Production report: August 2019

The Production Report is a periodic installment of our triumphs and struggles as a tiny American microbusiness. Want to know how your order, specifically, is doing? Check our Wait Time page!

Hiya, shapeshifters!

As you may have heard, we moved last month!

It was a lot!

Even though the physical distance was barely down the hall, the sheer amount of heavy equipment, fabric rolls, working tables, and office miscellany was overwhelming. If we hadn’t had the help and support of our amazing local Vermonter community, we’d probably still be unpacking. Instead, we got everything done over one Friday and one Monday in early July! Hooray!

Of course, making things in a new space always means a lot of re-organization. We’ve been rebuilding our production time all month, and every week I find something new that needs to be revamped. It’s pretty wild. When it’s done, we’ll be faster than ever — and it’s nearly done — but right now we’re in that last uphill slog.

More concretely: our shop runs on weekly batches. Every week, we add 50-55 new garments to the stack currently in production. So every week, in theory, we ship 50-55 garments out! Simple, right?

But there’s always hiccups. Sometimes a fabric shipment is late, either on our side or the supplier’s. Sometimes someone makes a mistake in data entry and what’s supposed to be a sports bra gets made as a binder. Sometimes you’ve just moved everything and the serger’s thread tension is completely out of whack and you have to spend awhile fine-tuning it like it’s an old piano.

So in reality, on some weeks, we add 55 new garments, ship 50, and there’s 5 from last week that need changes or re-doing or were waiting on fabric, so we have to make 60.

This is one of those weeks.

One reason we moved was to get a new machine in the space. That machine has arrived, which is wonderful! It’s another beast of an industrial serger, five-thread, everything we needed. Except… it needs a parts replacement before we can use it without skipping stitches all over the place. Ugh. Parts are on the way, but operation Make More Binders And Reduce Wait Times needs this machine running to get off the ground. In the meantime we’re making an oversized batch this week, trading off shifts at the one running machine, and keeping pace as best we can.

I’m really proud to say that we’re nearly done with orders in the 5400s, and we just started the first orders placed in July. Current wait times are holding steady at 6-7 weeks. I can’t wait to get this new machine’s teeth in so we can name it, use it, and cut that time down.