In preparation for the Handful Fall 17 line (available August 1), Tina Thede and Jody Filkins traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia together for a supplier visit. The duo travelled a combined 27 hours each way via planes, trains, automobiles and “Tuk Tuks” (a local version of a taxi cab) for an action packed 3 days of relationship building, management dinners, business meetings and factory tours. Tina and Jody share their experience and provide a fun glimpse behind-the-scenes of where and how your favorite Handful pieces are made:
Describe the behind-the-scenes activity in the factory. The factory was very clean and incredibly organized. There are many high tech processes at work and it was truly amazing to see it all in action. This factory works with large well-known brands and it was crazy to watch all those items being made on the line while we walked through. We were impressed with the quality control for every single piece of product…looking for loose strings, makings sure everything is sewn correctly, measurements correct, color does not bleed, etc.! We also got to see our product being made. The factory provides all meals (11,000 meals a day at one factory!) to the workers and even has dorms for living accommodations (free to them) if they desire to live on site.
What was your biggest adventure during the trip? Our luggage arrived 2 full days after we got there. Jody had packed an extra outfit and swimsuit in her carry-on but Tina had not. Therefore Jody let Tina have her extra shirt for 2 days and the ladies explored the beach, got massages and enjoyed the local markets (where Tina had to barter for a swimsuit)! Thankfully Jody had an extra Adjustable Handful bra and swimsuit bottoms to use as her suit – and since Handful dries so fast, they were able to wash the bras in the sink at night and have them dry by morning! Luckily, luggage arrived Tuesday night just prior to their departure on Wednesday morning for Cambodia.
What surprised you most on the trip? The people were truly amazing. They were so nice and welcoming. The weather was very humid – if it weren’t for our super wicking Handful bras and our Handful Flippin’ Awesome Scoop Tanks, we might have been miserable from a weather standpoint. We were definitely not used to that.
Team Handful Note: For those of you who have been part of the Handful story which began back in 2006 out of our cars and garages, you know that we moved manufacturing from China originally to the USA back in 2014. However, this move almost put us out of business due to high costs of manufacturing, inability to produce enough product and quality issues. We found another factory in Los Angeles and quality was dialed but the product cost was too high to keep our lights on and we had to make a difficult decision -- Build a company in the US and hire great US employees to work here but move production to a lower cost option or close our doors. Our factory in Cambodia is Tier 1 - top of its class. We have lost some valued customers due to this change but it was the right decision to make. Thank you all for your support of us during those hard transitions. Most definitely true in this case is 'whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger!'