April 05, 2018 2 min read

Last I wrote on the process, I was anticipating my trip to Portugal to meet with my manufacturers and see the samples. I was seriously nervous about a hundred different things in this trip. Would the samples look good? Would they fit well? Would the factory conditions be good? Would I feel confident about the people I was working with? And under each of these big questions, were lots of little related questions.

Amazingly (and luckily!) the trip was a success across the board. The people helping to get this brand off the ground are lovely. They are family businesses, working together to make an honest living and to create quality employment in their communities. The factory was safe, clean, and well organized. The women and men with decades of experience in clothing manufacturing demonstrated great care in how the products are made, and are constantly innovating. As I brought up my focus on environmental sustainability, I was pleased to see how much they were already doing and that they were totally supportive of my unusual requests (like saving and setting aside any larger scraps or imperfect fabric.)

Then the samples--each one was beautifully constructed and the fabrics looked great. Since I wasn’t about to take my son out of school for three days to come with me (maybe next time), I hired a fit model to try on all of the samples. Eight-year-old Pedro looked great in the samples, and handled my detail-oriented questions with grace. Were they easy to put on? How do the pockets feel? Are they comfortable when you sit down? Which style do you like the best? And the look of glee on his face as dove into the Dutch stroopkoekjes I brought was priceless. (BTW, in the pic at the top he is wearing the Jackalo coverall.)

With all of the travel time, I was only able to have one day to do all of the things I needed to do. It was packed, but wonderful. I returned home, with a huge to do list, and a pile of samples to measure and test. I’ve spent the last few days huddled over the samples measuring each and every detail and preparing lists of changes (which I’m look minor at this point) and planning out the next steps for launch. Lots to do!

Thank you all so much for your support and willingness to spread the word. I so appreciate every email you’ve sent to friends and share on Instagram.

In the words of my old boss Andy, “Onward!”