Leilani, our Product Designer, showing the ladies at our production facility the many ways to style the Journey Shawl to much delight
On Wednesday, May 14th, the KOOSHOO team arrived back in Canada following a very successful and exciting 3 week manufacturing trip to Los Angeles. We went to LA to work closely with our very talented manufacturing team to oversee the production of the new Journey Shawls (and new headbands).
Below we've put together a blog to give you some insight into the production process and provide a timeline to all our Kickstarter backers (as well as those that have pre-purchased on our website) on when you can expect to receive your products. If you have any questions that aren't resolved below please leave a comment on this blog post and we'll follow up immediately. If you'd prefer to reach out directly you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back in March around the midway point of our very successful Kickstarter campaign
to introduce the Journey Shawls, we did a little math to calculate just how much Tencel (the sustainably-harvested-Eucalyptus fiber) we would need for the Journey Shawls. We projected outwards to anticipate how the Kickstarter campaign would end as well as how many units we expected to sell through our website, www.kooshoo.com
Once we had our numbers we got in touch with our regular fabric supplier in downtown Los Angeles, a family run business that we've worked together with since the outset of KOOSHOO. We placed an order for the Tencel, knowing that lead times to turn yarn to fabric typically take 3 to 4 weeks. We then went ahead and placed orders for all additional materials - buttons, labels, travel bag materials (organic cotton muslin, cord, screen printing) and scheduled time with our dye house and production team to ensure we were in their respective calendars.
All natural buttons, ready for their Journey Shawls
Everything was right on schedule.
To get to LA this time we chose to drive. The drive from Vancouver, BC, where we call home, is 2 very long days, or 3 more relaxed days. We drove down over a weekend so that we would be working together with our team first thing Monday morning. We had planned to begin dyeing immediately on Monday. On Saturday evening we received an email from our production manager - essentially the linchpin of the whole team in LA - notifying that there was an irregularity in the Tencel that we had bought. Here's what the email said:
"I was scheduled to cut the Journey Shawls yesterday morning but when we began to spread the fabric that was delivered this past Monday we noticed that it is damaged, we inspected the rolls and they're all damaged. I suggest you contact your supplier immediately for return and replacement after your inspection and confirmation of the problem."
Not quite the start we were hoping for!
Monday morning we arrived at our facility bright and early to see the fabric first hand. The fabric was spread over the cutting tables and we were shown a repeating yarn irregularity that was occurring throughout all the rolls. The cutting manager on hand, working off 30 years experience, told us that the fabric was usable but he wouldn't advise it. The issue is that when dyed, the piles of denser yarn (pictured) would accumulate additional dye and create stress on the fabric, which could result in holes and discoloration.
The Tencel irregularities, highlighted by the red circles
We had a decision to make: 1) Move forward with the current fabric and hope that the densities wouldn't be an issue during dyeing or 2) find new fabric and start over.
For us the decision was easy. The quality and integrity of these products is absolutely paramount to us. The only challenge though was we were at the end of April and looking at another 3-4 week lead time for fabric.
So we got to work. We called and visited with as many fabric manufacturers as we could in the greater Los Angeles area, hoping to find a solution. Eventually those prayers were answered as we found a wonderful fabric supplier making the exact same Tencel and who happened to have on hand exactly the yardage we were needing. It was a mini miracle.
Personally ferrying Tencel between dye houses
Just to be certain, we took a sample cutting of it and worked together with our dye house to dye the Journey Shawls on the new fiber. One thing we have learnt in this business is that dyeing is much more art than science and it's best to test everything over and over (and then over again) before moving forward.
In the end the tests came back wonderfully and the samples in each color look absolutely incredible. We couldn't be more proud of how these products are looking.
Despite the happy outcome there was a consequence to the faulty fabric - we got bumped from scheduled production time and the result is a slight delay in delivery times. The flipside is that that delay is a fraction of what could have been and the fabric is now perfect.
We've managed to work together with our teams to break the production into 2 halves - ensuring that half the shawls are finished close to date, and the other half 2 weeks later according to the delay. The delivery timelines will be as follows:
- Black, White & Grey Journey Shawls - These will be finished by Monday, June 2nd. It takes 1 week to have them enter our distribution system (also in LA) so these will ship by or before June 10th.
- Blue & Purple Journey Shawls - These will be finished by Monday, June 16th. With the 1 week needed to arrive in distribution, these will ship by or before June 24th.
We are working very closely with our team to do anything we can to see these dates bumped up.
To be certain of quality, we spent 3 hours hand inspecting every Journey Shawl
In the meantime we've gotten busy shipping out all the Kickstarter packages that we can. Below is a breakdown of where each package currently stands:
- Package 1 (thank you postcard + Balinese Wish Bracelet): SHIPPED
- Package 2 (thank you postcard + Balinese Wish Bracelet + LILA hairties): SHIPPED
- Package 3 (thank you postcard + Balinese Wish Bracelet + Headband): SHIPPED (the only exception is for those who requested a Black ENSO Batik. These will ship next week)
- Package 4 (thank you postcard + Balinese Wish Bracelet + Headband + LILA Hairties): SHIPPED (the only exception is for those who requested a Black ENSO Batik. These will ship next week)
- Package 5 (thank you postcard + Balinese Wish Bracelet + 2 Headbands + LILA Hairties): SHIPPED (the only exception is for those who requested a Black ENSO Batik. These will ship next week)
- Package 6 (1 Journey Shawl): Black, White, Grey shipping June 10th; Blue, Purple shipping June 24th
- Package 7 (2 Journey Shawls): As soon as both colors are ready they will be shipped
- Package 8 (thank you postcard + Balinese Wish Bracelet + Headband + LILA Hairties + 1 Journey Shawl): As soon as your Journey Shawl is ready, whole package will be shipped
- Package 9 (5 Journey Shawls): As soon as all 5 colors are ready they will be shipped
Kickstarter packages 1 through 5 going out with lots of personal love and attention
We'd like to take this moment to apologize for the change of arrival time. Please know that we are doing everything in our power to deliver the best possible products in the best possible time. And from what we've seen, these Journey Shawls are going to be well worth the wait.
Wishing each and every one of you a wonderful weekend,
Jesse, Rachel & Leilani (team KOOSHOO)