Activewear Taps California Brand Cachet

Was Levi Strauss the founder of the California Look? For generations, clothiers who design with durable work, sports and leisure in mind have called California home. Ocean waves and mountain trails run through the California lifestyle, and local designers have formed a powerhouse brand cachet, for clothing and cars, too. Did you know that Nissan’s research and design beachhead in La Jolla designed the Altima, Maxima, Xterra, and Frontier, among others?

Some California-based activewear manufacturers are reviewing costs, time-to-market pressures and the need for skilled craftsmanship and deciding to “in-source” operations back to greater southern California. Rising wages and a strong yuan make China a less attractive production center, while infrastructure and quality issues make emerging Asian centers such as Vietnam less reliable in a quick-turn, trend-driven industry. Reuters recently reported on this trend, and noted a 6.5% increase in sector employment in the Los Angeles area alone. A sign that a home-grown industry’s manufacturing sector that long ago went East to lower costs, will head back home.  Despite California’s draconian tax and employment policies, the California Cachet and the state’s proven expertise in efficient and timely manufacturing are key competitive advantages.

At a family wedding last weekend, my old friend — a tireless entrepreneur — shared her plans to design, make and ship a new line of activewear from San Diego.  She knows that her affordable, stylish and durable products’ hang tags reading “Designed and Made in California, USA” will draw the attention of retail partners and savvy shoppers.  She’s channeling the guts and foresight of Levi Strauss.

Advertisements

Border Governors Conference: US-Mexico Relations

Santa Fe, New Mexico is site of the latest in a series of Border Governors Conferences, taking place right now. Hosted by Governors Schwarzenegger (CA) and Richardson (NM), the governors of US and Mexico border states – Arizona, Baja California, California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, New Mexico, Sonora, Tamaulipas and Texas – are hashing out vital issues tied to Border Security, Economic Development and Energy.

Why is this referred to as an “interim” conference? Read more at Wikipedia and here. (Hint: the conference was originally to be hosted by the governor of Arizona.)

The only problem is that 3 of the 4 US state governors are no-shows… Govs. Brewer of AZ and Perry of TX, lodging a counter-protest; and Gov. Schwarzenegger, with schedule conflicts. So – the teeth were kind of pulled out of this event right there.

Why should we listen when these six Mexican and four US governors talk? Because their 10 Border States represent a joint economy that ranks third in the world. And, with 42 different ports of entry, the region also represents one of the most dynamic trade and border crossing regions in the world.

Gov. Schwarzenegger is the state’s A-List deal maker; his recent trip to China resulted in preliminary agreements with Chinese suppliers for a high-speed, north-south rail link for the Golden State. (just as in the 19th century, China again contributes to Western US rail expansion… this time through infrastructure technology!) And, Gov. Richardson just secured a grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) targeting expansion of cross-border commercial rail service between New Mexico and Nuevo Leon (and he was Pres. Obama’s early nominee for Secretary of Commerce). Read previous Nitty Gritty Marketing posts on EDA here and here.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.