September 03, 2021 2 min read
Last week, members of the Duckworth team hopped on a flight from Bozeman to the Carolinas. No, the purpose of this trip wasn’t to sit on the luxurious beaches of the area, nor play in the Blue Mountains, but to meet with old friends and to reacquaint ourselves with familiar faces not seen in well over a year. Where? On the floors of the manufacturing hubs so critical to our story.
Indeed, our journey brought us to the people who work those facilities day-after-day, crafting and finishing the Duckworth Merino Wool clothing we have the distinct honor of presenting to you. Yes, our story starts on the ranch in Montana and this genesis is a beautiful one we love to tell. But it is crucial to tell, also, the beautiful story of supporting hundreds of American jobs brought about by our commitment to a fully domestic supply chain. This is the telling of the “to” portion of our Sheep-To-Shelf mantra.
American machinery, perfected for the production of premium wool clothing.
To see them in action, the joy derived from an artful and nearly-lost craft of the U.S., was incredibly gratifying.
But while that pride-and-joy was evident, so too was pain and stress. We heard story after story of the strains placed by operating at 65-70% of normal capacity. We experienced – albeit briefly – the toll this new reality is taking on people. Case and point: In one instance, we were unable to find the CEO, delaying a meeting we had scheduled before arrival. He wasn't in his office, as we expected, but rather stood side-by-side with his employees on the floor, sweating in earnest effort to meet the onslaught of orders that have flooded a truly strained industry.
A glimpse of one of our North Carolina facilities.
This is the backdrop against which we enter Labor Day: An honest and gritty industry put on the ropes by pandemic-derived challenges and labor shortages. But our partners meet them with a courage and tenacity woven into the very fabric of our proud brand, a sentiment born on the ranch and carried throughout each step of the process.
Wool clothing manufacturing is an intimate dance of machine and skilled, seasoned facility employees.
It's typical of a brand to hold a sale on Labor Day, but we felt - after nearly 18 months of uncertainty and friction placed on our supply chain by Covid - it was more appropriate to truly celebrate our USA-based warehouse and manufacturing partners. We ask that you join us in offering a warm "thank you" to the individuals who take our premium Montana-grown Merino Wool and finish it into the garments you know and love and rely on.
Our supply chain.