Interview with BJ Nickol

Face2Face
BJ Nickol
BJ Nickol
Founder & President
All American Clothing Company
All American Clothing Company

Trumps' 'America first' policy seems mostly talk, no action

All American Clothing Company is an organisation built on the mission to support families and jobs by producing high-quality clothing in the United States at an affordable price. The company provides jobs and a tax base that supports communities in the United States. Founder and president BJ Nickol shares the ebb and flow of being a 'Made in USA' brand.

The new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has just been signed, and the United States is not a part of it. How will it impact your business?

As our name implies, we are an 'American made' company and right now inexpensive foreign-made goods are our biggest competition.  Nearly 98 per cent of all apparel sold in the United States is from some other country. So, I believe this will be a positive for us by helping to limit the amount of foreign competition we face.

What is the percentage of 'Made in America' brands in the country? Is it growing?

Only 2 per cent of the apparel sold in America is made here; most of it comes from abroad.   I don't feel like it is growing much if at all.  As an example, denim jeans are one of America's most popular products and at this time last year, we still had three mills here producing denim.  Now, in 2018, we only have one mill left producing denim.
What is the percentage of 'Made in America' brands in the country? Is it growing?

Has Trumps' 'America first' ethos rubbed off on the brand? Has it worked for you?

No not really, so far it seems to have been mostly talk and no action.

You recently came out with a list of top 10 geographies that buy your products. The list had lots of small towns. Why aren't more people buying homegrown apparels?

The smaller towns seem to understand the importance of buying local and supporting their communities and country. But, unfortunately I feel most people in our country only care about price; they want the cheapest thing they can find without thinking about how it affects their community or others in the world.  If Americans continue to consume cheap products without concern of who is making the product and the conditions they are working under, then I think it will continue to be a race to the bottom.  America will continue to lose good-paying manufacturing jobs and you will see more sweatshops popping up in foreign countries.

Which international locations do you ship your products to?

We are seeing the most activity from the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan.

Do you source raw material locally as well? Where do you source machinery from?

We source most of our materials from within the United States. However, there are some that are no longer made here and we source those from abroad. We source machinery from both domestic and foreign manufacturers.

What is the annual manufacturing capacity? What is the lead time required to manufacture 1,000 pieces?

That depends on the product; for jeans that are our most popular items, 1,000 pieces can take 8-12 weeks.

Which are your best selling products and which price-points work well for you?

Our best selling products are jeans and tee shirts.
Which are your best selling products and which price-points work well for you?

What is the minimum wage in the United States now?

$7.25 is the federal minimum wage.  However, the average wage in the apparel industry is around $12 per hour.

How have the last two fiscals been and what are your expectations for the next two.

We are a multi-million dollar company (less than 10 million in sales). Growth has been fairly slow the last couple of years, but we do expect things will improve over the next couple of years.

How much employment have you generated since the time you started?

At our peak, we had around 50 people working for us.

What are the challenges of manufacturing apparel in America?

Sourcing US-made materials can be very hard and competing against inexpensive foreign products is a big challenge.

Do you plan to expand production or diversify into new product segments? What are your future plans?

We are planning to expand our current production, add new product segments, and improve our ability to market and sell globally. (HO)
Published on: 26/03/2018

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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