The Tenth Year
Defining Made in USA May 2010
The Big Move ~ Made In USA
The rapidly rising cost in the backdrop of a slow down economy continues to put pressure on many businesses and Celltei is no exception. We have very skilled and talented staff in Hong Kong but are frustrated about unstable quality of materials sourced. Managing the operations from miles away is also challenging. In spite of genuine effort, we were not able to achieve the production efficiency needed and started to focus more on customized items with higher margin. As the US economy worsen, we took a bold move and have the entire production moved to the US. Some of our Hong Kong staff retired and other took up other jobs. With good relationship, we are able to call and ask for advise when we need help in production.
In early 2010, we jammed a 40 foot container of the machines, equipment and tools into a small place and started training new staff we negotiated a 4000 sq. ft warehouse space nearby.
From Warehouse to Manufacturing June 2010
We did as much as we can to reduce the renovation cost and after two months of hard work, we have a bright new production facilities. Many friends and neighboring businesses have offered their help. Jose who works for the engineering firm up-stair directed most of the renovation work. Roger whose company fixes truck spared their staff to help us hoisted our two-tone high press cutting machine and move. Martin, a welder nearby, re-built many heavy duty shelves and welded beautifully together old metal display frames for out outside gate. Gabriel printed the gate. Adrien, Martin's boss who lent us the expensive equipments in exchange for a six pack he didn't even ask for. And, most gratefully, a postman who we picked up packages for us for years, volunteered to use his postal truck to help us move one 10-foot metal beam around the block from our old shop to the new factory. I had to ask "are you sure?" many times as I knew we get get him into trouble. I couldn't imagine how and the amount of money we need to spend to get the many tasks involved in setting up the new premises done without the warmth from people I know from running this small business. There is little 'extra' in running a small business, only hard work with no corporate jargon. "A friend in need is a friend indeed", we appreciate all the helps and hope we can return a favor one day.
Production in October 2010
As making luggage is very labor intensive and demands flexible skills, it is not easy to train and retain new staff. We are however able to know the source of all our materials. After one year, we are still organizing slowly but surely.
Few companies manufacture their products. Celltei is willing and continue to look for new angles and opportunities. Still tuned!
Angie in summer 2011