My little sister, Sara, is a doctor who just graduated from Columbia Medical School in New York City – she started a side business with her husband, Mason, called Lil’ Monkey Designs — the company designs and manufacturers baby carriers.
This is their first product – The Kangi.
What is cool is that they did a little market research and came up with two styles that fits NYC’s bi-polar populous: (1) leather (upper west side NYC); and (2) leopard skin (lower east side NYC).
Also, interestingly enough, they went with a manufacturer in the USA rather than outsource to China — my lil’ sister told me it was “…cheaper…” and “…allowed for a faster turn around time…”.
This got me to thinking about the fast retailing (not to be confused with Japanese retailing giant Fast Retailing) trend that made fashion retailer Zara, well Zara. According to an article on Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge website:
This “fast fashion” system depends on a constant exchange of information throughout every part of Zara’s supply chain—from customers to store managers, from store managers to market specialists and designers, from designers to production staff, from buyers to subcontractors, from warehouse managers to distributors, and so on. Zara’s organization, operational procedures, performance measures, and even its office layouts are all designed to make information transfer easy.
It makes sense that the Mainland’s fashion retailers would eventually adopt a similar strategy given the crazy amount of competition and access to abundant manufacturing base (even if a majority of capacity is allocated to manufacturing exports).
Maybe Sara and Mason are on to something — maybe they represent a growing trend in the US (foreshadowing China) — localization.