A Long & Winding Road: An Update From Inside
Posted on May 09 2019
The Return Of The OG Little Black Tri Short.
(Grab a cuppa and put your feet up…this one is a read.)
“You guys have been great to work with but I need to tell you that I’m probably shutting down the factory.”
These words from the owner of our beloved L.A. factory hit us like a ton of bricks. Coeur was just over three years old and we were hitting our stride. The thought of getting all our patterns, fabric and raw materials over to, and qualified by, a new factory somewhere (anywhere!?) else was painful and just A LOT. Reg and I grabbed a much needed drink on the way home and immediately started game planning our new path.
When we started Coeur, we briefly flirted with the much easier idea of using another manufacturers’ stock garments and just printing fun designs on them. A number of our competitors go that route. However, I actually wanted to fix the issues other women and I had been having for ages. I needed to create a NEW garment entirely. a.k.a the seamless chamois, a worthy shelf bra, our zip bib, etc.
So when we found and were big enough to work with an experienced factory in our hometown of L.A., we were stoked. They were reliable, high quality, fair, close and (BONUS!) we also really liked them!
Then one day when he was visiting our office, the owner of that factory complained of bad heartburn. We thought nothing of it until two weeks later when he let us know that he had had a heart attack. His doctor insisted he de-stress his life if he wanted to live longer. This paired with an increase in minimum wage in Los Angeles, he was going to try to sell or shut down the factory.
After we caught our breath, we began to reach out to some of the people who had contacted us after we had gotten past the start-up phase. The most promising was a company that had a cut and sew operation outside of Boston along with a relationship with a China factory. They said that they would produce some of our gear in Boston and use the China factory when it made sense. To their credit, they did produce our 2017 order of Kona gear on short-notice but they too went through an ownership change and became unreliable and inconsistent when it came to meeting delivery dates. So, in late summer/early fall of last year, we decided we needed to diversify our risk profile and not be in a position where having just a single factory would put Coeur’s future at risk.
Our tiny production team almost fainted at the news, but we went to work re-creating patterns and tech packs and getting our new partners qualified to produce our garments. I basically have a surgically attached tape measure to my left hand now. But some incredibly learning came during this process. We found and updated most of our fabrics to the newest, even more beautiful and compressive options from Europe. With feedback from our customers, we made a few upgrades to our best-selling Little Black Tri Shorts. We added a lighter powerband gripper on the legs and updated the rear pockets. Paired with our popular, patented seam-free chamois, we are confident that we have the most comfortable black tri shorts on the market. Print versions will follow soon!
It has been a long and painful process but we have learned a ton and have tried to stay very true to our goals of giving you incredibly high quality, comfortable gear for the best value. Now that the dust has settled, we can finally breathe a little easier and we’re pleased to say that we have four factories working on our gear. We made a return to manufacturing here in Los Angeles and another two shops are offshore.
In addition to lowering risk, having multiple facilities keeps the price you pay for our garments lower because it creates competition. Winning.
We wanted to share with you and be transparent about what has been going on at Coeur and why inventory has been low for a while. We didn’t want to compromise quality and fit so it took us a long time to redo our patterns, orders and timelines to allow for more specialty fabrics and trim to more places, as well as dealing with customs from Europe and Asia.
Having a company where we create our garments from scratch, instead of just putting our art on someone else’s clothes, has been both hugely rewarding and incredibly challenging but it is the right and main thing for us to do! The answer is never as simple as one might think as to why there has been a delay in our deliveries. We so appreciate you awesome, loyal, incredible, wonderful customers that have been so patient and knew we weren’t just calling in the job but rather working to stay true to our mission of finding a way to make you the best, most comfortable, innovative and coolest garments in endurance sports.
So a massive THANK YOU for being patient with us while we went through these growing pains! Above all else, what Coeur want to do is to do is get you great gear, help you achieve your endurance goals and make you happy. I’m pretty sure we have taken a few years of life off our heads of inventory and customer service, so a huge thank you also to Ash Dragon and Jess Smith! Studs on the race course and studs in the office.
We know there will always be hurdles in running a business BUT as cliché as it may sound, we know we are stronger, better and more knowledgeable for having gone through the trials of the last 12 months. Just like triathlon, you have to put in hard work and be patient to see great results. We are looking forward to getting you new gear options and designs next month! Even more Little Black Tri Shorts coming your way in June.
Again, a huge thank you! Heart and Courage to you always.
Also, if you're interested in trying our new Black Tri Shorts, just click below. As always, we have Free U.S. Shipping along with Free (no-hassle) returns.