When I first started selling leather on the road almost all motorcycle leather was made in the USA. The scope of quality was from poor to excellent. Early on I developed an appetite for excellent. There was something nice about a customer grabbing the sleeve of a jacket and zealously exclaiming: "Hey, feel this!"
I spent a lot of time finding what I wanted. Whenever I was struck by a jacket I would ask the owner if I could check it out. I would memorize the label and go on a pilgrimage to find the person who made the jacket.
A pattern developed. All the good stuff was made by very small companies. Sometimes it was a one or two person show and they almost always specialized in one thing. I developed liaisons with people who were working out of their homes then and are now running factories. I needed to work with people who were good craftsmen, used excellent materials, were innovative and were willing to implement the changes I wanted.
We have been dealing with some of the same contractors for over thirty years. All the companies are small and we even still deal with one "One man show who works out of his basement."
We have converted our upstairs into a sewing factory. For the past year we have been gathering the best machinery and people we can find. We are fortunate to be located in a part of the mountains that was riddled with sewing factories so we have a lot of talented people to choose from whose jobs were sent oversees. We plan to be making almost everything in house by 2015.
The rest of our manufacturing is done in the following states:
We do not support sweatshop labor. From our position as a small company it would be difficult to impossible to ensure that fair labor practices were being followed in a factory thousands of miles away. The quest for cheap labor regardless of the consequences wastes resources, is dehumanizing, and has ravaged many communities at home and abroad.