Empire Wool & Canvas News

The New Math

September 20, 2018 Category:

It’s mid September already. The 2019 season begins at Empire Wool and Canvas.  We have a sprinkling of products on the shelf. That’s expected. I blame the New Math.

Normal businesses plan, produce, sell, assess, and repeat. Theirs is a tried and true equation using factors like ‘capacity’, ‘lead times’, ‘pre-orders’, and ‘markup’. They trim their sails and tweak their margins. I’ve worked in those shops. They spin like Hamster wheels.

Our math is different.

The ‘X‘ variable in our equation is Size. Bigger shops sweat more to stay ahead of the bank and keep up with their salesmen. We don’t care. There are only 3 sets of hands building Empire gear. We work from our houses. That’s a lot easier on our bottom lines. The work load ebbs and flows, but my two home sewers aren’t pressured to fill quotas or meet deadlines. I ship them boxes of cut fabric and findings, along with a check for 45%  of the retail price of each garment they return. That’s high, but they’re doing intricate work and covering their own butts. They earn their share. This is Minnesota after all, not Bangladesh.

Our Math lacks a dangerous ‘Y‘ variable- Debt. Yeah, we had help to begin. For now we’re Scott Free. Nada. Zip. In the Black. We own everything. That also means if sales are low, we sit on our hands. 2018 has been kinda dry. This was a good summer to tackle house projects and bounce around the mountain states.

X‘ and ‘Y‘ may seem limiting, but they’ve bred a third characteristic. Our ‘Z‘ variable is Flexibility. We change headings frequently. It’s maddening to some visitors. But we are real people, working in an increasingly expensive world. It can be tough down here at ground level. We’ll do what it takes to keep going, or at least not slide backwards.

Our net result is wholesome.

We aren’t racing to fill racks or put our brand ambassadors in next year’s colors. We just keep sewing. With every box you get, you can be certain that purchase supports the real economies of 3 households, and 3 cities. That’s the New Math we use.

Happy Fall!

Kevin.