Archive for October, 2011

The only rider specific jeans worth riding

October 28, 2011

The other day we were on the receiving end of an email blast from one of our cycling apparel colleagues based across the pond in Merry ol’ England.

While we certainly admire their brand and products, I must admit we got a good chuckle out of the wording chosen to describe their new cycling jeans.

“The only rider-specific jeans worth talking about.”

It was the talking about part that got us laughing. I suppose we should talk more about our jeans, especially since we’re “fashionable” enough to have already done a special edition for Barney’s, but when we get a nugget of free time we’d much rather get out for an actual ride than sit around like an aspiring epic catalog model sipping an espresso down at the local coffee shop and talking about maybe going for a ride.

That being said, let’s talk jeans!

Our new Cordura Denim Jeans have been selling so well you’d think we were stuffing the pockets with Unicorn Bacon before shipping them out.  Of course a year’s worth of selling well for us probably translates to an average week for the big blokes.
Still, that’s OK because as a company we’re right where we want to be. When we started out, to say we were tiny is an understatement. Six years later we’ve grown enough to become respectably small and our plan is to keep chugging along at a nice, controlled pace.

Moving into a building of our own last summer was a huge step that gives us a solid home base with plenty of room for future growth.

The other big step was our Cordura Jeans. They were a big commitment for us and a project a year in the making but we believed in them and it thrills us to see how well they’ve been received.

That being said, here’s our answers to the most frequently asked questions we’ve been getting about the jeans.

The Cordura jeans are made in Pakistan. What’s up with that?

This one’s a two-parter:

1. Cordura’s stretch denim is such a new product for Cordura there’s currently only one factory licensed to produce it and that factory happens to be in Pakistan. The minimum amount of material we could purchase was so high it wouldn’t have been feasible for us to try and make them ourselves so we had the factory to go ahead and take care of the manufacturing as well.

Our beliefs in fair labor and a decent working environment don’t end when we walk out the door so we did all we could to vet the factory. It’s a WRAP certified facility.  WRAP is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the certification of lawful, humane and ethical manufacturing throughout the world. In addition we hired the same third party inspectors used by Patagonia to ensure everything is on the up and up.

The quality of the jeans is fantastic. Putting our design into the hands of someone else halfway across the world had us more than a little nervous. If you looked close at the nitty gritty details, you’ll find the quality is better than what we can do ourselves. They’ve been specializing in denim for years and have all the proper machinery and expertise that eclipses us.

We do feel good about using this factory and we feel supporting industry in a country like Pakistan can only be good in the long run. It offers people good jobs and stability in a country where such things can make a vast difference in people’s lives.

2. The end result of all of this is a finished product that is a lot less expensive than we could make in-house. While $100 for a pair of jeans is by no means inexpensive, we hope the inherent durability will offset the initial buy-in. As long as your “buddy” doesn’t turn on you and stuff you into a wood chipper while you’re wearing your Cordura Jeans, they should last a long, long time. As more people get with the program and get on bikes, its our goal to be able to make high quality, technologically advanced cycling gear more accessible.

Is this the beginning of the end for Swrve products being made in the USA?

Far from it. Having the Cordura Jeans made overseas frees up our sewing team to focus on doing what they do best. It also allows us to be more elastic when it comes to changes in inventory and gives us the added flexibility of being able to tinker with and create new products faster.

When the time comes, we plan to make use of our space by adding more workers to our team and fancy machinery to our equipment quiver but while we’re still in the realm of respectably small, we’ve got to keep making baby steps.

With all the great support we’ve been receiving from the cycling community the past six years, we’ll be up and running with the big dogs before we know it.

Thanks for reading,

Matt