Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Jean Genie

So the next question in this quest is to see if there are any old textile mills that could be put back into operation.  The criteria here is that they must be able to produce cotton denim fabric of at least 18 oz, but more would be better.  They should also be able to produce jersey knit fabric, and a lightweight denim or standard shirting weight fabric.  It may be that two mills will have to be located.  They should also be near the primary source of material if possible, so for cotton that would be south of the Mason Dixon line.

I am also looking at a woolen mill, but that is something completely different, although related.

Once the fabric is sourced, made and ready for production, it will be necessary to find a factory that can produce the products.  There has to be some old clothing factories that would have most of the tooling for the purposes of making jeans, t-shirts, and button down shirts, or maybe two or three would have to be put to use.   Machines can be brought back to life, and new dies made if necessary, so that it can produce a quality pair of jeans, decent t-shirts, and decent denim and cotton button down shirts.  They all have to be located in the USA, and preferably not far from where the fabric is produced.

Again woolen factories will be used to produce wool goods in the same manor.

The design work will be a process of development from current patterns, and working from those with the materials to create the perfect pairs of jeans.  Once that is done, other sources will be found for the metal pieces, and lastly new patterns and dies will be made to produce the jeans, t-shirts, and button shirts.  Everything will be sourced from the USA and made in the USA and sold through an online web site, as well as possible retail channels.

One thing that will not happen is the cost can not exceed the original estimate, so deals will have to be made, and profits forfeited if necessary to ensure that the cost remain constant, and the workers remain paid a decent wage for their work.

Let us say I did this, and I could make $.01 per pair, or that is what I want to make per pair sold.  Okay, if we sell 1000 pairs of jeans per month that is $10.00 in clear profit per month.  If we sell 100,000 pairs, well you see where this is going.  It is all about selling good quality jeans at a reasonable price, and making sure that the workers get enough that they can afford to buy the products they make.

This model can be used for most products, and once it is done once, it can be repeated, it only requires someone to start it.  I think crowd funding may be the answer to at least getting this plan underway.  I will look into that, and see what can be done, while I continue to work on the plan, along with all the other things I am doing, so do not expect that it will be done anytime soon, but eventually.


From the If It Is Good Enough For Me Category 6262015

This one is straight from the if it is good enough for me category.

I have been looking for a pair of "jeans" lately.  What I want is a pair of Levi® 501™ button fly jeans unwashed, with a boot cut, like I used to get.  Not going to happen, they do not make them anymore.

So now I am stuck with either accepting what they make, or getting something else.  Well I also have another option, that is buying some jeans at the thrift stores, but that is only a temporary solution at best.  Second best option is buying the jeans made for Tractor Supply Company®, but they are again just a stop gap, not the real choice.  The true choice is to make my own.

I have some criteria I am very serious about.  One they have to be of good weight material, at least 16 oz denim, but 18 to 22 oz would be better.  They have to be unwashed.  Why unwashed, well because I want them to wear longer, so I do not want them to be pre-washed improperly.  The pockets  have to be riveted.  They need to be 100% cotton.  They have to be made in USA with materials sourced in the USA, including the dye.  I want them only in one color, indigo, the trouble is that true indigo is only available from india, so I may have to let that one go to get the material I want.

I also want to state here that this is not about the "Raw Denim" movement.  I can see that argument, but it is not what I am talking about.  What I want is a pair of jeans that will wear rough, and be good for day to day work.  They should be cut to fit,, over the boot, and be easy to wear without being baggy in the saddle.  I did not and still do not like "carpenter" jeans for that very reason, they were always so baggy.  I do not want a second skin also, I want them to fit me the way they should and still be worn all day, everyday, and not bind or cut.  Granted for best results it is best to only wash them carefully, in cold water, with sale and vinegar, maybe some lye soap if there is a difficult stain, or just not worry about it, and they should preform well even if wash normally and worn normally for work.  That is the point they should wear and wash and be tough all through that process.  Yes they should last for a few years, depending on your work load demands.

They should also be reasonable.  A working stiff can only afford so much for clothing, so their clothes should not only perform well, but they should also be reasonable to purchase in the first place, and be reasonable to replace when they wear out as well.

I think a reasonable cost today for a pair of jeans is $14.00 per pair.  Now that may be difficult to achieve using traditional methods of manufacturing and employment, but it should not be impossible either.  For one thing, the profit margin on a pair of jeans across the channels should not be more than 2-5%.  If you are making 20% or even 12% on a pair of jeans, you are adding too much to the cost of the production.

If you are operating a machine that makes jeans, an industrial sewing machine, or even the loom that weaves the cloth, or the punch machine that makes the rivets, you should not expect to make much more than a living wage.  Sure you should be able to afford to purchase jeans for your family, but if you earn too much, you will also cost too much, and then the cost will be too high for you to purchase the jeans you make.

I do not know the logistics of it, yet, but along the way I will figure it out, and I am pretty certain that as long as greed does not become a factor, they can be made for less than $15.00 a pair, most likely less than $7.00 a pair.  Now if the store that sells them can not be happy with $1.00 per pair, and the people that make them can not be happy with $1.00 per pair, and so on and so forth, then there is a problem with that, not with the reality of the making of jeans.

We all know by now that I can not get through an entire thought, and that really this subject would take far too much to do in one post.  I have done a lot of research, and am still doing some, but suffice to say that it is not only possible to make and sell a quality pair of jeans under $15.00, but it is profitable too.  I am not saying it would be cheap, it would be expensive to start, and it might take a few years to pay those profits out, but it would put a lot of people to work, it would provide a good quality product that ordinary people could afford, even the people working for the company, and it would put on the market a good quality pair of jeans that would be good enough for me.