Tuesday, January 26, 2010

disintermediation part 1: ordering direct

I have a backpack from the Gap. It is utter garbage that's falling apart. So what exactly is the Gap adding when it has a Chinese factory sew its label on their part 53AF47Y?

Just let me order the best product direct from its manufacturer.

This applies whether I want a custom one-off or just their generic part. As I wrote (responding to a Gizmodo post triggered by Wired's garbled-rahrar-as-usual story about custom manufacturing about custom manufacturing:
I want the best worker in the factory cranking out quality $10 clothes to make me custom stuff after hours for five times the price (which will still be less than what some US store charges me for their worthless label). That just requires some bilingual entrepreneur to set up a web storefront to take my order and hook me up direct with the manufacturer.

This is a huge potential market. It cuts out the non-existent added value of some dumbass US brand supposedly getting me better quality goods while in reality they're just twisting their suppliers' arms to reduce costs.

Sadly for the USA, this innovation is more likely to come from a Chinese bilingual near the factory rather than someone living in America.

Meanwhile every American brand that only spends on marketing while ordering up generic crap (clothes, luggage, sunglasses, tools, ANYTHING, etc., etc.) from overseas factories DESERVES TO DIE. The actual factory can be the brand, and can offer custom work through these entrepreneurs. The moment Happy Dong Manufacturing gets a great rating from Consumer Reports and you can order its widget on eBay, a lot of USA specialty stores will really suffer.
This is starting to happen on Amazon. Go search for a replacement battery or USB and you'll find some entrepreneur from Asia selling them absurdly cheap.

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