First, near the end of last year, we decided to make our own leather briefcases, backpacks, bags and luggage instead of having them made by someone else. In doing so, we significantly increased quality and lowered the number of defective bags we received. It was a huge step up for Saddleback. We hired an organized and structured Dutchman and empowered him to pull together a handful of artisans experienced in leatherwork.
Well, he put together a diverse team of boot makers, shoe makers, clothiers, tailors and saddle makers. We pay them more than they’ve ever made and in doing so, have built loyalty and raised future quality. It’s such a desirable place to work, that no one ever wants to leave. No one has to be trained and make the same mistakes the last guy or gal made. We are involved in their lives and even know their kids’ names. They’re part of our Saddleback family and therefore, part of yours.
Second, our leather and some other costs rose significantly at the end of 2008. We’ve been buffering you, our family, from those costs increases, but are no longer able to and continue the unparalleled workmanship we promise to you. All of that to(more…)