Why are you manufacturing in China?
This is a really good question, and frankly, it’s one that we asked ourselves many times as we were thinking about launching this business. Despite how much we wanted to produce our clothing in the US, the reality is that the numbers are just not viable for a small start up business like ours. We could have never done this without the advantages of offshore production.
For that reason, it’s rare to find clothes that are made in the US. In fact, according to the American Apparel and Footwear Association, 97.3% of all clothing sold in the US is manufactured outside of the country. China alone makes more than 33% of the clothes sold in the US. Perhaps the dynamics of the market will change one day and allow small companies to produce profitably inside the US. Until then, offshore production will, of necessity, be the norm.
But that’s not all. It’s also about the workers . . .
But pricing is only one of the reasons we chose the manufacturing resources we did. We wanted to make sure that our products were being made in places where employees were well treated and worked in an environment that was healthy and productive. So, we actually visited these factories. We’ve walked the factory floors and spoke with the management—and the workers. We were so impressed! They were clean, well-lit, modern factories with up to date equipment and skilled workers. They take pride in what they are doing and were grateful that they had been selected to produce our clothing. They would rival anything we would expect to see in the US.
Most of your clothes are made of polyester. Didn’t that fabric go out with the 70’s?
This is another great question we get quite frequently. One of the main things we were adamant about when we started this adventure is that we would use fabrics that were affordable, durable, comfortable and convenient for our customers. To borrow a phrase, “this isn’t your mother’s polyester”. Today’s polyester is radically different than what was popular in the 70’s or even later. High quality polyester—which is all that we use—is long lasting, keeps it’s brilliant colors wash after wash and won’t shrink.
Plus, it can be soft and comfortable and resists wrinkling. In fact, you could have a table full of 100% polyester fabrics and each would feel and look entirely different. The weight, the weave, woven, looped, length of fibers, density of fibers all play a major part in the finished product. Synthetic properties are highly desired in active wear because it will make the fabric lightweight and stretch easily.
And, because it's a synthetic fabric it also resists stains—perfect for a busy mom. While we don’t recommend it, you can subject our clothing to all kinds of abuse and it will keep its shape and color and look great for a very long time.
How come your prices are so high?
Honestly, pricing is tough for a small business like Bollie. We can’t produce our products in the same kinds of quantities that Target or Walmart or any of the giant retailers or brands do. The advantages of large production runs are nonexistent for us. We pay more per unit at every stage of the production process. So, we will never be able to compete on price with some of your favorite discount retailers.
Plus, our clothing is custom. That means we have designed the patterns in the fabric and the look of the finished piece. That also adds to the price of production. We’re not buying someone else’s design and production run and slapping our label on it. If you buy a Bollie Brand dress, no one else is going to show up at your party in the same dress—unless they also bought it at BollieBrand.com
We were very careful in pricing our products. We wanted to make sure that we were competitive with similar quality products while still having enough margin to grow our business and keep producing clothing that meets the needs of moms everywhere. It’s a fine line to walk. We hope we’re doing it well.