#SWAAYthenarrative

What I Learned From Re-shoring Our Manufacturing As a US Consumer Brand"

Business

With American manufacturing being a huge topic of interest for our President, Donald Trump, you would think it would be an easy transition to re-shore your business. Well, try running a company with double manufacturing expenses on a single sales revenue.


Our brand, FOXERS, is steadily increasing in demand around the globe, and it's perfectly poised for a second factory, one in our homeland. We already had some products made in the USA, right in Atlanta, GA where we are located. So, to help combat inventory selling out due to our growth (and thus lost sales) I thought that it might be time to manufacture some of our highest volume products here. I have always wanted manufacturing to be close to the office, but the cost and expertise had never worked out before.

There were a lot of questions that came up with that decision. How do we handle two factories with double purchase order expenses? How do we purchase all of the fabric and parts months before production and be able to pay for it? When to start and what to make first? This also requires double the cost for everything (fabric, labor, parts/notions, etc.) so how could I possibly handle this increase? One top of all that, we hired a new marketing manager for FOXERS Amazon sales, and he was asking us to increase inventory before he increased advertising. He was familiar with crowd funding and thought it should be our next marketing step for exposure. Interesting? I needed capital to create the USA manufacturing while we still maintained our manufacturing abroad and he needs reliable inventory made quickly and steadily that won't run out. So we have the answer: pre-order-crowdfunding to purchase a FOXERS racerback before it's made to get us the money and exposure we need.

We decided on the FOXERS 24/7 Racerbacks. Our customers already love the comfort and style, they even reorder often with every new color that becomes available. So why not also bring in some new fabrics (made in USA) and a new size that's been long requested (3XL). First decision made, product samples made, samples tested, and new size developed. Cost of samples, patterns, grading for each size, photography, video production, models, etc.: all done and paid. All that was left was choosing a platform to setup pre-ordering and start raising funds, one Kickstarter account later and we were ready to go. The cost was already adding up, but the dream of USA manufacturing was coming to life right before our eyes.

Everything was ready to go, but we still had to make the promotional materials and actually get people to pre-order. My first thought was, "Oh no!" I didn't want to put myself out there and ask people to buy my racerbacks out of nowhere. What if no one pre-orders? Or even worse, what if only a few people do and we don't get the funding to build the local manufacturing to supply those pre-orders. Our marketing manager assured me that it would work and do well. He said you will have to market to your FOXERS customers, the racerback customers, your family, friends, business associates, etc.

So, here we go June 18th launching a pledge-based ordering system through a crowdfunding platform. I was so nervous on that day that I hardly remember anything from hour to hour. I told myself, "It's okay if we get about $1,500 today in pledges for the racerbacks?" But the marketing manager kindly reminded me that no, you need to get at least 50% in the first few days or it might not fund. WHAT?! I can tell you one thing: I did not sleep for three nights straight after the launch. I'm still thinking about it day and night as it is ongoing, but I can already say this experience has pushed my limits whilst bringing us so much great exposure. Am I scared? Yes. But it was definitely the right decision. Fear is something that all business owners feel. Being a bit scared or even nauseated when you grow your business in a new direction is completely natural. Now, I use this knowledge to keep me focused and calm when I do feel that way; I know it's the norm and it means things are mostly going to be successful so long as I can push through.

We funded over 74% within the first week and still have three more weeks to go! Yes, I'm still putting myself out there, but it is working!

Since the start of our campaign I have had so many great inquiries for new business opportunities and sales. We've increased sales everywhere on all our other platforms and formed new relationships simply because we put ourselves out there with this one campaign. My family and friends have learned so much more about FOXERS and are all talking about the campaign! I have learned what to do better as well as what not to do, if I were to ever do this again. We learned how to market our brand through a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter, but we also learned that pushing our boundaries is worth the fear once you get to the success. If anyone else is thinking of doing this, please email me anytime. I'll give my advice on what I did and didn't do, from one friend to another.

You can support our Kickstart campaign here.

Health

It's Time We Ditch Over the Counter Period Care and Embrace the Power of CBD

Going through adolescence and puberty can take its toll. As we try and navigate the changes that are happening and settle into adulthood, it's easy to be unaware of something that might be a reason for concern, or we may rely on old traditional methods of support that aren't conducive to positive long-term health.

As a society, we have accepted popular over-the-counter medicines that are used for an isolated headache or migraine to be the only line of defense to treat period pain. We have allowed old treatments and information to remain stagnant and thus have failed to evolve with the times. In order for change to be possible, we need to modify our approach and take advantage of and source new information, products, and research while pushing the conversation forward to normalize discussions around menstruation to better support the health of people who menstruate.

As a society, we have accepted popular over-the-counter medicines that are used for an isolated headache or migraine to be the only line of defense to treat period pain.

Between growing up with three sisters and a dad who is a double-board certified OB/GYN and infertility specialist, vaginal wellness has always taken center stage in my house. Through this, I had a lens into a world that overtime became more obviously outdated and slow to establish new tools to help combat the unpleasantries that are associated with menstruation. In my own family, I was able to see how different getting your period could be, how diverse symptoms were, and the importance of quality female wellness.

One of my sisters had the unfortunate experience of dealing with an ulcer related to excessive use of over-the-counter medication. This medicine was the only available option to help ease the pain throughout her cycle, which is a direct example of just how damaging the lack of quality menstrual-pain products can be and the toll it takes on our bodies.

It was hard not to wonder why period companies weren't as equally diverse as its customers. Or perhaps another question is, where is the effort to even have open discussions about what more could be done? As you could imagine, growing up with a doctor in the family lends itself to immediate access to health information, but this is a luxury that most people do not have. So where are the resources to help educate women and other people with vaginas on their bodies or symptoms they should look out for to help maintain positive reproductive health?

Through these observations, it became apparent just how much more could be done to support, aid, and educate women or other people with vagins on reproductive wellness. As someone who took to the trend of CBD to help with my own menstrual cycle symptoms, it had dawned on me that I was already nurturing a solution. I had been sharing my experience with CBD for menstrual relief with my sisters and girlfriends, so why not the rest of our community?

Enter, Maxine + Morgan, the CBD based wellness brand dedicated to using natural ingredients to alleviate menstrual cycle symptoms that I created with my dad Dr. Allen Morgan. When my family and I learned that people who menstruate sacrifice approximately 23 days a year on average worth of productivity because of period-related symptoms, we knew our products could improve that. We created capsules that are GMO free, gluten free, and vegan; all of which are made up using only six ingredients. Turmeric, ginger, cramp bark, valerian root, and fennel coupled with the healing qualities of CBD make up our unique formula that has been scientifically shown to reduce PMS symptoms and cramping. In addition to our CBD-based products, we also have a wellness line of options that are CBD free, which are also undergoing a clinical study to determine overall effectiveness.

In my own family, I was able to see how different getting your period could be, how diverse symptoms were, and the importance of quality vaginal wellness.

We decided early on that we would focus on providing high-quality supplements that fostered an uninterrupted lifestyle while simultaneously investing time and resources to new research and information. Having only been established for a few years now, we have coordinated the first ever clinical study to compare the effectiveness of CBD to popular over-the-counter medicine. We have also created an initiative with the non-profit organization, Period.org to donate funds to help support their amazing cause.

As a program that prioritizes access to information, hygiene products, and resources, we couldn't think of a better group to join forces with to leverage change within the industry. Especially now in the pandemic era, there has been an influx of women who are facing the harsh reality of period poverty. This refers to women who need feminine hygiene products but cannot afford them, which often leads to using toilet paper, rags, socks, or not using anything at all. This is completely unacceptable. Maxine+Morgan is vowing to bring awareness to period poverty and sourcing solutions that help all women feel comfortable, healthy, and strong. Through strategic partnerships, influencing open conversations, and raising money for non-profit organizations we can create a new dynamic and standard.

Maxine+Morgan is vowing to bring awareness to period poverty and sourcing solutions that help all menstruating people feel comfortable, healthy, and strong.

We have set high standards for the quality and effectiveness of our products, but also for who we are as a company. We are dedicated to being allies to the female community in order to foster change, create support, and reinvent how we talk about period health. More times than not, we only discuss our experience around our period when we're forced to cancel plans because our cramps are too painful to leave the house. We have no problem talking about our new skincare routine but shy away from talking about our flow, or what's going on down there. Within the next five years, we're setting our sights on not only being readily available in all major retail platforms that carry your other female wellness products, but creating a new dialogue filled with updated information and dismantling the stigma behind open discussion on menstruation and painful period symptoms.

We're with you, we feel you, we are you.