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.