A: When you add up the cost of doing business, faxing samples back and forth, time to market, shipping and fuel costs, paying customs brokers so things aren't stolen, clearing customs ... there really isn't much price difference.
Q: How many workers do you have, and what do you pay them?
A: We have 15 employees. Our training wages, if they don't know anything, start at $10 an hour, and we pay part of their health benefits.
Q: You've said your business is like the slow-food movement. Please explain.
A: It's thinking local first. We start with local, living-wage jobs, manufacture here and use fair-trade fabrics.
Q: What's your biggest challenge?
A: It's hard to find skilled labor. We need people who understand how to use multiple machines and how garments go together. It's much different from somebody sitting at a single-needle sewing machine.
Q: What are the keys to growing the company?
A: Access to capital is key. The plan is to expand through wholesale, redo our website and open a couple more retail stores [outside Philadelphia] and probably move this one to a bigger location here in the next couple of years.
Q: Who's your customer?
A: She's a 35- to 55-year-old urban, educated, professional woman. The truth is some people shop here because of the sustainability factor and it's made in Philadelphia, but if the clothing wasn't priced right, wasn't the right fashion or fit, it wouldn't sell.
Contact Michael Hinkelman at email@example.com or 215-854-2656.