Small Business Saturday is the American-made holiday tucked nicely between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As if we need an excuse to buy more stuff this weekend, Small Business Saturday is about much more than just spending more money – Small Business Saturday celebrates small businesses in our local communities. Did you know that 2 out of every 3 new jobs in the private sector come from small local businesses? Today we celebrate, recognize and support those that care about US jobs and keeping the cash flowing into our communities to strengthen the local economy.
Boathouse – A Local Business Competing for a Small Piece of the Pie in an Industry Consumed by Global Giants.
Boathouse is a small, local Philadelphia business competing in a world of global giants and brands. Our main competition produce most of their product in Asia because the labor is cheap and they can avoid regulation. No matter how the big brands may spin their story, it’s a calculated bottom line business decision to put profits-over-people and purposely outsources their clothing production overseas to exploit foreign workers and plunder their land. Their imported clothing is made cheaply, in both cost & quality, to meet price points or distribution needs, not to achieve great product. Then it’s halfway around the world to a distribution center and eventually a retail store where the consumer is charged a premium price. At Boathouse we started with one thought in mind about our product – how can we make our jackets and apparel perform for the athlete and improve the athlete’s experience? Not constrained by “margins” we were free to do just that – build great product that works better for athletic performance. Learn more about the importance of buying American and read Go The Extra Mile In American-Made Style.
Boathouse stands in stark contrast to the ethics and business model of the big brands. We design and manufacture our entire product line here in Philadelphia, USA, in our own factory. We directly and indirectly give back to our community
and strengthen the US economy. We are a small business that employs 200 full time craftspeople, designers, graphic artists, customer service and sales reps in our vertically integrated North Philadelphia factory.
We inventory and manufacture everything here in Philadelphia, our home. Just ask Tony, our cutting room supervisor of over 30 years: “When I started at this company I don’t think we even had 15 people” he said. My how things have changed - Boathouse has now grown to a 200+ person operation, and employs many locals from Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs. He goes on to add “We’ve been through all the trials and tribulations of local manufacturing, but even when business was way down, we never lost a paycheck, and that is why I’ve worked here for almost thirty years”. For more on our interview with Tony read The People That Make Us Great.
So How Does Boathouse Compete with these Global Giants?
We compete in this market dominated by big brands by producing fantastic, American-made performance outerwear and apparel that meets the needs of serious athletes and teams. We start with great fabrics that perform for your athletic pursuits. We design based on performance, not a price point. We make great stuff that works and fits well, and our prices are generally lower than the brands comparable product. This is a result of factory direct to you (no middlemen). We make small lots of product in our factory, averaging about 20 garments per order and WE'RE FAST which is one of the key benefits of being a small business. Need your order tomorrow? No problem! Buy from our curated collection of retail apparel online or customize your very own branded apparel for your team, company or business and have it produced faster than any of the major brands can deliver. Design it online and order your own custom GORE-TEX or Soft Shell jackets, exclusive to your brand. You can make your own custom GORE-TEX, Mission or Soft Shell Jacket to fit your brand for about 30% less than comparable brand retail merchandise.
We Compete Where It Matters – By Building Quality, American-Made Products That Last A Lifetime.
Our answer to competition against the big brands is to build quality products that last a lifetime. While we have been in business for only a few decades, Boathouse Jackets are still out there going strong. By owning and managing every step of the production process locally we can guarantee that you’ll receive the best of class. Our Elite Performance Outerwear and Jackets have been delivered around the world for more than 30 years, and most of them are still coveted and in use today. Many are from the days when you were younger and more athletic, but we know you still cherish your Boathouse Jacket. Even after a 27-year old Boathouse jacket’s zipper had “lost its pull” we fixed it no problem, no questions asked. This is what sets us apart from the big brands. We believe in our product so much so that even after 27 years of rigorous outdoor athletic training we think it should still perform like new. Heck – our GORE-TEX jackets are “Guaranteed to Keep you Dry and Comfortable” for as long as you wear it. That’s our Guarantee in partnership with WL Gore, the company behind GORE-TEX fabrics.
The Additional Benefits of Shopping Small, Shopping American with Boathouse.
Our Factory Direct approach has more benefits than just employing Americans, who pay taxes and support the community. Since we own the raw materials, make the product in our Philly factory and ship directly to you we help reduce the carbon footprint. Since our product is built to last, you don’t need to buy more later. And since we are committed to providing customers with easy reordering of custom team gear, we don’t consume as many resources that in the long run save time and money.
Boathouse is a small local business in competition with the largest athletic brands in the world, but our size, commitment and resolve give us an advantage in the athletic apparel market. Our accessibility, small business mentality and hardworking Philadelphia work ethic contribute to our success. We all know the David and Goliath story; although we don’t expect to ever kill the giant brands, we do expect to outperform them everyday.