MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN- I TRIED BUT I WENT ABROAD- THE STORY OF A CLOTHING DESIGNER
San Diego, CA.
Antonio Stefano is a clothing brand created with the purpose of raising money to build a hospital for abused dogs.
Its clothes are manufactured in Italy and they also wanted to manufacture in the United States but can’t, so they had to choose foreign countries, and here’s how that happened.
Antonio Stefano launched with 20 cutting-edge ties, each in 3 sizes, but hand-made in Italy.
The CEO, Stefano Riznyk, made the decision, because in launching their firm they wanted to be known for a certain level of quality.
Additionally, states Mr Riznyk, the thought of having been made in Italy carries a certain cachet.
This is true.
The costs are high, but it makes sense from a marketing perspective.
However, for their women’s line, even before Mr Trump became president, Stefano wanted to support American made goods.
Their ladies’ line is being launched with a very unique bathrobe that will take away from the current ‘grandmother’ look the regular bathrobes now carry.
He was seeking to have a product that could sell in the $100 range, and be machine washable, to make it easy to maintain.
Unlike the ties, silk was out of the question. In a way, this was good news as silk is very expensive to work with and the robe requires a lot of material.
His next step was to take his executive team to Magic in Vegas, the biggest apparel show in the world.
At Magic, he and his team interviewed a number of American firms to ascertain if they could manufacture this robe and what it would cost.
He had made arrangements with a couple of firms.
They stated they could do the job and would need a month or two after the show to supply an estimate of cost and production time.
The couple of months went by, he hadn’t heard.
He called and emailed them, nothing.
He repeated the sequence, nothing.
To this day, he has not heard back.
Finally, Stefano called on some friends and one of them suggested a good friend of hers who has a manufacturing plant in Orange County.
He drove to the company’s offices, provided them samples and all of the patterns they would require.
The manager had stated he would have a sample ready in 30 days after they had narrowed down the fabric choices to two.
The month came and went, no sample.
Calls and emails later, nothing.
A second month came and went, still no communication.
On the third month they had finally responded.
They were too busy.
He missed the entire Christmas and Valentine’s Day selling seasons.
Back to the drawing board.
He went to the next Magic conference, having lost over half a year.
He found another company that had clothing samples available and sounded excited about the project.
Finally, he thought, he had his manufacturer.
He called and emailed them several times.
Finally the saleswoman stated that they do not have the right fabric for him, even though she had shown him several samples in Las Vegas at Magic.
He wrote back asking if she did not want the project and she replied she couldn’t offer him the quality he was seeking.
He didn’t understand.
Bear in mind, this was not price related as he was asking the vendors for ‘their’ prices, rather than suggesting a price.
Now, with almost a year lost trying to support American business, he made a call to a vendor in Colombia.
He stated he was booked all afternoon, but would call him from home after work, in an hour. He did that, and in 5 minutes they concluded business.
Tomorrow, samples from each party will be shipped and they will have a sample ready in a month.
Regrettably, this happened on April 18th, the same day President Trump signed an Executive Order titled Buy American and Hire American.
What happened to American drive and customer service?
Without those two elements, it will be hard to support American.
Are all companies like this?
However, in the fashion industry, this is one company’s experience. We hope this changes soon, for America.
Stefano Riznyk is the CEO and Chief Creative Director of Antonio Stefano, a luxury brand catering to leaders.
The brand was created with the goal of raising $20 million to build a diagnostic-intensive dog hospital that will offer free services to abused and abandoned dogs.
Mr Riznyk runs one other company that will be contributing to this cause.