I have six—count 'em, six!—blog posts waiting to be written up but am currently slammed with work since I didn't bring any work with me on (teaser alert) my trip to Portland last week! But that will be the next post. This one is about Andy's bags.
For those who don't know, Andy and his father own a textile manufacturing company in Boston. The company was started about 90 years ago by his father and his grandfather, and at one point his great-grandfather worked there too, so Andy is the fourth generation in his family to make his living there! (Oh, and did you know that I go in once a week to do the books?) It's no surprise to anyone who reads the news, but small factories are dying out all over the country. We're losing business every day to China and India, because we can't possibly compete price-wise. A few of Andy's customers care a great deal about the "Made in the USA" label. Others switched to foreign suppliers and then came crawling back when the quality was unreliable, when they could never reach anyone on the phone with a question, when the long freight times meant no more "rush" orders. But otherwise, it's been a struggle to find market niches that are still viable. One thing Andy makes are small buffing/polishing wheels that are used in a variety of industries, such as jewelry makers. In fact, Andy's buffing wheels are used to polish the Oscar statuettes for a company in New York!
Another item that we make are these great big canvas bags that have been used for decades by the utility companies. In the days when you used to see a lot of utility trucks driving around, there was always a filthy canvas bag hanging off the back door, filled with tools and such. They are indestructible—we've used them around the house for years for every possible thing. A few years ago Andy saw higher-end canvas bags being sold by places like LLBean, and he started wondering if that might be an avenue to pursue. Thus was the Boston Bag company founded, as a subsidiary. And just this past Sunday, the bags were featured in an article in the Boston Globe!
And guess what, Boston Bags will be holding all the swag given to the movie stars on both of the Boston Marathon bombing movies that are in production! That's the Mark Wahlberg one, called Patriots Day, about the actual events of the day, and the Jake Gyllenhaal one, Stronger, about Jeff Bauman, one of the victims of the bombing. Which I think is pretty cool. They're really nice bags, and I think the Boston tie-in is especially meaningful in this case. I wonder what will be in them....
So...now you know something about Andy's work! Next post will be about my own professional development.