Dave Morrow, a former college lacrosse player and founder of $200 million (sales) Warrior Sports lacrosse gear, says making products in China can compromise quality and delivery.
00:07 Dave Morrow: I played lacrosse at Princeton, and I just would beat the hell out of people playing lacrosse. I used to always bend shafts and I just needed something that wouldn't bend as easily. My dad and I hatched the idea together that, what if we took titanium and used it for lacrosse shafts? It was literally one of those items where the second you put your hands on it you had to have it because it was half the weight, 5 times the strength, and from a playability standpoint, noticed an immediate impact.
00:38 Morrow: In the first year, we did 300,000 dollars and it was all consumer direct. Just taking credits cards. Then I ended up running my own building, and then my wife, who at that time, was my girlfriend, she was a geochemist working in Boulder, Colorado, of all places. So she left Boulder and moved to Detroit where I worked in this little crappy office. I'd wear blue jeans, and work boots and a T-shirt to work. And then I would chop titanium handles and polish them and wrap them up and send them out. Believe it or not, there was a titanium tubing factory right there that was 20 minutes from us. There was an aluminum extrusion factory right there.
01:18 Morrow: And then the lacrosse head frame is actually plastic injection mold. Plastic injection molding is all over metro Detroit. The margins were good enough that we could actually mold them in the US, so we were making our molds in China, but what we realized is, once we had to ship them back to the US, all the work we had to do on the molds to get them to run properly, it just got to a point where the costs weren't really worth all the time and effort to save on the initial tooling price.
01:47 Morrow: So now, we've moved almost all of our tooling business back to the United States. We're constantly searching for what products that we can bring back and source in the US. And this is more of an issue now with how popular Asian manufacturing is that everyone's like, "Well, we can got to Asia and make it at this price." The caveat I'd give there is that we have to make sure that your product is excellent.
02:15 Morrow: So, from my opinion, it's not worth, at the very beginning, to rush out and try to make that extra margin to possibly compromise the quality and delivery of the product. Because, if your product is the heart and soul of your brand that you just want able to reach out and touch it, and make sure that it's up to standard and that, if something does go wrong, you can stop it and fix it in real time. We have a very robust manufacturing community in Home At West, particularly in Detroit and in Michigan. And it's really just exploiting that know-how.
Last updated: Apr 27, 2012
NICOLE CARTER is Inc.'s San Francisco Bureau Chief. She was previously an editor at the New York Daily News, and her work has also appeared in Consumer Reports magazine. @nicoleckinc