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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Today, How We Run

So here we are at today. It is October 27, 2008 and it is 1:49 pm. A somewhat typical day here at Happy Heinys /Baby Frenzy (our store front).

Many people are shocked when they walk into our store and find out that our products are also made here. We have a wonderful warehouse that also has the perfect boutique room in the front.

Our warehouse is 2 stories and is built out as far as we can build it out. In other words yes we have again outgrown our building. Upstairs we have our cutting table set up in 1 room. We also store about 1/2 of our fabric up there (the rest is in an off-site storage unit). We are able to fork-lift the fabric upstairs through a double door my wonderful contractor husband put in. He also made the perfect fabric storage units that hold 2-3 colors each. This makes it super super easy for us to not only pull and cut but also reorder without ordering too much of one color or worse not enough of another. In this same room we also have: strip cutter which measures and cuts all of the aplix and elastic perfectly for each item. This is how we are able to ensure that each item has the correct amount of stretch on it. Yes it is possible for someone to pick up the wrong size of elastic but this rarely happens. This truly helps with quality control. We also have a pair of electric snap presses in here that are running continuiously as well as a manual foot press.

Once everything is cut, it is then taken into the room next door. Once again my husband was able to build in containers for the cut fabric and supplies to be stored. It is really in this room that the magic happens. These beautiful women who love to sew sit happily and work all day. It is funny because there have been days where we have been filming stuff and they are asked to do specific things. It upsets them to be taken away from their work. They would much prefer to be sewing then on TV or in a magazine any day. I honestly could not ask for a better group of seamstresses.

Our head seamstress has actually been with me since that very first order of several hundred boat print trainers to Japan roughly 6 yrs ago. When the time came that she was about to be laid off from the contract seamstress company I was using, I hired her, there was no way I could lose her. I just could not speak highly enough about this woman. She is not only my head seamstress but she is also a very good friend. I have never had a fear of her trying to steal our business or do harm to us or even worse to leave us. Without her things would run but it would be more stressful for me. I no longer have to worry about anything upstairs she does it all. Plus to top it all off she makes great egg rolls, a favorite of mine when they are truly Asian made, like hers.

Our second in command is just as valuable. Our second in command is the best when it comes to product modifications and sewing in general. So good that everytime the kids come in here they usually leave with something special for them. Since my youngest is a bit of a weird fit, my second in command makes allof her PJ's as well as many other beautiful items. My daughter is definitely spoiled by all the girls upstairs and they enjoy having her up there "helping" out. We have been working on some new ideas that will hopefully be available by the end of the year and it is our second in command who is doing the developing of all the items that need sewing.
We then have the remaining girls, they snap, sew, serge, and repeat all day long. They are an absolutely terrific group of beautiful women. What is even greater to me is that when you look around my company and store you will find people from several different corners of the world. We are all united her for one cause, to diaper one baby at a time in cloth.

After each product is sewn it is brought downstairs and placed on the shelves for packing. The one size are wrapped first with the inserts and belly band and everything else is just put away. A typical day means 5-6 people packing boxes to go out, it is my desire to have shipping happen as soon as possible, in other words I want it all done now. But that being said, when you walk in you will almost always hear laughter coming from the packing room. Talking about what was done over the weekend, what someone said on the radio, the latest celebrity news, the kids, and of cuorse our spouses. You have to be careful though because if you say something you just may be hearing about it for the next week or longer. We truly have a lot of fun here.
During the school breaks you will often find up to 11 kids wandering around the shop as well. None of us have babysitters. And when school is out we have 2 choices everyone stay home or try to go on as normal. We go for the latter. The kids all have their own areas as well as their own playthings. The older kids enjoy helping out and getting paid. They have become expert belly band wrappers as well as excellent packers. My 9 yr old loves to run the store and does so with such knowledge, more than a child of that age ever should have. The younger children often have a large pile of scraps that they use to make not only outfits for themselves but also for their dolls, teddy bears, and parents. It really is a work enviroment that in condusive for anyone who comes here both adults and children, men and women, American and immigrant.

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