves and don't make the outcome of the game their folly.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Birth of a Galaxy

June 1st marked the official first day of management over Galaxy Mfg. (Stevenson, WA) by The Last US Bag Company. We were excited to get started at Galaxy, digging in deep to best understand what this new addition to our company meant to us. Galaxy has been a long-time producer of protective lead and lead-free solutions to the radiology industry. Innovation and a creative owner kept Galaxy growing at a moderate pace over the years, and we hope to continue to grow the company and the product lines it delivers. This also added a much needed opportunity to expand our facilities overall, which at this point are near capacity. Look for new innovation from Galaxy soon, along with a dynamic web site and new GM Bruce Patton.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oil Spill Creates Difficult Conundrum

Here's an ironic twist of events - The BP Oil Spill in the Gul is pumping oil out like Congress is spending money, and the mad rush is on for spill booms to help contain the mess. Most booms are made from PVC coated polyester, and the PVC they are made from is public enemy number one on the consumer end. Nike and other highly visible consumer companies have an all-out ban on the substance, which makes the use in this case somewhat ironic, since we are trying to limit an environmental disaster by producing something that is seen to be an environmental disaster. Hmmm.

This is very often the case, and regularly debated when humans attempt to mitigate their environmental impact - What we attempt to solve a problem with actually gives birth to another. Look at the hybrid car battery. While the impact of the emissions of the vehicle is reduced, the toxic disposal and creation of the battery spawns an entirely new set of complicated issues. We, as humans, tend to believe we have all the answers using science and our complex data models of information, yet we fail, or refuse, to admit that so often our theories and hypothesies are faulty. Take the ozone layer phenomena. Remember when the Earth wouldn't exist as we know it due to solar radiation? Well, now scientists are stating that human reduction of ozone depleting chemicals has helped stabilize the ozone, but has actually become a proponent of global warming - our newest poster-child for the masses.

There is no question we need to continue to find solutions to our problems, and a best effort using the tools of science and research are critical, however our egos need to be set aside, sensationalism reduced, the media controlled if possible, and the special interests put in their place. A huge task at hand I might add. Kind of like containing an oil spill.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The EU is PU (as in smelly, my friends)

Although we are sovereign to our currency (sort of), should we not concern ourselves with our own burgeoning debt crisis here in the US, we could undoubtedly end up in the tailspin the EU is experiencing now. While a few of the countries in the EU are driving the economic meltdown for the other participant countries, it reminds us of the old cliche - one rotten apple can spoil the bunch. Proponents of global currency ideologies ought to be concerned with the performance of such plans and the consequences they afford. Governmental spending has to be controlled, period. I am not sure how anyone can believe otherwise...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hi-Lo, Hi-Lo, off to retail we go...

A new client arrived yesterday. Their spirit was broken, but not lost altogether. Seems the last 2 years have been difficult to endure - diminished margins, mounting discounts, and a distributor to big-box played games with the little company with a big heart. The longer I look at their product, the more I imagine how such a great idea can have such a difficult , tumultuous path to the consumer.

The focus of my topic is to examine this phenomena of cyclical successes and apparent defeats we all go through during the course of bringing something to market. One thing is for sure - it is not easy. From the inception in the bathroom, or while driving along a lonely road on a sales trip, we get a great idea and can instantly picture it flying off the shelves at retail. Those of us in the fast-paced product development realm love the romantic nature of the biz, but we also realize, through experience and failures, that as fast as we process the development and deliver to retail, we can also lose all of that effort overnight by external forces out of our control. After talking to the client today, the emotions were apparent, the disappointment was evident, but the will and resolve nowhere near finished. Far more important than rehashing and grinding over the past, the client was ready to take a loss and move forward - a little lighter, but much wiser... When we experience the high of delivering our product to big-box, it is hard not be euphoric and celebratory. But we have to remember that it is just like a birthday - over in one day and followed by 364 days of normalcy. Those are the days that are most important to keep the euphoria, balanced by common sense and calculated decisions, and execute on the plan you set forward.

Next Post: The Plan

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I love Spring. I love the way new growth starts in nature and the business climate revs into gear. I love to hear the action in the office and the excitement we exude while pumping out new products.

Spring also means trade shows, product development meetings, product testing, design reviews, and major quality initiatives. If there is one thing that gets my goat, it's a lack of quality focus. When I find myself ignoring the minor details I know it is time to recharge the batteries and place a renewed emphasis on why it is we succeed as a company. Often, it is these little failures that make you realize the triumphs for what they are. Complacency is the evil twin of diligence. Throughout my day I remind myself that our customer, our total quality experience, and the privilege I have to serve our industry in whole are not inherently entitled.

Spring reminds me that every year breeds opportunity for new life. What will I do to do my part?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Where have we been?

Time flies when you're having fun. The last few months have been busy to say the least. Preparing for shows, developing new products, meeting new people, and learning more about the way we do business. After SHOT this year we regrouped, circled wagons, and sought out the focus we kept so much of last year, all while seeing other opportunities on the horizon. So what's new?

After about 7 years, we are finally putting our 25 year old embroidery machine to bed for good. She ran hard(ly) and seldom complained (except when she was running.) It was time for an upgrade, and along comes the newest Tajima to the family - A 6 head darling with flames and a 454...

Life in 3D. We recently acquired some new technology to help promote our design services - In a few months we should be producing more accurate 3d model representations prior to hitting the cutting room floor. The goal is to save some 2d design work that is costly and slow, thus improving our performance.

Vacuum formed composites. After years of requests, I just couldn't hold back any longer. We built our first prototype and are already folding 3 new designs into our products. Good work indeed! You should be able to see those soon on the site!

The fun won't stop there. We seem to be turning over a lot of rocks lately, and assuming we don't fall into the political crossfire right now, 2010 looks to be a great year!

Monday, January 25, 2010

SHOT Show, Part Deux

We returned a bit weary from a full week of meetings, introductions, presentations, and rare opportunities to just sit and relax. The show was in all, a success, however I must say that it's size is overwhelming at times and a bit confusing due to the nature of the Sands Convention Center. All were relieved to return unharmed, and ultimately, inspired.

The outlook is positive in the outdoor world, with many companies going above and beyond their normal offering at the show. Behemoth booths and striking detail in merchandise presentation made for a great experience. A lack of tasteless promotion made the week palatable indeed, as did the quality of merchandise offered. Most reported a strong year with an even stronger predicted, and some were as bold as to say their best was just beginning. I might not go that far, however, I can see a strong vector moving in that direction for us as well...

Friday, January 8, 2010

SHOT Show, sans cheerleaders...

Oh the humanity. Should we or should we not hire the often tried and true feminine profile to augment our booth and attract a greater audience? To use a bad pun here - I can't pull the trigger.

Hiring the intentionally uninformed eye candy may have inherent advantages for some, however I might contend that the service it provides does not necessarily meet the goals of the company in hiring such decoration. What does it say about your company? That you will knowingly employ superficial attractive devices in lieu of informed, experienced personnel that will actually speak with knowledge and informed verse? Hmm...

I was conversing with my buddy, also attending the SHOT Show this coming week, which stated he would be employing some of the aforementioned delights at the show. Even more alarming, he was asking his fiancee to do the 'flashy' work. Double whammy. When in Vegas, I guess...

We are attending with the sole purpose of working with our existing clientele, meeting new opportunities, and rekindling dormant conversations that could use an infusion of enthusiasm. Not to mention, spending a week in close confines with our colleagues and co-workers. If we can make it through this week, we can make it through any week. We'll make sure we keep our eye on the prize, and our heads down when the girls walk by...