Friday, October 11, 2013

The Untouchables

Back to D.C. where it appears no lawmaker is accountable. We'll just chalk this last one up to both parties playing, well, party politics. I have zero respect for where they have taken this country, and frankly, emphatically encourage term limits as a priority. Enough on that depressing topic.

The World Series is almost here and I still wonder why it is called the 'World' Series at all. we only have 2 countries represented in Canada and the US. At least the LLWS brings in some foreign talent.

The NFL is in full swing, and the most recent article on concussions in ESPN the magazine is a great read on how they, too, are untouchable in so many ways.

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded this week. Ironically one of the largest chemical weapons attacks occurred this year under the entire scrutiny of the world, and little has been to bring that regime to a form of justice.

News travels fast and dies just as quickly. We're already forgetting what we were arguing about a year ago.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Well, If Anything...

I'm consistently inconsistent posting here. Having a hard time pontificating on much of anything these days, other than the shutdown of our basically already shutdown government. Either side, you're a mess, and you fail to adequately represent the views of more than just your own. What a mess.

As for the textile world, much has been happening and the plant is very busy. We have to thank our many clients for the consistent work these days and give a big hoorah! to the team.

Star of the Week: our R&D department. Hands down pushed out some monsters this week. Great work!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Jurgen Klinsmann

Sometimes, things take time. Transforming an entity into success can be overwhelming, tiring, but ultimately, very satisfying. The USMNT is doing just that. It took the right leader, with the right planning and directive, and the team has finally come around. While we're only talking about one year, against perhaps some raw opponents, it was only a few months ago that JK was the scorn of many and seemingly hanged in the court of public opinion. What it illustrates is that not all successes are immediate. In fact, most are not. Many fail time and time again before seeing the fruits of their labor. Don't be discouraged, charge on, and commit yourself to success.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Yes, Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

Since you all (both) have been anxiously awaiting the return of nonsensical pontification on this site, I wanted to let you know I am back in the swing of thought and the pen is smoking hot. While the country attempts to find a way to prosperity by refusing to get things done in Congress, we minions of manufacturing swing our hammers to build what the US, and the world for that matter, need to get by.

My absence was a mix of reorganizing, shifting, and general transition for the business into a new model for the future. What we are setting out to accomplish will make us a better run organization, and most importantly, more valuable to our clients purpose as well. Look for new enhancements to our web sites, better control of our processes, redeveloped manufacturing processes, and a whole lot more. What makes me happy is that coming back strong into the mix rekindles the excitement of a new project, similar to start-up mode.

Random thought:

In an effort to be current, I can't help but offer this advice to Aaron Hernandez, former Patriots tight end. Dude, seriously? You inked a $40 million dollar contract this year and you're connected to a murder? Let me offer this advice - Our country is one of the few in the world where these opportunities exist, so respect the rare luxury you were afforded and be an upstanding, contributing member of society. Remove yourself from the bad seeds and errant influences, and be thankful. I'll bet some time in the pokey might give you just the time you need to think it over.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


The new buzzword is officially hip. The Prez likes it, the talking heads are expanding on it, and the public is promoting it. And the funny thing is, the Chinese are doing it, too...

I was speaking to a supplier of mine recently. He is an American citizen of Chinese descent, educated at USC and living near LA. He has a blossoming business in China, opening yogurt shops in major cities while continuing factory work near Hong Kong to produce consumer goods for eventual sale in the US. He is an honest, hard working guy with a beautiful family and thriving businesses. I asked him why US companies were frustrated with Chinese production, moving product back to the US, and he said it was because the Chinese just don't need that commerce as much as they used to. They are thriving on domestic indulgence, no longer relying on foreign entities (well, not as much) and building their own economy right in their backyard. No nit-picky US producer wondering why the factory hasn't hit six-sigma black belt levels in quality. No pesky emails in the middle of the night complaining about delivery. No exchange rate to haggle with. No tax problems to run from. No quota or export license to deal with. In all honesty, I can't say I blame them. We'd do the same thing.

Years ago, when I first traveled to China. I realized how interconnected we were with other countries. I worked in textiles looking for a low cost alternative to the wages paid in the US. We were always looking for that new frontier. Better, faster, cheaper. What we got might have been all that, but we got a whole lot more as well that we didn't want, or realize we would get. We found out that trading our higher wages for down-and-dirty low was attractive, but it came at a higher price when we realized the conditions those folks worked in. We found we could make things better (sort of,) but only because we allowed the environment to suffer. We discovered we could build it faster with hundred of works focused on it, but none trained properly to do the job right. The difference between work cultures was large and the expectations we dictated not necessarily achievable, but we were on a mission to get what we wanted. The unfortunate thing was we traded problems. Now we just have to travel 10k miles and stay up all night to deal with them.

I am excited to keep our jobs and product in the US. Not because anyone wants to hurt the Chinese, but because we are helping ourselves. Sounds like they are doing the same thing. Perhaps the next time I travel to China I will go to see the Great Wall, eat duck blood soup in an open market in Shanghai, and cross the Yangtze in a river boat cruise complete with music and food. And not once will I care about what is being produced, because it won't make that much difference.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Dog Has A Facebook Page

Yep. Chance, my dog, the family dog, browses the friend web on FB whenever he gets the chance. Well, whenever his assistant logs in for him, on account he's a dog, and can't read, write, or do much of anything beyond that which a dog does. While this may seem ridiculous, and it is, somehow humans are determined to personify our pups and make them our peers.

I am not sure when I fell off the truck and hit my head, allowing this to happen, but I can tell you I really don't mind it at all. If this is the worse of my offenses, so be it, I don't think I'm offending too many people.

the moral of this story is that we all have our quarkiness, and as long as we are not injuring orinsulting others, I think most can be forgotten as quickly as recognized.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I Dont Golf Much, But David Feherty Might Change That Plan...

It was some time ago when my dear friend Joe Vacossin (RIP Jo-Jo) introduced me to the Golf channel. There is nothing more unbelievably boring to me than 24 hours of golf programming, however, I have always loved the game and admire the many characters involved, so I force myself on occasion to visit this often ignored channel. During one of my forced watching events that I discovered the Feherty show - A lighthearted, often comical and self-deprecating interview platform between Mr. Feherty himself and a target of his affection. While golf seems to be a common thread, the show itself goes far beyond the boredom of back swing and putting, and dives deep into the personalities that Mr. Feherty chats with - flaws and all. I believe it is one of the more brilliant shows on TV today. The show has also reminded me that golf is a great platform for rekindling and strengthening relationships, and the game itself is less important than the lives you surround yourself with while playing.

That being said, I still remember my first day on an 18 hole course. I was paired with my friend Zac, himself an avid golfer and moving quickly towards proficient, when we were introduced to a couple of vintage players that would complete our foursome. They were a seemingly nice couple and we began play as you would. By the 3rd hole it was clear to me that the husband was less than a gentleman. Seeing my lack of ability on the course roused his anger and he let a few tirades go like a child might when a toy is taken away. Not sure how I was supposed to be good at the game, or at least his assumption that I might be, since it was my first day on a true 18. I did my best to cobble some shots together and reach the green, only to be disappointed by my putter, and his further disdain. His wife was cordial, often joking and pleasant, and I was aware that his temper did not serve her liking as well. After one errant putt he let out a strong curse, swung his club angrily at the ball, and walked away in disgust. I could not help think that was somehow his reaction to him enduring my ineptitude. We did not see either of them after the turn. Bummer.

My initial impression of the 18 hole grind may not have been great, however, my love for the game grew over time and my swing and game improved, although marginally. I left the game when moving to the north west as I didn't see much hope in soggy lawns and wet windy days improving my low position in the world rankings, however, I have rekindled that interest almost unbelievably so just by listening to David Feherty make it sound fun again.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Recent Trends

Lots of recent trends in the bag market this year are bringing heritage style and design to the forefront of the market. Retailers cannot keep the vintage turn-of-the-century look in stock, and developers are clamoring for raw materials that inspire and dedicate to the theme and memory of such time-honored design.

Leather, waxed cotton, canvas, and wool felts are hugely popular and turning heads. Forged and antique hardware sets are making the rounds, as well as industrial stamped findings with special finishes. More and more capability is placed at the hands of young designers with the surge of inexpensive prototyping services available and the accessibility of technology in fabrication available to everyone.

Kickstarter is making an impact in our industry. This crowd-funding vehicle is spawning upstart companies everywhere, with a rapid development time and fun atmosphere. I encourage those looking for an organic way of funding your venture to look into this!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Early Spring!

The groundhog has spoken, and it looks like he feels an early spring will arrive this year. Great! I wonder what else that little ball of fur and teeth can predict? Maybe we should ask him the following:

Mr. Phil;

Can you please predict the outcome of tomorrow's Super Bowl? I would surely appreciate it if you could sway your decision in the favor of the 49ers. I might believe you more often if this one request came true. Oh, and perhaps I'll stop smoke bombing your buddies in my yard if you are right. But if you are wrong? Well, let's just say cousin Mike the Mole might be racing his little but towards a long sleep this spring.


In other news, I read this morning that some major retailers are shutting down stores across the country. I know this might sound odd, but I have never seen the need for so many redundant occurrences of these retail stalwarts anyway. I remember when I was a kid we had to drive to get to a specific store. There was usually only one or two in the whole region. Now, we have 2-3 Starbucks on just about every block, Office Depot's galore, and a host of others still haunting the hoods for that lone patron to appear. Best Buy scaled back too late, in my opinion because it lost any value to most of us. at my local store, the experience was poor, the staff discourteous, and the merchandise often being dismissed in exchange for a high price additional warranty. they should have just sold warranties, because that's about the only thing they provided with any effort.

It's time to scale back. Get these retailers to live within their means and tell stockholders that they aren't the only reason for existence. While shareholder value means continued investment, it shouldn't mean that the ultimate funding source, the consumer, should be punished.

Also today, the ILA strike looms again. Another extortion attempt with crippling effects. Sorry, but I have no sympathy for those port folks making in most cases over $70k a year and still complaining. That's ridiculous - You're making more than most teachers. Be thankful for what you have, and not greedy for what you want. You do realize that when you strike, shut down a port, and impede others ability to conduct commerce you further strangle those making less than you - those working for less at retail and in the service sector that rely on these goods to be delivered. Did it occur to you that leveraging them unwillingly might be a bit demonstrative?

I wonder what Phil might predict about the ILA strike? Let's ask him.