1st June 2008
This time last year the UK factory that we had built a 4 year working relationship with in realising our ecoYoga mat went into administration without warning. Given our working methods of trust, and at that time no contingency plan, we were suddenly without supply!
In April 2007 the departments we dealt with were sold off in two parts within the UK. After speaking with these two buyers we felt the best way forward was to work with them both. One was to manufacture the material and the other to cut, hold stock and prepare orders for despatch. It seemed straight forward though we knew it would mean higher cost.
Most importantly we believed it would effectively and swiftly start our supply again and production would remain in the UK .
To ensure the continuity of production two utterly crucial yet complex fundamentals of our mat needed understood:
1/ working with the richness, and consequently the temperament, of our natural compound and 2/ understanding and achieving the design/the specifications of the finished mat.
Though we tried, there were no techniques shared between the two factories and so the team had to start from scratch. They were excited but quite baffled by our product. What we ask them to do in order to create the mat is the antithesis of their normal procedure. One needs to be sensitive when asking guys who have been working a certain method for 20 years to now do it the opposite way! That we also wanted to meet everyone and be present for any production was a novelty to them. Explaining the nature of our mat and the kind of company we are had to begin again. We were back at square one.
We knew how difficult, but therefore how special, a product we were asking to be made. Whereas most products made on this type of machinery can run at fairly high speed with little attention, our material runs very slowly and requires constant constant vigilance. In terms of profitability this is not attractive to any factory. The challenge however IS.
Along with our persistent dialogue and support in understanding their difficulties, the transition finally succeeded.
We cannot thank you enough for your patience over this period.
Having established these new working relationships we have unexpectedly been presented with another increase in production costs. Since 2003 we have absorbed as far as possible numerous unanticipated price increases (the biggest in 2005/6 when natural rubber as raw material doubled in cost but also several others as the production factory realised the conditions of manufacture as well as the endless increase in transport costs).
The ecoYoga jute mat was, perhaps still is, the pioneer of a changing yoga mat market. Now that production is stable again we wish to remain an example of a business with integrity and deepening awareness for a consumer society (and stable prices!) as well as continuing our valuable current relationship with you.