BUILDING KUIU

Vertical Supply Chain

As most of you know, KUIU launched just last year and has exploded as a brand. The numbers I was hoping to do our 1st year were smashed by the 3rd month and it has not slowed down.

Chasing this rapid growth has created a new set of challenges. Pre-orders are exceeding factory orders and we continue to remain out of stock.

Listening to our customer’s frustrations, I knew I had to change KUIU’s supply chain. Fabric lead-times and limited factory capacity was strangling KUIU’s ability to deliver products and grow.

Earlier this year I flew to Osaka, Japan and met with Toray’s executive team to discuss KUIU’s growth challenges. Fortunately, Toray is forward thinking and willing to listen and offer help.

Toray’s suggested creating a new “ totally vertical” supply chain for KUIU and our direct to consumer business model. A supply chain where Toray manages our entire production process, from raw material procurement to finished products. All of it under Toray’s management and quality control.

Like their performance fabric mills, Toray owns and operates several of the finest technical cut and sew factories in the world.

After our meeting in Osaka, we flew to Toray’s factory near Shanghai. I toured their facility and inspected the products they produce. The cut and sew and seam taping was meticulous. The quality control standards are higher than any factory I have visited before.

It was not hard to recognize the opportunity for KUIU.

By creating a Vertical Supply chain, Toray is able to give KUIU priority on fiber, yarn, mill space and factory space. By managing the entire process, Toray is able to build KUIU’s products from raw material to a finished garment in only 6 months. And we increase our quality.

This reduces our lead times by 8 to 12 months!

In addition to the vertical supply chain, Toray is giving us access to their product development room in Japan and priority on new fabric and technology developments.

Working closely with Toray “THE” industry leader is a massive opportunity for KUIU. We now have the ability to react to demand, stay in stock, push the boundaries further in technology and design and take new developments to market faster than any other brand in the world.

This is a huge win for KUIU, our customers and the hunting industry. I am beyond excited.

Jason

220 comments to Vertical Supply Chain

  • G Abbott

    And cost savings too!!!!???!!!

  • Kelly daniels

    That’s good news, but please don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. I would rather wait for your superior product vs something that is not up to your quality standards. Thank you. Kelly

  • Shane Close

    Makes sense on the “Made in China” stuff. Maybe because I’m not older and haven’t been affected by the loss of jobs to China, but I think that whoever makes the best product wins out. It’s funny that I don’t see people complaining about BMWs, Audis, or Mercedes even though none of those cars are made in America, but if is a Toyota or Honda it’s bad. I’m glad to hear that the lead time is down and hopefully means full shelves and with Kuius priority on new materials I look forward to new products! Thanks for the insight on the happenings of Kuiu. Now, let’s hear about that hunt!

  • Justin Martinez

    Jason, that sounds great. I am excited for Kuiu and so are all my friends. I jumped on board from the beginning because I believed in what you stood for. It took some time but now all my buddies are decked out in “The Brand”. I am looking forward to Kuiu’s future and what it has and will become. Keep up the great work and thank you for always keeping us posted!

  • Mick

    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for straightening that out. Now we can understand a little more of what has been happening. With Toray being second to none in their materials, if the rest of their vertical supply chain is anywhere near as good, it can only mean good things for KUIU.
    Onward & upward!

  • Rodney

    I loved telling people KUIU is made here in North America

    Not excited that the mfg is heading to Asia

  • J.R. Young

    This is all great to hear Jason. I’ve mentioned on the forums before regarding the challenges of Supply Chain Management and small businesses. Many of those frustrated were not considering those challenges or don’t comprehend the complexity. There’s a reason SCM is a multi-billion dollar industry. I’m excited to hear about the improvements going forward, and the possibility of experimental products.

    That said, I’m sure the mention of Shanghai will get many in a tizzy. But, like the challenges of supply chain, they simply do not understand the reality. Sure, there is a bunch of crap that comes from China. Ultra cheap labor, horrible working conditions, etc. etc. However, there are many firms who operate state of the art facilities delivering exceptional quality. The bottom line is that China has the ability to produce all along the spectrum of quality, and not all of China should fall into sweatshop, poor quality stereotype that it receives.

    I wish you the best of luck, and continued success. Looking forward to seeing what comes next.

  • Terran Leavitt

    So when will this start to kick and have supply in stock?

  • Kevin

    Well done Jason, and timely. This is great news for all of us. You are set to kick some(even more)serious ass now.

  • Chris

    Jason, can you expand on how this move will increase the quality of KUIU products? What improvements in quality will we see as customers?

  • cory

    so are you going to start having dealer now?….please

  • Mike

    Made in China?

    You can put a positive spin on it if you want to…call it Vertical Supply Chain, passing on the savings, reduced lead times, yada yada yada.

    I’ve been a pretty happy Kuiu customer, but I’m all done.

  • Jerry V

    That’s fine, but why didn’t you post this earlier ?? When you started this blog about building KUIU, being “Made in North America” was touted as one of the main selling points, one that got my attention. Been buying KUIU since your first shipment, so to be honest, I’m feeling let down you didn’t post this earlier.

    The blog was supposed to be your way of communicating to us the progress of KUIU, the company you asked us to help you build.

    Still hope the best for you,

    Jerry V

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Jerry,

      I wanted to post this later this month with the introduction of a new product that incorporates some new technology and why this partnership with Toray allows for these types of product innovations. But, you beat me to it:)

      J

  • Adam C

    I will not be buying KUIU after reading this. This is done more to increase profits than it is to lessen lead time, very disappointed in a company that I and many other assumed was top notch.

    Best of luck with your endeavors

  • Kai

    The fact that the brand supported North American workers was very important to me, sorry to see this go this way. Glad I have the products I have, hopefully they last forever.

  • Justin Starck

    I’m with some of the other guys, I would rather KUIU be manufactured in North America and deal with the lead times than see it move over seas. I do believe that Toray is the leader on technical fabrics, and I don’t doubt that their manufacturing is as well but still!

    An the flip side, I’m excited to see what we get from Toray.

    For anyone that is going to not be a KUIU customer because of this; what are you going to do? Buy some other clothing made in china?

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Justin,

      You will see the advantages of the Toray partnership realized later this month and in 2013. I was waiting to make this announcement with a new product/technology announcement but a post came up on the forum so I wanted to get this part out to avoid concern or confusion.

      Jason

  • Todd

    When looking at Sitka Vs. Kuiu I chose to spend my money with KUIU because it was made in North America. Thats all i’m saying…………………

  • Tim

    Made in America I love! Made in North America I can Live with! But now your going to be ( one of those company’s). Pretty disappointed to read this post!

    • Jason Hairston

      Sorry Tim. Demand creates new challenges and we came out the other end in a much better position as a company for the future. I hope to keep your business in the future.

      Jason

  • JR

    Made in China should also be a cost saver, that should result in “direct to consumer” savings but I assume it wont… Now KUIU is made in China just like Sitka, what a shame. But KUIU remains superior and cheaper (for now atleast). Made in Canada or made in China whats the difference really, KUIU is not a US made product.

    • J.R. Young

      China is not necessarily a costs saver in that it will now cost X% less to produce, it is a cost saver in getting better quality control, better yields, and better more predictable flow of inventory. All of which would cost more anywhere else, so for same price you get more.

      My guess (and hope) is there is minimal if any movement in prices, but better assembly quality and inventory in stock on a more consistent basis.

      It’s really too bad to see so many shoot from the hip here.

    • Jason Hairston

      JR

      China is not a cost saver if you do not give up quality or the inputs into the product. It certainly can be if price is what you only care about.

      J.R. Young states it below very well.

      J

      • Roberts

        If Made in china is so good…… Why did you not start there? Why did you use “Made in N.A.” as big selling point of your gear and then switch without telling anyone? A pretty low class move in my books.

        • Jason Hairston

          The minimums were too high to start overseas. Toray would not have offered this relationship to a start up. I did not expect KUIU to grow so fast and believed we could keep manufacturing in Vancouver. I totally missed this in my business planning.

  • Chris

    Jason,
    That is really disappointing. While it wasn’t “Made in America”, at least “Made in North America” was something I could get behind. It was one of the things that set Kuiu apart from other companies in a market niche that is only getting more crowded.
    Its sad to see another company take this route… I hope it is reversible, because otherwise you’ve gotten the last of my business.

    Best of luck.
    -chris

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Chris,

      This is a decision that was made for the longevity of the KUIU brand. If making this decision looses you as a customer I am sorry. We will be here if you want to come back.

      Jason

  • azpidge

    I commend you for telling the truth. “business is business.” You appear to be doing very well and feel you can make this move to China seamlessly. Personally, I will not shop at Walmart and do not own a piece of Sitka Gear. It is hard to find made in America, but I hope we can turn this around.

  • Mike Schuh

    “This is a huge win for KUIU”

    Not so much for the families they DID support.Thanks for being honest though.

  • Scott

    This is a terrible direction for your company. Ive been singing the praises of this company since I made my first order. Made in Canada matters to me since I’m Canadian. So basically if you give torray all your business they will shorten the lead time on the material? Please explain how this shortens the material process. Are you taking your customers for fools. I’d rather wait for back orders. If this comes to fruition you can count me out.

    • Jason Hairston

      Toray is giving KUU priority in fiber, yarn, milling the yarn into fabric, dying the fabric, printing the fabric, securing the factory placement and packaging. All of this equates into savings of 8 to 12 months.

  • Kirby

    to Mike who’s done with Kuiu. good luck finding the quality that you’ve experinced made anywhere else. i thaink i have every brand, Sitka, First Lite, Russell, North Face for some and they are all made in china. i am a supplier of textile and paper bags and our best quality, service and lead time comes from Asia and that’s at any price. They are craftsman. i say to consider the quality and not look at where it’s sewn together.

    • Mike Schuh

      That quality did come from here.I have never heard anyone say they moved overseas to increase quality.I work construction and have spent the better part of this year crating and loading paper machines to be shipped out of country.I get to work and eat alongside these people soon to be out of work.You have your priorities I’ll have mine.

      • Jason Hairston

        Mike this all depends on the quality standards put into place. All of the Toray fabrics I buy are made in Japan and the quality is the best in the world. They have these same standards for their cut and sew as well. Quality will go up under Toray management.

    • Mike

      I’ve got some experience with manufacturing in Asia…enough so that I’m skeptical that quality will stay the same for long.

      What will I do? I don’t know yet…but since my ancestors crossed the Appalachias in handmade buckskins, I’ll figure something out.

      I can’t get away from “Made in China” in my day to day life and that makes me mad when I consider our nation’s unemployment rate but hunting is my passion and that spending is entirely discretionary so I will continue to attempt to outfit myself with domestically produced goods or, at the least, goods produced in nations that compete with the U.S. on a level playing field.

      • Jason Hairston

        I am sorry you are skeptical. I wish you luck in your buckskins and welcome you back as a customer should you ever change your mind. Proof will come in the product Toray produces for KUIU.

        J

  • Brian

    Gotta say, I too, am disappointed in reading this post. Jobs leaving North America and heading to Asia. I loved seeing that maple leaf on the tag. Now what,…the rising sun?

    I would rather wait for the product as well, than see more jobs headed to Asian countries.

    Gonna have to learn how to sew, I guess, if we want to continue to see things made here!

  • Roberts

    Wow, this news sucks! I sure hope my made in North America Kuiu gear lasts a long time, because it will be the last Kuiu gear I buy! Sorry Jason, but you just lost another customer!

  • Ben P.

    Conclusions drawn without investigation are hollow. I look forward to seeing the new product line and deciding for myself. Thus far, your products have been superior to anything else I have owned.

    Thank you for remaining transparent.

    • Bill

      How is this transparent? He kept the move a secret, and sent out made in china gear without any notice. I think you need to look up transparency in the dictionary.

      Jason’s huge selling point as a company was that it was made here in NA. I feel hiding the move was a big slap in the face to his loyal customers! If Jason did not spend so much time having fun hunting all over the place, maybe he would have had the time to let everyone know of the move. This did not happen overnight.

      • Ben P.

        LOL. Envy, jealousy and resentment are character traits reserved for angry, miserable people. Be happy. Easy does it Bill. Enjoy your hunting.

        KUIU has been transparent (a term I am familiar with…thanks) from day one. I have been a loyal customer for that reason.

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Ben for your comments.

      J

  • Todd

    When was the break to China? I just ordered the Guide pants and i’m wondering if these were made in China?

  • Greg

    As somebody who has owned a manufacturing company, though on a much smaller scale, I understand Jason’s frustration and why he made the move he did. It isn’t perfect, but I have far more Kuiu gear than I need and just got another shipment in the mail today. My truck proudly sports a Kuiu IC sticker and as long as the quality/price/innovation from Kuiu is there, I’ll be a proud customer. Keep up the good work Jason.

    P.S. I’m dying for the binoculars harness. Can’t wait.

  • ZA206

    I think you should consider retaining some of your production on non-Toray based items in North America. Maybe have all your merino wool stuff still cut and sewn in Canada. This would make this move more palatible to your customer base, like me. Moving everything under the Toray roof means you are limited to Toray fabrics…. ala Gore and Sitka. I can see KUIU becoming a Toray property down the road… ala Gore and Sitka. This scenario seems familiar.

    ZA

  • Bobby

    Sucks to here this, I would rather support this side of the pond than that side. Hope what gear I have lasts, If I decide to keep what I have. Great Color camo, Good products, Bad decision.

  • Roger

    Moving the manufacturing of some of my favorite climbing and mountaineering brands in the 90′s and early 2000′s appeared to me to be a result of a need to either increase volume or reduce cost. In my experience, those moves did not result in an increase in quality. Things change with time, and it may be that cut/sew order shops that make ready-to-wear fashion products one week and outdoor gear the next week are now truly producing high-quality reliable outdoor gear. I hope Kuiu understands that the reservation some people are expressing are based on experience with other outdoor brands making the jump to 3rd world factories. Contrast the reputation of some of these formerly ‘Made in North America’ brands with the reputation of brands like Kifaru and Mystery Ranch.

    I’m curious to see how this turns out for Kuiu. Other brands have tried, and were not able to hold on to their top-tier brand reputations.

    • Jason Hairston

      Roger there are many great examples as well. Arcteryx, Ospery, MSR, Sea To Summit, etc etc. All the latest production technologies and innovation come from Asian.

      Kifaru and Mystery Ranch are made to order products. Totally different model.

      Jason

      • Roger

        Jason:

        As an example, the last two pair of Patagonia’s top-of-the-line waiders I have bought have had issues with leaking seams. Patagonia said they had the issues at the Chinese factory resolved before I bought the second pair, but they turnred out to leak as bad as the first. This lead me to decide to replace them with Simms waders that are made in the US. Patagonia embraced the made in China label, but it has caused them some quality issues. And, unfortunately, even the Flight series from TNF isn’t as cutting edge as their products were in those days when they established their reputation.

        Still hope to see Kuiu pull it off.

  • Todd

    What Roger said …………+1

  • Ron

    Wow I have to say I’m a bit disappointed as well, when you coined the fraise of made in North America but had the items assembled in Canada I was ok with it. In these tough economic times having more containers hit our soil vs our containers hitting their soil is thought to swolllow. I can say I try and support every manufacture I can if made in America or Noth America. I will pay more for goods knowing its helping stimulate our economy and not one gaining market share because of very very cheap labor.

    I can’t wait to see all the KUIU product on eBay when a manufacture down the street start producing your items as well? Ask Oakley, Nike, etc.

    How will KUIU police this when you live in Nothern California and will you have folks ther to keep on top of quality as well?

    I’m not going to make a very bold statement and say I’m leaving you folks because business is business and you as the owner have that call.

    I have bought every item you have and then some in every color and beat it all to sh$t and it holds up. It is the best gear I have used in years and your constant feedback and innovations are great for the hunting industry.

    I can only hope quality stays the same but only time will tell.

    Good luck and FYI I do appreciate you being upfront with all your customers.

    Ron

  • More jobs disappearing from US and Vancouver… not good. Now we will also have to pay duty. Disappointed.

  • Larry

    Too bad you have to do it! There are so many other China made clothes, not sure you will have the edge you had anymore. Good luck, but too sad you have to!

  • Terran Leavitt

    All I have to say about this move is… Jason you made the best hunting clothing out I trust that you made the right decision instead of what was easiest. I will back kuiu as long as the material and product is the same quality. Lets not sacrifice great product for speedy delivery. I will stay a proud kuiu customer if quality stays.

  • Andrew

    9% unemployment and we cannot figure out how to put Americans to work sewing pants with a $200 retail?, for Americans by Americans?

    This blog entry is the epitome of the problems the US has right now.

    Sad…

  • Ron

    How those boots coming along being made in Italy?

    I think you guys are all being a bit to emotional and less realistic.

    There was not one complaint when the boot blog hit the website.

    No need to grab the horses pitch forks and torches yet. Yes I’m disappointed but guess what it’s still the best gear I have found and I’m sure a hell of a lot of you.

    If the quality is there great but if not then I think we all have some serious reservations about the brand.

    • Jason Hairston

      The Zamberlans are awesome! Thank you Ron. The best boot I have worn for technical mountain hunting. The quality will not change with KUIU.

      J

  • Matt Burrows

    Great move Jason! Guys I’ve been to China and seen first hand a lot of manufacturing facilities. They are the leader in quality clothing products and in many manufacturing technologies. Personally I would want my technical hunting clothing to be made there. Also just think of the jobs Jason has created here in the US and he is opperating in the most painful state in the nation to run a small business. If you guys want a good product who cares where it’s made as long as it holds up in the mountains because warranties are only good at shopping malls. I believe that this will continue to keep KUIU moving in the right direction and providing us with the best quality products.

  • Matt

    This is exactly what the Xtra tuf brand did and it went down hill fast! One of the best quality boots made in America and they go overseas with production and now you can’t find a pair that lasts. Hope this doesn’t happen to you. I’m going with Kryptek now

  • Vito

    I’m a huge Kuiu fan. Im not fond of the idea. But I understand the business side of it as well. I will remain a loyal customer AS LONG AS THE QUALITY REMAINS THE SAME. Good luck Jason.
    Vito

  • Grant Todd

    I am very sad to see this. Too bad so many jobs are going overseas. With the economy the way it is we need to support local jobs more than ever. Being from northern CA I loved to support a local company. It’s too bad I will be looking for another company with this move. The downfall of America is due to greedy people who dont want to employ local people. Goodbye KUIU

    • Jason Hairston

      No jobs in Vancouver are being lost by KUIU moving to Toray. Tamoda is doing just fine and maxed on capacity. This move will only increase jobs in Norther CA as KUIU will be able to grow and expand.

  • Bobby Parrott

    I got my first Kuiu merino pieces recently and noticed they said made in Vietnam. I thought it would be made in Canada. Was double surprised to get the jacket and pants yesterday and see made in China. 100% polyester. I was under the impression the Toray Primeflex fabric was something different. We will see how it performs and holds up.

  • David

    Dear Jason, we all come to a point when running a business when very important decisions need made and this was a big one. I really hope the quality of all your products stay as they are now.
    For all those that are giving Jason grief, I was wondering if you were typing your replies on american made computers or cell phones??? I’m sure this isn’t the way Jason envisioned when he first started out but his BRAND has taken off faster than I believe he realized. I will be patient and await the outcome before I make any statements or judgements. Best of luck to all and be careful.

    • Jeff M Valunas

      David-
      You mean my iPhone 4s and lenovo lap-top, aren’t made in the US????????????? What!!!!!! LOL, :)
      Inevitability, it boils down to the fact, that- NO ONE PERSON, OR COMPANY, can make EVERYBODY happy, ALL the time!!! I suspect, many of those complaining or threatening to NEVER buy KUIU product again- Are some of those, that were complaining about waiting for their product! Yesterday, is not fast enough for some, in this CRAZY ‘always linked’ world we live in. Yet, improved availability from another source, creates just as much ‘outcry’! I AGREE with you that, as long as the Quality is there, this is just an evolution- That NEEDED to happen. I also doubt, that Tamoda is going to be laying off any of the employee’s because of this!!!
      Tamoda became to small for this venture, and KUIU- HAD TO MAKE A TOUGH DECISION! Tamoda, could have stepped up, and built a new wing on their factory to keep KUIU! Or, moved KUIU, further up the ladder of priority, to accomidate KUIU’s growth.
      Anyways, enough typing tonight… If some leave, then that is more product for us, that will continue to realize- KUIU is still by far, the best option for Mountain Hunters!
      JMV

  • Pat Foley

    Holy cats fellas, enough with the emotion. Jason doesn’t owe a single one of us anything; this is business. He offers a product, and us free-willed individuals may decide to purchase it or not.

    If the alleged offer of “transparency,” a tranparency that isn’t fully defined by the company, but is idealized in the brains of several previous posters, is the biggest selling point for you, then ask Jason for a job so you may be more intimately involved in decision-making, or pony-up and start your own company. The CEO reserves the right to operate as he sees fit.

    If “made in America” is the biggest selling point for you, then your naivety has gotten the better of you; the sourced materials are not made here; products were “assembled” here. Furthermore, if you have researched Tamoda Apparel (their North American facility), you will notice that the North American workers are predominantly Asian ex-pats, or decendents of. These are not white, black, or latino workers people may assume them to be. Prejudiced reactions aside, there is obviously a large interest within the Asian and Pan-Asian community for textile manufacturing. The reality that there is a high interest in this industry from such a large community results, in Kuiu’s case (because they care about their product), in high quality offerings. Why not source the epicenter of this interested community?

    Consider product reviews, and your own gear’s performance in the field: what matters most? Did the product do what it was designed to do? If so, then great! If not, then tell Kuiu and I’m sure they will care to remedy the situation (do we not have several example posts of great customer service already?). Remember that Kuiu is designed to be ultralight mountain hunting gear; no more, no less. If you hold the company to any standard, let it be that.

    I will continue to use/evaluate Kuiu’s offerings, in addition to other companies. That’s my consumer’s right. However, what keeps me buying Kuiu above other brands are the products themselves. I stink less, I’m lighter, more comfortable, and I’m darn near invisible at times. As a hunter, isn’t that more than what I really need to be successful?

    P.S. Jason you can make my check out to Pat Foley of Milwaukee, WI. All jokes aside, c’mon y’all. There’s land to explore and hunts to be made. Keep some perspective on what’s most important: the adventure and memories; life is too short to overreact on this kind of stuff. Good luck and safe hunting everybody.

  • Jeff M Valunas

    Jason-
    I suspected something along this nature was happening, and as anticipated, ‘Ruffeling’ some feathers. It is hard to envision a ‘cut and sew’ factory BETTER than Tamoda. I will take your word for it, and more than likely get my first chance at inspecting this ‘same or better’ quality, with this ‘New Insulation Piece’ coming in the near future. As long as you don’t loose the quality and ‘direct to consumer’ pricing- I am still aboard, though bummed to hear the loss of more NA jobs. Although you nearly have the sizing perfected, in my opinion… Will this partnership, NOW allow a ‘Tall Sizing Option’ at least on the XL and XXL stuff???
    On a lighter note- Glad to see you made it back safe from the Grizzly/Brown Bear Hunt :)
    Hoping with fingers crossed, that this ‘New insulation piece’ has some of the ” Idea’s “, I suggested around a year ago!!!
    Still a Loyal Customer of KUIU, for now, my friend-
    JMV

  • Tim

    I bet you have enough items in stock now that you are losing half your customer base. I’m done, made in NA was the main selling point.

  • Russ

    Very disappointed in the change. Like others I feel mislead by the North American hype and sudden change to manufacture in China. What ever is convenient I guess. To me, made in North America still means something.

    Seems to be taking the same route that Sitka did. Maybe in a few years Kuiu will be a Toray company.

  • Ben

    I think the correct term for what just happened is “selling out”.

    On one side of things, I’m happy that you’ve “made it” and that you’re company is doing well. You’ve succeeded as a business owner.

    On the other side of it, as the customer, I’m very disappointed. Not what I wanted to hear. This will effect my decision to buy Kuiu in the future.

    A few years ago Mystery Ranch started making another line of backpacks labeled Camel Back Mystery Ranch. They were the same packs as the nice series, but they cost half as much and they were made in the Phillapines instead of Montana. I bought one of these packs and I was very happy with it. I’m sure the margin on these packs was good for MR and they were making some good money….but, bottom line, they were labeled as sell outs and people were disappointed. The product quality suffered and their reputation started to go downhill fast. They realized their mistake, pulled that line and went back to 100% made in Montana.

    We’ve seen the same thing happen with other companies.

    It’s been a good run.

    • wb

      what a load. my old Mystery Ranch spunky-monkey pack was not made in Montana. thats back when they were giving claim they where. guess what.. theres a sticker in my pack that does NOT say MADE IN USA!

    • TC97

      Ben, it sounds like you made an informed decision about MR’s Camel Back line based on your own experience with the quality (or lack of in this case) of the product. Will you do the same with KUIU? If Jason says the quality won’t change, shouldn’t you form an opinion based on your own experience with the actual product?

  • Brian

    Jason; I have been seeing less involvement with your consumers in regards to product design and development in general over the last few months launching products before gaining input in design and materials. And now am very shocked and disappointed you have moved manufacturing over sea’s as that has always been a key point for me when raving about your products to others.

    • Jeff M Valunas

      Brian-
      REALLY!!!!! VERDE Camo pattern, has had customer involvment, since VIAS was released! Boots- I believe there was a Blog request from Jason, on what we wanted to see! Gaitors, were blogged about and asked for input! Solid colors on backpacks, were begged for- Here on this blog! And, numerous sizing issue’s have been ‘ironed’ out, by Jason listening to ‘US Customers’!!!
      I can ONLY assume, this ‘New insulation piece’, has numerous bloggers comments and suggestions, built into it!!!
      WHAT,Do you want him to do- Show you his financial records, or birth Certificate??? Appreciate, what is being given you!!! He doesn’t OWE you a thing. He creates a product, YOU get to decide, if you want to spend your money on it!!! PRETTY SIMPLE!!!
      JMV

  • Cody

    As others have stated the not made in America concept can be frustrating, but we as consumers can pick and choose what we spend our money on.. Kuiu is quality gear, and I have yet to see a law that forces people to purchase Kuiu over another brand, it is all up to the individual person, and their own reasoning…
    Moreover, I will likely continue to purchase Kuiu as long as the quality is top notch.. However, it would be pretty cool if later on the company was able to swing something like Mystery Ranch, and have the ability to me USA made entirely… Though you have to hand it to the designers in Japan. They make design and build good stuff… For example, Toyota Tacoma pickups sure can take a beating… Just find a logger and/or houndsman that drives one…
    Good luck KUIU company

  • Markus Gross / Germany

    Be sure to find a decent cut&sew facility.
    While my Canadian made guide jacket and attack pants are still in a flawless condition, the Asian made KUIU gloves I already had to repair a few times to prevent them to fall apart.
    However, they’ve done what I expected after realizing where they were made.
    Make sure your Merino suppliers stay away from that horrible “Mulesing”.
    Thanks and best of luck.

  • Folks, since I’m an international business lawyer sitting out here in Osaka, Japan, and having dealt with these issues in supply contracts and joint ventures for many companies, let me add to some of the points in question.

    I share the desire to support local industry, particularly manufacturing, but Jason has to stay in business and prosper in order to offer his fine products, which in itself is a great contribution to us consumers. To do that, he has to offer those products in enough quantity to meet demand and to be creative about costs and of course pricing and distribution methods. I think he is doing that very well. I am not yet a customer, but I plan to be.

    His products depend on his using superb, unique fabric, really state of the art, from Toray Chemical, here in Osaka. That fabric is not available from US manufacturers, many of which like my old employer Monsanto dropped out of the textile business. As Steve Jobs told Obama, “those jobs are gone and are never coming back.” We have to push the economy forward with other resources, like the design, planning and marketing skills of KUIU. That can and is being done.

    As for quality of Chinese products, they CAN be fabulous. Recall that Bob Lee of Hunting World fame started sourcing safari clothes there as soon as Nixon opened trade in 1972. I have never seen ready-made clothes that were better, close to the custom tailoring of the legendary Shanghai tailors before 1949 (most moved to Hong Kong if they could.) I still have safari jackets 30-40 years old that remain in great shape. Even the stitching of the button holes is impeccable. Thus, Chinese manufacturing quality depends entirely on the standards set by the marketer.

    By the 1980s, it seemed that every manufacturer, not just apparel makers, had learned the lesson of offshore sourcing, whether from China, Mexico or even Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand. In fact, though many do not realize it, Japan companies have been forced to do the same, and I guess that includes Toray.

    Like it or not, to get the products we want, we have to understand that markets and sources have long since opened up. All in all, we get the benefit. We in turn have to learn how to adapt and to grow our economies in more creative ways, too.

  • Made in USA

    Bait and switch, made in NA no made in China. Is primaflex actually polyester? who is pulling the wool over our eyes, Kuiu and its owner. Shame.

  • All this pissin’ and moanin’ about jobs disappearing because Jason made a business decision to get his high – no – highest quality hunting gear to customers faster. Has any one of you called Tamoda and asked if they had to lay off folks because of Jason’s decision? I’m betting you haven’t called and the folks are still sewing away, busy as ever. I know they are because we’ve contacted them about doing the sewing for my wife’s business. They’re still very busy. The place isn’t closing down because Jason took his business elsewhere. No jobs lost. Obviously Tamoda has it’s hands full already if it can’t keep up with KUIU’s orders.

    Believe me, I understand the “Made in America” sentiment. I wish all of my hunting gear was. But that reality went out the door when the borders were opened up for trade. I’m sure Jason would be glad to have the products made here in the USA if you all are willing to pay 30-50% more for it. How many of you are willing to pony up the dough? And these days, just because it’s made in America doesn’t guarantee it’s a superior product. You may not like that last statement, but it’s reality. Deal with it.

    As long as the quality, price, and innovation from KUIU continues to be as good as it has, I’ll be a proud customer. It’s the best stuff out there. Period.

  • Colby

    You will soon be able to buy your Kuiu gear in Cabela’s, or Bass pro shops(just like Sitka)I do not really know what to say. It’s called capitalism. If you don’t like it move to China. I will postpone any further orders with Kuiu until things have settled down with the company. I am still not happy that my Attack pant got put on hold. So that people could get their Verde pants first. I guess when you go big I will just be able to go to Cabelas web-site and order my pants. You say it won’t happen. But we know better. You sell the company, start another, blah,blah, blah.
    We all know what happens. Could you imagine if Kifaru moved to China? How long have they been making their gear? 30 yrs? Huh,seems to work for them. It will not matter if you stop buying Kuiu. They will be in Sporting good stores soon enough. Their profits will grow. And you will go on living your life. I just want my Attack pants. Good luck Kuiu.

    Sincerely, Colby

  • Colby

    O ya, and please let me know if I can buy shares in Kuiu before you sell it.

  • Dean

    Thanks, this proclamation helped me choose my next gear purchase. I don’t buy Chinese……….good luck.

  • Sara

    Jason, while I understand the business decision, I mainly bought KUIU because it was made locally. Sadly, once I wear out my current hunting clothing, I’ll now be looking for another brand. What a shame.

  • Vladimir

    just one question: the Toray fabrics used in KUIU products till now were also made in China?

  • Well, as an international customer I buy Kuiu before others because of its ‘concept, ability and price’.
    The gear I have had so far is top notch and I look forward to other new products so long as the above remains the same.

  • alaskamatt

    It’s laughable to see such hypocrites here on this forum. To all of you upset by Jason’s move to provide better service and products to all of us, you should be ashamed of yourselves. You willing buy and use services, products, and goods on an everyday basis that aren’t made in America or even North America for that matter. But you choose to make a stand here on this front? What a true champion for North America you are! I for one am happy to see you all part ways with KUIU. You’re undeserving of the brand itself and a poor representative of outdoorsmen everywhere.

  • Julien

    Is the price of the products will decrease ?
    Is the range of products will be bigger ?
    Thanks
    Julien

  • Val Marquez

    Jason,

    As long as you keep KUUI products made hear on earth then I’m still a loyal customer. L.L. Bean, up hear in Maine, sells gear from abroad along with all the major hunting manufactures.
    Many of the posts above are more of a polical nature and should be directed to representives not bissnessmen that are tring to survive.

    • Jerry V

      “Political” ??

      That’s not how I feel. A new version of the product was rolled out and one of the main ingredients had been changed without informing the customer base.

      I respect Jason’s decision to do so, it’s his company, but don’t agree with how he did it. He should have been more up front while introducing Verde and perhaps I wouldn’t feel decieved having bought it.

      Jerry V

      • Jason Hairston

        Hi Jerry,

        If you feel deceived in anyway I apologize. It was certainly not my intention. I wanted to roll out this relationship along with a new product later this month, but timing did not all come together. If you would like to return your Verde products we will be more than happy to give you a full refund.

        Jason

        • Jerry V

          If I return it, how will I know that the “overseas” Kuiu is as good as the N. America Kuiu ?? But thanks for the offer :)

          Never wrote I was done buying Kuiu, just wish you had been up front about the change and could’ve avoided being body slammed yesterday when I seen the “Made in China” on my new pants – hope you understand.

          Now that I’ve put the longbow back up on the rack, the shotgun’s ready for bird hunting, I’ll put the new gear to test to see if it’s really as good.

          Jerry V

  • Val Marquez

    Jerry,

    My comment as to political was about the way our goverment has made it nearly impossible for U.S. based companies to compete in the world market, (export/inport fees, lack of them), etc. My comment may of detored from the post, somewhat, sorry.

    I too am uncomfortabul with the way KUIU handled the decision to go abroad. My fear is KUIU has or will become like the rest of the high tech clothing companie’s buissness plans and quality may suffer.

    This move has opened the door for me to consider other gear in this price range now.

    Val

  • How many here drive foreign cars? There are several car companies right here in the USA that build them here. I don’t know that all the parts are made here, but they are assembled here. If you feel so strongly about a product made in NA, and you drive a foreign car, why didn’t you buy an American car?

    I know the reason.

    • Bill

      I bought my foreign car knowing it was a foreign car!

      I bought Kuiu thinking it was NA made only to read a label “made in China”

      Big difference! Jason hid the change and was not upfront about the move. That is what everyone is mad about! For that fact alone, I’ll look else where! I thought this company was honest and upfront! Not so!

  • Don

    Not surprised, it was inevitable unfortunately to stay competitive in the marketplace. However, time will tell us if KUIU has cracked-the-code Sitka hasn’t been able to. Getting your “annual” product shipment in June and being sold out by July/August not to see more until June the following year. Maybe “Vertical Supply Chain” will deliver us that technical hat so I can finally throw that cotton one away! Oh, and I guess that bino bivy too …. :-)

  • Scoot

    I have to agree that this is disappointing to hear. Jason, I imagine it’s a good option for you with regard to lead time, backed up orders, keeping items in stock, but one of the big selling points for many folks was that this was a “Made in America” product. I certainly won’t say I won’t buy more of your product, but I will admit to being turned off considerably by this change. That being said, I hope it works out for you and is a good move.

    Jason, I’ve lost your e-mail address and when I spoke to customer service this past week I asked them to give you my e-mail addy and requested you send me an e-mail. I’m not sure if you got that or not, but if you’d send an e-mail to me I’ve got some info for you that may (or may not) be of interest to you.
    Thanks and good luck,
    Scott

  • Val Marquez

    Harly Daverson, an American icon, uses foreign parts in their motocycles and all the American car manufactures do as well. As I write this I’m looking around my office and most of the stuff is foreign made, Lap tops, phones. I expect most of you do as well.

    Another point; if KUIU expands then it will creat more jobs hear in the U.S. At this time KUIU is simply the best quality gear availabe at any price point; but their future is handycapped but backorders and availabulity.

    One question for Jason; will gear be shipped directly from Toray to the customer or warehoused in the U.S.? Jason, please don’t outsorce custermer service!

    Val

  • scott daniels

    this really bums me out..
    and to hear some peoples verde gear already showed up with made in china tags before this was even posted seems kinda weak..

  • Ben

    And Jason- are you telling us that your costs will not go down? You’re saying that manufacturing in China costs as much as Canadian manufacturing?

  • scott daniels

    i should add, outfits like kifaru that have stayed made in usa for many years and have a very loyal following are continually able to deliver on schedule. 6 week lead time and you bet, its here.

  • Carl

    CONGRATULATIONS Jason,
    I for one love your product and look forward to seeing how this works out to help the general consumer have access to your top quality product quicker. Reading some of the previous posts bashing Kuiu for trying to solve the problem of quicker distribution and how disappointed they are as an individual is hilarious to say the least. This move will only increase higher paying jobs in NA. Asia hosts the best sewing and material manufacturing factories on the planet. As long as the product is still made to the standard that we the consumer have grown to expect from Kuiu, distribution complaints will be solved.
    “Isn’t that what this post was really about”????
    Getting YOU the consumer your gear quicker.
    Looking forward to seeing how it all works out.
    Enjoy the day

  • Matt

    I view this message with mixed emotions, as I am sure Jason does as well. It would be great to have a company that is totally made in one’s home country. But, we live in a Global world that makes such things more of a fond memory than modern day reality.

    The fabric is from Japan, the assembly is in China, the brains, ingenuity, design, and know how comes from the mind of Jason (an American) influenced by a cadre of hunters from all over the world.

    Jason, if the quality holds I’ll still buy. I trust you enough to think you would not let quality fall so count me in.

  • KUIU Employee

    I have to say as a KUIU employee I am excited about this change. This will allow us to have more gear, which means more sales, which will allow expansion and growth for this company and create more local jobs HERE in California.

  • Tim

    It will not expand jobs when he sells the company off to Toray, just another Sitka. Let me guess your next business will be called Kodiak and made out of e-cent material marketed as made in NA. This is a great time for Kifaru to think about expanding, atleast we know Patrick isn’t a sell out.

  • Bill Van Ooijen

    It is not about USA vs China or Japan. This is simple economics free markets working the way they were designed. If you get out worked by a kid who walked three days through the desert with little food and water and knows no English then you deserve what you got.
    Do I want products made in the USA absolutely!

    I also want the best products at the best prices with no shipping or taxes.

    Jason, maybe someday KUIU can expand into the waterfowl market.

    • Tim

      Well maybe ask Kifaru or Mystery Ranch how they seem to make it work. It isn’t like Kuiu is Apple, they had a niche market with loyal followers that don’t buy crap made in China sold at Cabelas or Walmart where that thinking works.

      Jason, did you ever even consider just dropping Toray and going with a supplier that could meet your demands? Just looks like you folded to Toray and that sucks for your company or are you just blinded by $$ like when you had Sitka?

      I think we should take bets on when Kuiu is sold to Toray.

      • Jason Hairston

        Tim KUIU is not a made to order business like Kifaru or Mystery Ranch.

      • JC

        Contrary to what many are claiming here, the “made in n. america” part of KUIU was not the single sticking point in what makes the company and gear special.

        It is the materials! Toray fabric is what KUIU has been built on.

        Tim: are you saying that you’d rather have a GoreTex/H2No/etc jacket and pants with the KUIU name on it that are sewed in Canada vs. a Guide jacket and Attack pants that are sewn in Asia?

  • Juan

    Ok, so is this stuff now made in Japan or China?? If people are getting gear that says “Made In China” then why does the post CLEARLY state “A supply chain where Toray manages our entire production process, from raw material procurement to finished products. All of it under Toray’s management and quality control.”

  • Jeff

    Does this mean I can get longer pants now?

  • Mike

    When I can, I try to buy American, but it is not my only consideration and I will continue to support KUIU. I hope you come out with a long sleeved Verde Attack Shirt though Jason! :)

    I also still go to Home Depot which employs Americans here…but 95% plus of their products in many store sections are from China.

    For me I usually weigh the following criteria in about this order before purchasing an item:
    1) Good Quality?
    2) Made in America and somewhat close in cost to made in China?
    3) And finally availability…I personally usually don’t mind waiting for quality.

  • Nathan

    I’ve got three guide jackets and three pairs of attack pants. I’m disappointed that production is going to China. I understand it, but there are other options for Made in America (or at least North America) clothing, and I’ll be picking those options in the future.

  • James

    Under the current model growth was halted and some customers were upset. This had to be fixed. Do we all think Jason should just stay at this level and be happy with it. “you’ve hit your ceiling now live with it”. The one mistake is that he shipped made in china clothing under a made in north america slogan. This was a mistake and he should apologize for it. He simply should have released this information sooner. Poor decision.

    However he has the right to grow his business and this was the best option. Kifaru and mystery ranch do all their sewing in house. They order the fabrics then make their products. I don’t believe this model would work for KUIU at all. do you think Jason should start his own cut and sew factory in Cali? The model he developed to keep it made in NA was using a sew shop in Vancouver and getting the BEST materials from around the word. That model had a limit to what it could handle. It sounds like that limit was hit instantly and low stock was a problem from the begining. Low stock means lower sales means halted growth. We like the model so we all say “too bad for you Jason KUIU doesn’t get to be any bigger”.

    My only question to all the haters, what’s the alternative? what other clothing are you going to use? Made local is what tip the scales for me. If I can find similar price, same quality then I go for made local otherwise price and quality win out. If there is something made local and just as good as KUIU then what is it?

  • Brad

    So let me get this straight….
    Jason takes your ideas, your freely given intellectual property, mixes them with his own, uses his expereince and know how from Sitka and makes a profitable company and an excellent product.

    He doesnt want to have a mom and pop boutique company like Kifaru, and wants to EXPAND his company (unlike others who price people out of their product… above mentioned co), due to unforseen INCREDIBLE growth.

    Jason way to kick some business ass… if you do sell or not, you will have either way have made some serious money and need to be congratulated. I need to read your book when it comes out, and cant wait to see you on the panel of Dragons/Shark Den!!

    TO everyone who thinks this is YOUR company, and want him to stay small and “North AMerican”…. get over it :) I cant wait to see what you’ll have in store for us!

  • Clearly there are many who are upset about this post. We hunters are often very opininated bunch and it’s great everyone is offering up their views on manufacturing in China (or Asia for that matter).

    It’s a complex issue for sure, but for many it seems to come down to where the final product is assembled and shipped from, and in some respects – with some products – this is a valid point of view.

    But when you look at the overall product development process related to the KUIU textile products, this move is clearly about efficiency of operations – Led by Toray, mind you.

    Having working in product design and development over 20 years now, with experience in Shanghai specifically, I can assure all of you that success boils down to oversight of your manufacturing. Without Toray, Jason would be moving to Shanghai in my view. But, that because Toray is OWNING the entire supply chain and process control, YOU as a consumer will still get what you pay for.

    It’s easy to “pile on” without knowledge of global textile manufacturing but if you dig into it, you’ll find that Asia clearly leads. Do your own research and see for yourself. We live in a global economy and as much as I personally want everything I own designed, manufactured, and sold locally, it’s simply not reality, especially when you are trying to grow a business.

    I would suggest that as a customer base everyone continue forth as KUIU customers and test the products in the field. The data to support quality issues will be self-evident.

    As for “Made in China”; some will always be single-issue voters and that is fine too.

    -Tom

  • Brad

    Well this is what google spits out…

    JAPAN: Toray fabric developments target outdoor market

    By just-style.com | 12 July 2011

    Japanese textile maker Toray Industries Inc is targeting the outdoor clothing market with two new fabric developments which offer lightweight breathability and water repellent insulation.

    The first is an update to its Dermizax NX membrane technology, which the company now says provides twice the breathability as well as being completely waterproof and windproof and high stretch.

    The second is Quix Down, which the company claims is the first water repellent treated down that retains its loft and function even when wet.

    The Dermizax laminate is based on a non-porous PU membrane, in which the hydrophilic molecules are lined up in a smooth 3D structure to increase the transmission rate of water through it. Depending on the laminate construction, breathability ranges from 30,000 to 50,000 grams per square metre every 24 hours.

    Toray produces the laminates in Japan, from the yarn to fabric, backer, lining and membrane. Each laminate can be customised according to its end use, from extreme endurance sports to fashion fabrics.

    Quix Down, meanwhile, uses a process developed by Toray in which each individual feather receives an ultra-fine coating that shields the down from moisture. It also has breathable properties, with water vapour transported away from the body through a special finish.

    The products will be produced in an exclusive joint venture with Hong Kong based apparel manufacturer ZKG International Ltd.

    BRING IT!!! Good bye Tamoda… hello TORAY

    • Don

      Interesting … maybe that is what’s around the corner for the new Spindrift … Goodbye Primaloft … Hello Quix Down?

    • Shane Close

      Sounds like a new Chugach and a new Spindrift!!!

    • Brad

      I really want that 30000-50000 NX!! THat news made me hold off of Polartec Neoshell…. and that was July 2011! Verde must have been in the plant in dec/jan, for kuiu’s 6 month lead time to market. THis for me is EXCELLENT news

      • I’m sure NX is killer but you should have tried Neoshell. I thought eVent was the answer until I used Neoshell. It’s the real deal!(from a backcountry skiing/mountaineering perspective at least).

        I was thinking lofted merino for the new mystery insulation piece until I read your post about the Quix Down. Sounds really interesting.

        As for all the nay-sayers and folks quick to jump overboard on Kuiu because of the journey across the Pacific, seriously, it was only a matter of time. Fabric production and cut and sew in North America is so incredibly hard to come by that it’s a miracle (sadly so) that anything textile is created in North America, ESPECIALLY camo and technical fabrics.

        That said, do you really think Jason is going to sacrifice quality in a move like this? He’s a businessman so the pricing wouldn’t come down even if it saved a few nickles to produce in China because that would jeopardize his livelihood. But he’s also a hunter and sacrificing the quality would only jeopardize his future hunts, something I’m sure he takes as serious if not more than any of us do.

    • Jason Hairston

      No Comment Brad:)!

  • Eric Bergey

    As long as the quality is there, it doesn’t really matter where it is made. We are not losing anything from it being made in China now, nothing is leaving the US. I think that it’s funny that everyone is throwing a hissy when 95% of everything they use in their everyday life is made in China, including cars, phones, any electronics, clothes, etc. Then they compare it to Mystery ranch and Kifaru, which are extremely specialized in the products they make, and do almost all of their sewing in-house, or hired out locally. Not really a good comparison. Plus, I seriously wonder where Mystery Ranch’s clothing is made. I doubt that it’s in Bozeman. Jason has been up-front and honest with all of us through the start of KUIU. The least we can do as loyal customers is not make snap judgments and wait to see if there is a difference in quality first hand. I will trust that he is doing the best thing for his company and for his customers until I see something firsthand that tells me otherwise. Best of luck Jason, you still have a loyal customer here.

  • Jason Hairston

    Thanks Eric!

  • heron163

    my thoughts…

    jason built Kuiu and it is his right to make his product wherever he chooses… like you have a choice to buy it or not…

    I would pay extra for gear made in Europe or NA vs. China – a country we owe trillions to and are very likely be in a very different kind of relationship in the near future… plus the treatment/pay of the workers there is less than optimal – look what is going on with Foxcom and apple…

    It will be difficult to buy stuff made there for the above reasons but China is rapidly becoming the manufacturer for the entire world. For example, do you know that about 80% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients of drugs sold in the US are made there? I have seen too many manufacturing plants in the US shut down and dismantled to be re-assembled there…

    they really are getting the world over a barrel in a short time…

  • Josh

    So crazy to see such strong reactions! Some people just don’t get it!

  • Call me crazy but it seems Jason/KUIU was damned either way. Look on just about any hunting forum and there are plenty of people in a hissy about the lack of product. So he listened and did what it took to increase production, which it seems meant moving that aspect to China and aligning KUIU with Toray to a greater extent. Now: People are still in a hissy?? It’s like he can’t win. Give him a break.

    I was fine with the inventory situation before. It took some planning on my part but I have everything I need currently. I for one will continue to support KUIU. As long as my wallet will allow!

  • David Pollock

    Jason,

    Great news that you will be working closer with Toray to help build Kuiu, i wish you continued success, been using my kuiu gear here in Australia all winter and have been extremeley happy, for me Kuiu is about great quality gear, designed for mountain hunters, not wheres its manufactured, cheers David

  • Brian McElrea

    Congrats Jason!

    In order to thrive in this market you’ve got to stay nimble and continue to innovate. This move improves the biggest challenge with the supply chain issues AND creates a partnership with a company who is blowing away the industry standards on textile innovation.

    This business model was set up to allow KUIU the ability to source the best fabrics and technology available. Cost not nearly as much of an issue with the consumer direct model allowing all of us to afford some great gear.

    I can’t see this move (better supply chain and more innovative fabrics) happening and then sacrificing any level quality on the sew line. It wouldn’t work nor would it make sense for the longevity of this company.

    If I’m buying on value I am not concerned where it assembled. In time, the products will prove themselves.

    Looking forward to this new strategy.

  • Garrett

    It’s a shame. I understand it seemed necessary, but, I hoped that the innovation to design would have also been applied to innovation in manufacturing. I understand the move, but, was hoping for forward thinking if not genius to make it in NA. I spoke at length with Davey Hughes of SWAZI products in New Zealand at this years SCI show. I asked him why he didn’t have a North American dealership for his amazing rain gear? He told me that if he did that, he would have to increase his output so much that his manufacturing facility in NZ wouldn’t be able to keep up and he would have to do what his competiors do and move to China. He informed me that he refused to do that because of principle, the integrity of his company, and the ability to keep quality control where HE could see it. I’m proud to own his rain gear, and I paid a premium for it. Principles matter. I buy my fishing waders from Simms, but, only the models made in Montana. I buy products from Canada Goose because they’re the best and made in their home country. My base layers are made and manufactured in Sweden, but, were designed and envisioned there (Woolpower Ulfrotte). I respect that. If you have to move to China, please follow in the footsteps of companies such as GoLite. They are very true to having as little of a carbon footprint as possible. From their website they are “certified as a “B Corporation” (www.bcorporation.net). “B Corporation” is a third-party certification for companies that meet comprehensive, transparent social and environmental performance standards as well as high performance and legal standards that institutionalize stakeholder interests”. Being a good company also means being a corporate leader and not just the fastest to market. I hope you’ll step up.

  • Don

    I personally think the Toray decision to offer Kuiu a private line (so to speak) is a great thing! I get it Jason,you are working on improving customer relations and expanding distribution to the next level. We are living in a gobal marketplace today, I don’t think that is going to change anytime soon. I’m staying in the inner circle group and look forward to the new items in the future, Good job!

  • Shark5Archer

    Jason,
    you failed to recognize your clients. I was introduced to your line by another bow hunter while in Iraq. We both purchased from your first order. I love your pants. Yes, it is hard to find anything not made in China, but you can. The average quality of Chinese products is overwhelmingly garbage and I am sick of it. It is sad to see you making this turn and doing business with a country that opposes everything american except our money. Really, looks as though you are only a few steps away from having your products on the shelves of wally-world and the like. So, with the cost of your products, if I have to buy Chinese, then I will buy the less expensive junk. Bad move man, bad move.

  • Juan

    ONE more thing Jason, in the Blog post I see it stated
    “By managing the entire process, Toray is able to build KUIU’s products from raw material to a finished garment in only 6 months. And we “INCREASE” our quality.
    Yet I have read you reply to others that “quality will ‘NOT’ change.”
    I’m not trying to pick at you and start hating like the others just curious… So which is it? WILL or will it NOT increase??
    At this point all I can do is pray and hope that the quality does NOT go down like we have seen with SO many other companies when they make this kinda switch… With that said, please don’t let the quality fall like others have over the years… Best of luck with the new venture, and I’ll still be here waiting to see the new gear and waiting for my Vias DCS jacket… ;) And did you ever get my email?? Take care…

    Juan_ID

    • Brian McElrea

      Juan you are misunderstanding his statement. The words “it will not change” are in response to those suggesting the quality will diminish.

      Jason’s saying, “it will not change” meaning the quality will remain the same as it has been. I believe I’ve seen a few areas where it appears the quality could actually increase.

  • Bo Bonner

    Being a business owner myself I understand the frustration of overseas outsourcing. That being said I will continue to support Kuiu and Jason as the owner. He has made a decision based on customer needs and demand, and business growth. This is the BEST hunting gear out there.

    I trust your decision as a business man and as a fellow sportsman(hunter). It takes a true man to stand by his decision and keep his hand extended when others don’t understand business.

    Thanks for the continued hard work and a truely exceptional product. God Bless

    Bo

  • Titan

    I will not buy another piece of Kuiu.

    You say we will be right here if uou choose to come
    back?? Not sure that will be the case!

    I paid $700 for a kifaru pack (which for me is crazy $$)
    but I spent that much because its made here in the
    USA.

    I will not buy Sitka because of it being made in China.

    Terrible decision on Kuiu part!

    Good luck

  • Daniel Sarnowski

    I just bought the guide jacket in Verde,I assume it is made in China?If I would of ordered one in VIAS, would it have been made in NA? I will probablly return the coat from china.

    If the price didn’t change,you could of kept the slow NA factory running for those who dont want the china product.

    I thoght the blog was for input from the consumer,should’ve used it for the China move.

  • Daniel Sarnowski

    One more thing,I would rather waited alittle longer for my NA gear,waited on my Mchale pack,quality guns,somethings just take time.

  • JC Linkinoggor

    It will not keep me from buying some Kuiu gear. Like a previous poster said….as I look around my office….I can only find about three things made in North America, me and two Saskatchewan deer mounts on my wall! Then I think about my hunting gear….mainly clothes, packs, boots, and optics. While my gun is made here….not my scope, rangefinder, binos, etc. It would be nice if more things were made here….but it’s just not the trend. If you are going to be competitive…..well, you get the idea.

  • Mike Honcho

    Jason,

    I think that the response on the blog is overwhelming. Your customers are very upset by your decision to move all your manufacturing from North America to China. I too am upset by this decision. The only reason I buy KUIU products is because they were sewn by little, old, Canadian ladies in Vancouver, Canada. Women who rely solely on KUIU for their livelihood. I do not hunt and I never venture into the outdoors, but I refuse to buy any product that is not at least stitched together in North America. Sure, I get strange looks walking around town (NYC) in Vias, but when I tell people my clothes were hand-stitched in Canada the questions end and applause begins.

    You have made a decision that has put your company at risk. All your customers are ready to jump ship unless you make serious changes. Based on the comments to this announcement you must immediately take the following actions if you want to keep your company alive.

    1. You must build a KUIU research and development lab and begin creating the most sophisticated technical fabrics in the world. Of course, this lab must be located in North America, which only includes the United States and Canada. In addition, you must only employ true North American researchers, which you can verify through DNA tests. Given your proximity to Stanford and Berkley you should not have any trouble finding affordable employees.

    2. After creating and patenting the new KUIU fabrics you must build a factory to produce all these amazing new fabrics. Again, this factory must be in North America, built by North Americans, and only employ North Americans. This factory must also be state-of-the-art and capable of producing enough fabric to meet the demand when all your lost customers return. Thankfully, given the current economic climate, construction costs are down.

    3. Now that KUIU is manufacturing the greatest fabrics in the world in North America, you need a place transform those fabrics into KUIU gear. Consequently, you will need to build a KUIU cut and sew factory. Like the other labs and factories you build, this factory must also be in North America and employ North Americans. In addition, this factory cannot use old equipment and techniques for assembling the KUIU gear. The old methods are slow and expensive. You need cheap and fast. Therefore, you must develop new equipment and techniques for this factory. This factory should be the world leader in cutting and sewing fabrics.

    4. I know that you really like the folks at Zamberlan, but it is not a North American company and it must go. If KUIU wants a boot it must build a boot factory in North American.

    5. Your Merino products are top notch, but the sheep that provide the wool for those product are not. Why? Because they are not North American sheep. If you want any credibility with your customers the Merino wool must come from North America. However, this creates a problem because you cannot simply import Aussie or Kiwi sheep to North America. An Australian sheep in North American is no different than an Australian sheep in Australia. It is not North American. I am not sure where you find a North American sheep capable of producing Merino wool, but I know that you can. Nevertheless, if you cannot find these sheep you can have your R&D lab genetically alter North American sheep to produce Merino wool.

    6. Hopefully, you will be able to source all materials, ingredients, components, etc. from North America. If that is not possible then you will need to build another factory in North America to produce everything you need for your other factories. You must do whatever it takes to keep everything in North America.

    This can work. Every KUIU customer is intimately familiar with the textile and outdoor clothing industries. We are also very experienced with managing and financing start-ups. We know this model can work. You simply need to stop being greedy and commit North America. Your motto must be “In North America, by North Americans, for North Americans.”

    We understand that developing the fabrics and building the factories will require tens of millions of dollars (you can fund it with your Sitka money) and take five-to-seven years to complete. That is okay. We are willing to wait. We will plan ahead. In fact, anyone who is not willing to wait at least one decade for a piece of hunting clothing has no business hunting at all, and they certainly have no business buying from KUIU. As long as KUIU delivers a North American product without raising prices, we will wait.

    As I said before, this North American production model will work. My Saleen S7 was built in North America. More specifically, it was built in California. If Saleen can make it work KUIU can make it work. Quit thinking only of yourself. This is not your company. When you promised transparency, you essentially gave us, the KUIU customer, complete control of KUIU. Now let’s get to work.

    • JC

      Did I read this correctly? — The only reason you bought KUIU gear was because it was “hand-stitched by little old Canadian women.”

      I’m sure you can find some other way to support little old women in Canada if that is what you want to do.

      And BTW, in the factories where high tech clothing is sewn together it is NOT hand-stitched. Come on people. Do you have any guess at how expensive it would be to buy a jacket that is completely hand-stitched together?

  • Kyle

    Wow. What a missed opportunity to display some leadership on the industrial side of the business to go along with what you’ve done so successfully on the marketing side. Very disappointing and, unfortunately, deal breaking. I’m not willing to pay $150 for a pair of pants or $300 for a jacket that’s made in china.

    • Joe Biden's Teeth

      What difference does it make if it was made in Canada, China or Guam for that matter?

      Either way none of it was made in the USA.

      Enough with the all the complaining and bitching about being made in the USA. It never was made in the USA folks….and those poor old Canadian women stitching each little piece of KUIU togher….yea, they are Asian. Have you ever been to Vancouver, B.C.

      If you don’t like it….well, then go find a USA made quality brand of hunting clothing somewhere else. Good luck with that one.

      PS – Mystery Ranch and Kifaru are “made to order” companies. Nothing like KUIU. Stop using them as an example!

  • Joe

    I am thinking Kuiu will be changing hands soon and someone will be hauling hundred dollar bills in dump trucks.

  • Kim

    As a customer who has purchased the majority of KUIU’s clothing line I will be holding Jason to his promise that sewing quality will improve. Quite frankly I was very disappointed in Canada’s sewing quality. I had to return at least three garments if not four to be repaired or replaced because of poor quality control, such as pockets not sewn on. I hope that Jason will continue his goal to seek out and provide the best quality fabrics being incorporated into the best quality hunting garments regardless where they are sewn together if it is Toray or some other brand.

  • wb

    Jason,
    those of us that understand quality, demand, turn over times, business expantion will stick by Kuiu. your doing the right thing. dont listen to the whinners who ‘just dont get it and never will.’ we enjoy all the kuiu clothing and packs. keep up the good work.

    • Jason Hairston

      Thank you I appreciate you taking the time to comment and the support. I hope most will understand this relationship with Toray after they see the quality and innovations we bring to market over the next year.

      J

  • wb

    BTW, I’m cracking a gut over the ‘vehicles made in america’ some folks will never learn. My 2 Toyotas were made in the USA. humm….

  • Joshua

    Jason, great product you have with the KUIU brand. I support KUIU because it’s an idea. This transfer to toray almost sounds like a transfer of control. Will KUIU just turn out to be another Sitka run by an overbearing corporation, or will it remain your vision?

    • Jason Hairston

      Joshua, there is no transfer of control. Toray has no interest in owning a hunting brand. KUIU is the first and only hunting company to use Toray fabrics. KUIU is the fastest growing brand using Toray fabrics in the world. This peaked Toray’s interest in helping KUIU grow, to sell more fabric. The management of the supply chain from start to finish makes for a much more streamlined and efficient process which will help us produce more, stay in stock more and sell more.

      J

  • JC

    I find this entire string of replies and responses very interesting. Here are a few of my observations:

    KUIU was created by a guy that went straight to the consumer BEFORE even designing his product. In the year before an item was sold to the public Jason created a “fan base” of followers that were intrigued by this model and amazed that they were asked to offer input and actually influence the style and design of this new gear.

    But what Jason and KUIU already had before he invited us all into the process was the core idea – Ultralite Mountain Hunting – and the essential piece of puzzle…Toray fabric. Lighter, tougher, quieter, more breathable with better water resistance than any fabric being used for outdoor clothing anywhere.

    So sticking with Toray fabric probably isn’t going to change, no matter how much whining there is. It is the key to the clothing.

    So, then the option is KUIU maintaining it’s business as it is, and essentially becoming a boutique hunting gear manufacturer that uses top of the line, proprietary fabrics made in Japan and sew houses in Canada that outfits only a select number of hunters year to year. Or the company can look at the demand and decide to expand…something 99.9% of small start up companies would choose to do.

    On supply and demand, not to be facetious but think about it: if the waiting list/backorder/pre-order timeline is so far out because the demand out weighs the supply by that much – that is when a business RAISES it’s prices. Because it can. And that would most likely be the best option KUIU would have if it did not find another way to reach it’s demand.

    With long waiting lists for everything, how long would so many people stick it out and wait? I already decided to not wait for a pair of Vias Attack pants because the waiting list puts me well beyond my hunting season.

    Last point: this decision HAS NOT PUT A SINGLE AMERICAN WORKER OUT OF A JOB OR CAUSED AN AMERICAN BUSINESS TO CLOSE ITS DOORS. Sorry for the all caps, I hate that shit, but I also really really get sick of all this bologna about the unemployment rates in the US and “Made in America” etc. Hey! I buy made in the USA when I can too, and I’m proud to do it…but come on! – KUIU was NEVER made in USA.

    So worry about the quality control, that is valid, but don’t decide before you’ve seen it. But don’t pretend like the factory in Canada matters that much to you…a factory that simply lost a customer mind you, it is not going out of business.

  • Jeff Cromer

    I’m sure all of these people moaning and groaning about the “made in China” tag are typing on their 1980′s Texas Instruments computer….otherwise my guess is it’s a model from China. What about the cell phone they are using…

    Ok I understand, you would have liked Jason to have posted this before the Verde clothing was introduced. Now Jason knows how you feel!

    But come on!!!! Stop bashing the man on a personal level for doing what he believes is best for HIS company. Most of you only know him based on the blog, so to make comments on such a personal level is uncalled for. None of you are directly paying the bills for the company!!! You have zero idea of what is taking place in the process of running this company. If you run your own business then you have some perspective, but its probably not on the same level.

    If you don’t like the decision, then go right ahead and tell him that, but end it there, please.

    Last time I checked this was a country where if you worked hard and earned something, that was OK. Making decisions on what you wanted, was OK. Sure I’ve bought enough of this stuff to think I should be on the board of directors…..but I’m not.

    I LOVE the Kuiu products because Jason has and still intends to deliver exactly what he committed to, “the best ultra-light mountain hunting gear available”. He said it was assembled in Canada but he never said it will always be assembled there. That hardly makes him the dishonest scum of the earth that some allude to.

    I respect Jason for his ability to become an incredible businessman and endure the pains of a growing business.

    Good Luck Jason. I’m patiently waiting to place my next order.

    Jeff

  • Nathan

    Wow, another roller coaster ride of a week! But once again, cooler heads have prevailed once Jason returns from his hunting trip. Deja Vu! Thanks Jason for taking us all on this ride with you so far. Looking forward to what’s in store!

  • Jim L.

    Interesting and disappointing move. Sorry to see manufacturing move offsore, really thought you had cracked the code on making high quality products in North America. Not sure I have ever seen a move to vertical integration without positive impact in the economics either as increased margins or savings passed along to the customer. I saw your response regarding not gaining any cost savings. So given that, the sole reason for this move is to improve delivery time wih no impact on cost/margin? Right. Sorry, but have to call you out on this one. Hopefully you will redirect increased profit margin to R&D for new products.

  • Jesse J.

    Another pissed off customer. Was there with you from the Get Go. I would rather be cold and wet than buy anything made in Asia. Would proudly support the Canadians and their work force before anyone else outside the US. Sorry, no well wishing here. I’m done with KUIU.

    • John C

      I’ll be curious to know what you are wearing. Seriously, not trying to rude. You can get some good wool outer wear made in the US, it’ll cost you a lot more than KUIU though, I’ve looked into it.

      But again, echoing others here and your words – “rather than buy ANYTHING made in Asia” … hmmm …

  • Jesse J.

    Surprising how many China supporters there are. The US is owned from the inside out by China. And rather than work to change anything, it’s easier for you all to throw in the towel and just make excuses of how many other things are made in China. Ridiculous. You are all part of the problem not the solution. And I do feel “cheated” that this was just slipped under the rug.

    You are all arguing over what’s made in China and what’s not…..most everything is. True- you cannot get around most daily needs without it being made I China. But KUIU was not and it was a choice I made to support them and a choice KUIU made not to be manufactured there. I was proud to market their gear saying “Not made in China” to all who were interested in it. Eastman’s gear review even listed the manufacturing locations I their Gear Review section. KUIU the only company NOT Asian manufactured.

    Was obviously a huge selling point to many people. I have bought Eberlestock, Rivers West and Filson gear all for the Made in USA support. And I have stopped buy the above when they switched over to China. And I do my best to convey the same ideals to the guys I run with. Honestly makes me sad

  • Hi There, I have been there and done that, gone to China for products, I say to you, be sure you continue to check your quality every day, as soon it will not be up to the expcetations of you and your customers, after 8 to 14 months the quality started to fade on our products, we finally had to bring all production back to the US. We are making the parts by hand again to get the quality needed.

  • LH

    I wonder how many people typed their responses from a computer or cell phone made in china? A little hypocritical, huh? No one seemed to be complaining before when the fabric was from JAPAN or the merino from New Zealand. Kinda crappy to pick and choose your battles and not see that everything you own is made here if your gonna complain. If your gonna drop KUIU, why don’t you get rid of your phone, tv, half the parts on your car, and most of the other stuff you own. Unless your gonna support America 100%, then quit crying. You sound just like of those people that are against hunting, but still eat meat.

    • Jason Hairston

      LH,

      I think your analogy is the best I have read on this topic! Thanks for your support!

      J

    • Tim

      LH, you know what if all of those products were marketed as made in NA to generate an initial customer base and then all of a sudden shipments started coming with made in China when said purchase was thought to be for items made in NA, then yes your arguments would flow with this situation. Pure deception! But hey let’s just play it off. Oh well there are good companies making made in US cloths that may cost alittle more but of equal quality, just not in Camo.

      Sure this will be deleted buy Beyond Clothing has found a way to make technical clothing in the US (made in Seattle) with a 4 week ship time. Seems to me the materials vendor is directing the company and Jason followed along instead of saying I will look at other vendors if you cannot met my companies needs.

  • Darrin Anderson

    Well said LH, keep up the good work Jason!

  • Jeff Johnson

    I know I am WAAAAY late to the party. I wish I had read this prior to ordering my Kuiu pants. If I had, Kuiu would not have even been considered.
    I am all for buying 100% made in U.S.A. and understand that sometimes it is not possible. I always look at where something is made and then I look at the competition. If there is American made, that is what I get. If there is no made in America, I will select something not made in China. Sometimes EVERYTHING of that product type is made in China and I need to decide if I really need it.
    I bought Kuiu since I had thought it was made in US/Canada with Japanese material. When I got my pants and saw China, I looked at my Sitka’s and saw China, then looked at Under Armour and did not see China (I think it was Vietnam).
    I have returned the Sitka’s and really thinking of returning the Kuiu’s. I like the Under Armour, which were the same price as Kuiu.
    The only thing I can say is the the Kuiu Attack and Tiburon pants, in my opinion, are on par or superior to the Sitka 90% pants. Knowing that, Kuiu could raise their price by 20% – 30% and make them here in the US. I would gladly buy made in America Kuiu.
    I will not pay for high end stuff from China. If I am buying Chinese, it will be the $13.99 crap that gets replaced every year, not the $139.99 stuff.
    I like the new Vias camo and need to decide if I keep the pants what to wear on the top half? I will not be buying any more Kuiu as long as they are still made is China.

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>