I’m pretty excited for the Wreck-It Ralph sequel that is coming out in just a few days. While reminiscing about the first movie, and all the characters and their jobs, it occurred to me that we are often called on to be the Fix-It Felix of the apparel manufacturing world. But instead of a hammer, we use sewing machines. And usually a lot of seam rippers.
It most often occurs when an overseas production order has an error (or two) and shipping it back would be too costly and take too much time to even consider. Sometimes it happens with a domestic manufacturer, and things ended badly or the factory is refusing to fix what the client feels is an error. It stinks, but it happens, probably more often than most emerging fashion designers would care to know. But the good news is, there is often a fix of some kind that can be made to save the order.
We have taken in dress shirts, untwisted the sewn-on handles on cross-body bags and switched out lots and lots of labels. (Not sure why mislabeling happens as often as it does.)
Sometimes the solution isn’t readily apparent. But that’s exactly why we are there: to provide options, and often get really, really creative in the way we approach a job.
An acquaintance once referred to this type of work as Oops Manufacturing. I did a bit of Googling to see if this was an actual industry term, and couldn’t find anything to support it, but it is a great name for this type of work. Oops happens. It just does. Even if you are very organized and have tight processes in place, sometimes mistakes get made. If you are lucky enough to be in close proximity of your factory, it should be easy enough to get the product back there to have the issue fixed for free. But, as I noted above, there are plenty of reasons why that scenario is not going to happen. Having access to a factory that rocks at creative problem solving is the next best option. That’s how you will get your issue fixed in the quickest possible way for the least amount of money. And you’ll get samples to ensure that you are happy with your new-new finished product.
From the first Wreck-It Ralph, this line explains Oops Manufacturing best for us:
“It may not be as fancy as being president, but it’s my duty, and it’s a big duty.”