We are back with a bang and with our first blog post!
New Ocean Collection
Our Ocean Collection is finally here! It is beautifully made: great design, pretty colors, sporty styles and high quality in the manufacturing. We especially love the Ocean pattern which symbolizes the origin of our products: from the sea.
You have probably been wondering why it took so long for our collection to be available in our online store. After giving it some thought we decided to share the reasons for this delay. We want to be transparent in our supply chain and we want to let you take part in Fitico – even when things are not so great.
Our Portuguese production company let us down completely. The company is named Cottonanswer Sa and they are located in Barcelos, Portugal. Barcelos is a lovely little town near Porto. There are many textil companies, from sample manufactures to mass producers who can make many thousand, even 100,000 pieces. Cottonanswer, also known as Mesclargumento, is one of the bigger manufacturers in the area. Their size stands for experience and expertise in production but also comes with a hefty price, which we should discover soon enough.
The first conversations were nice and friendly. We met personally for a few days with constructive meetings directly at Cottonanswer, where we discussed all Fitico styles in detail and I could check the production facilites. The company is even GOTS certified – one of the highest certificates there are in fashion – and made a good impression. The prototypes were promising.
Things deteriorated soon. Already the size samples were delayed for many weeks. The initial price idea was doubled. As we were in the middle of the season and urgently needed the shipment oft he collection we accepted the price increase.
Missed delivery dates and a myriad of excuses
Cottonanswer was not able to deliver the collection on the agreed delivery date. Several other delivery dates were not met either, not in November and also not before Christmas, although promised time and again. Therefore, we could not sell the collection before Christmas.
We were told all sorts of excuses, from power failures and production shortages, delivery problems of additionals to lost or damaged fabrics.
They made the ordered pieces in January, however, not in one but in three production stages. You can imagine how frustrating this was for us.
Ultimately, Cottonanswer tried to rip us off with the price they charged for the transport of the goods to Austria. We had to organize the transport ourselves.
End of a business relationship – and a new beginning
This whole process cost us a lot of energy. We learned that our friendliness and politeness do not always yield positive results. We also learned that some business partners do not want to meet on equal terms. We at Fitico, however want to show that a fair way of doing business is possible. We want to treat our business partners with respect – especially in the fashion industry where inhumane working conditions, exploitation and unfair trading practices are everywhere.
We are already in contact with three other manufacturers. We have received the first prototypes – and they look great! We are confident that now we are on the right track and we have seen that there are companies with which another kind of cooperation seems possible.
We won’t give in and we won’t allow us to be discouraged. We won’t let a manufacturer destroy what we have created. Your trust and encouragement helped us greatly to get through these tough times. Together we are strong! Thank you!