BY BRETT FARRELL
Last year, I got off the phone with the owner of an apparel factory here in Oregon and I felt nervous about the idea of producing our next round of tees in his facility. It would be a big change from producing in Asia to coming stateside. There were higher costs, different methods of production and a lot of unknowns.
But, I thought to myself, “fuck it, this would be worth the risk, we are doing this.”
Ever since starting Territory Run Co., I have been inspired to make limited run trail goods that are made as close to home as possible. When you invest in local business you invest in its workers- the people in your community and a cycle of spending within one area grows.
Bill Amos, the owner of the factory has been passionate about bringing apparel manufacturing back to the US and I had been following his journey since he first opened. We talked in the past about working together but it never lined up. Last year, as Territory Run became more positioned to take a chance, I felt it was time to go for it.
And I am so grateful we did, because just several weeks ago as our t-shirts were finished up, Bill’s factory had to shut down.
I can’t speak to all the challenges of trying to bring apparel manufacturing back to the U.S. and all the work that Bill went through to try to do that but I can say that it was a hell of an effort.
When I walked into the facility and saw dozens of people at sewing machines and our t-shirts being made by a small team, I felt the magnitude of the work that was being done there.
Now, the word ‘community’ gets tossed around frequently and in effect, loses some of its meaning. But, I felt a true sense of community when I got to chat to the people who were actually cutting and sewing the fabric that would become the products I sell. This kind of contact makes the journey from rolls of fabric to completed t-shirt so much more meaningful for me as the owner.
The creation of a t-shirt or any good is something we take for granted. What do we see when we look at a shirt? Do we think about the person who spends their days laying out the fabric and making the precise cuts or the woman who slides the pieces through the sewing machine and carefully stitches its seams? Do we think about the lives of those individuals? Probably not.
When we have a closer connection to the process of manufacturing we can feel the products come alive with the stories of all the people involved and the end result becomes much more than an ordinary piece of clothing, but an effort of a community.
These t-shirts, called the All Day Tees, are now available. If you have not tried our All Day fabric before, it is an incredible soft cotton-like feel polyester with superior moisture control and odor repellency. Its recycled polyester infused with recycled coffee grounds increases the surface area of the thread to give you all these performance benefits.
I am sad that there won’t be more of these tees in the near future but I am proud to say we have created, along with a community, performance running tees made in Oregon. And with it, elevate the story of running and business in Oregon even if just for a short time.