During the past 7 years, U.S. clothing manufacturer American Giant has become a stunning example of how to succeed in the clothing business while competing against countries who dominate the market, such as India and China. Bayard Winthrop, the founder of the company, had the dream and desire to create an apparel manufacturing company that would produce high-quality, competitively priced, American-made apparel while dealing solely with a U.S. supply chain.
Mr. Winthrop figured out how to do the impossible: manufacture clothes entirely in the United States with goods purchased from American supply companies. He found that by going back to basics and building on foundational American business principles he could manufacture high-quality apparel with the ability to reflect the American work ethic and spirit. He wanted to clothes that would become part of its owner's personality, like an old pair of jeans that fit better every time you wear them.
These days, most of the money you spend on clothes goes to the brand, the retailer, and the numerous middlemen that shuffle the item between the two. The actual cost of the item is small compared to the price tag. A $60 hoodie at the mall typically costs between $8-$10 to produce at an Asian manufacturing facility.
American Giant Overview
American Giant, Inc. is an American manufacturing company primarily known for outerwear like hoodies, sweatshirts, and sweatpants. They pride themselves on being a company that represents the "Made in America" work ethic and welcome you to their website with the words, "Made In The USA Must Evolve Or Die, We Choose Evolve."
Their success story has earned the company the following featured articles in Forbes Magazine: "5 Reasons Why American Giant Is The New Levi Strauss," Slate Magazine: "This is The Greatest Hoodie Ever Made," Fast Company: "The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies." They've also been featured in the following publications:
Once the public read Slate Magazine's report stating that American Giant “created the best hoodie known to man,” and was selling them in America at a price point of $89, sales were enormous. Bayard Winthrop reported that sales continue to double each year since 2012. They started with a single product that was manufactured exclusively in Brisbane, California. Now, the company has grown to six factories and their product line has expanded to include accessories, leggings, and tees. American Giant attributes its success by adhering to the following philosophies.
Lead With Technology: Allow Form To Follow Function
The same way Levi Strauss's 501 jeans were patented in 1915 as jeans with copper rivets for reinforcement purposes, Winthrop hired Apple's Steve Mootoo to design their hoodie similar to a tech pack. This design included newer technology i.e., double lining and ribbed shoulder and waist panels providing better movement and durability.
Do One Thing And Do It Better Than Anyone
American Giant's focus is producing one high-quality item that continues to evolve but maintains its overall merit. The company also takes part in the production of high-quality garments and fabrics by partnering with growers and mills in Northern Carolina, establishing beneficial ecosystems around its production facilities.
Never Skimp On Quality
Rather than depend on huge marketing campaigns, American Giant has eliminated the middleman. This allows the company to invest in premium materials. American Giant markets and sells their products in retail locations and online. They capitalize on the absence of middlemen, inferior goods, and overseas shipping costs which allow stakeholders (including employees and customers) increased monetary benefits.
Be Above Trend
The legacy of Levi's 501 jeans represents how Americans feel about their jobs and the struggle to survive. This company conveys a similar philosophy with their “don't get comfortable” message intended to re-introduce American consumers to an eclectic mix of what American manufacturing stands for. American Giant proves that it is possible to succeed in an all-American environment based on basic values and state-of-the-art technology. They're bringing back the foundational ingredients needed in today's shopping experience - value, quality, usefulness, and durability.
Work Smarter And Harder
- The apparel industry is fierce and competitive. Many designers opt to have their lines manufactured abroad because it's faster and less expensive. When online, www.american-giant.com will tell you that if manufacturing is to continue in the U.S., companies will have to operate smarter and harder to design and create higher-quality products. In order to practice what they preach, the company has put together a complete supply chain of American people and materials in place for just that purpose.
Investing In American Technology And Engineering
The company intends to produce the most popular American apparel classics while creating new employment opportunities designed to reboot productivity in many manufacturing towns across the USA. American Giant, Inc. is an American company manufacturing apparel for men and women. The product line comprises sweatshirts, T-shirts, bottoms, jackets, and accessories, along with products designed exclusively for their female clientele like their long sleeve dresses.
American Giant Products And Services
It all began in 2011 when American Giant launched its classic full zip sweatshirt created by Apple's former industrial engineer Philipe Manoux. The sweatshirt is constructed of heavy, 12.4-ounce fleece featuring reinforced elbow pads, a double-lined hood, custom hardware, a side-panel for mobility, and spandex woven into the cuffs and waist to hold shape and elasticity.
By marketing their garments directly from the factory via the internet, American Giant avoids high distribution costs added to most other clothes. American Giant sells their basic sweatshirt for $59 and the full-zip hooded sweatshirt (the classic hoodie) for $79 (including shipping and free returns). The owner of the company says it will last a lifetime. Buying American, wearing American, and working for an American company is good for the country. American Giant creates jobs, revitalizes factories, and energizes manufacturing across all of North America.
The company also offers heavy and mid-weight sweatshirts, T-shirts, sweatpants, and zip hoodies. There's an extensive accessory line including bags manufactured with materials that are resilient and tough because they're made from industrial-strength duck canvas here in the USA. The Kodiak carryall is made featuring a ballistic nylon bottom that could last a lifetime. The following items are available from American Giant:
Belts, Blankets, and Belt Buckles
New Arrivals - Men's Jackets
New Arrivals - Men's Shirts and Pants
New Arrivals - Women's Apparel
American Giant Headquarters Information
American Giant's flagship store is also the company's headquarters. It is a fully stocked retail location which was the oldest flag-making factory in San Francisco. Headquarters are located at the following address:
161 Natoma Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
American Giant's success is due in part to discovering the right loophole. The loophole permits Winthrop the luxury of spending more time and money actually producing his apparel line than his competition does. He would hire a former Apple employee, an industrial designer to redesign every aspect of the sweatshirt including the weave of the fabric to what color the drawstrings around the neck should be.
American Giant doesn't have the overhead of maintaining permanent retail stores, and it does not depend on dealing with middlemen. They have their flagship location which is also the headquarters for American Giant, Inc. along with one pop-up store which will close in 2019.
The appeal of an American made, high-quality product speaks to the mindset of Americans everywhere who are willing to invest in the workers and factories operating in their neighborhood. Though many people say the price is high, the reviews posted by verified customers rave about fit, construction, and durability. The bottom line is American Giant has made market and manufacturing history by giving the public something they haven't had access to in quite some time - products with that Made In America label.
The future isn't so bright for companies who cannot compete with Amazon or well-funded e-commerce startups. Perhaps the dedicated American entrepreneur should take another look at how they're marketing their products and how much is being spent on branding and middlemen. American Giant has taught the world that the humble sweatshirt is a very important item to have in one's wardrobe, perhaps one made in the USA makes it that much better.