You did a preorder and you’re producing a limited number of the jackets. Did you always plan on that, or after the episode aired, did you decide to?
We didn’t plan on that. We only made a pattern for extra small and extra large, so we weren’t sure whether we were gonna do that. We didn’t know how the show felt about it or if this really was in alignment with our style. We went back and forth about it. But after the show aired, we got a lot of interest and thought, “Why not?” We’ll probably just do one short run. I really only have the capacity to do maybe 30 or 40 pieces. They’re also kind of complex jackets. They’re not easy to make. They’re more expensive than our standard line. 

Can you talk a little bit about the production process and what went into making the jacket? 
We started with our down sweater pattern, and we just made alterations by hand. We’ve actually since upgraded to digital patterning, but for 48 years, we did everything by hand. So we just altered the patterns to have a different quilt line. Our normal one is just straight lines across. This is a chevron ski jacket look. [The three panels] are actually separate. So they have to be cut out separately, sewn together, seamed up separately. Then we construct it halfway and we fill it down with a vacuum filling machine. Then we sew it up and finish.

How long does that process take on average?
It takes about six hours to make a jacket like this. That can increase or decrease depending on how many pieces are going. If you have a big bulk order of 25 pieces, it goes faster than if there were 2 pieces, but roughly about that much time.

From when Amy initially reached out to you to when you shipped them, was that a really tight turnaround?
Yeah, it was tight. I think it was like two or three weeks. But like I said, she was so easygoing.

I saw the preorder that you have up was $875 per jacket. When it comes to producing things for a show, rather than for retail, is the pricing handled the same way?
Yeah. I sold them the jackets at retail price. 

Do you ever hear customers critique your pricing? 
I don’t know. Maybe I’m layering my own judgment in too. I think these are expensive. It’s really pricey, but the reality is that the overseas manufacturing has made the market so competitive and I really believe in paying a really good wage to my sewers. They’re really skilled. I want them to have good living wages here in Seattle, which has a really high cost of living. And the materials are more expensive than people think. Sometimes fabric is $20 a yard and that’s three or four yards per piece. So the price really climbs quickly. I price them as low as I can for what I think that they’re worth and for what I think my sewers and I should get paid. But yeah, they’re expensive. They’re pieces that, hopefully, you keep forever. We repair them forever. I think they’re worth it.

I mean, you’ve lasted since the ’70s for a reason, right?
Yeah, it’s true. We’ve been around for a really long time. Our market has historically been mostly in Japan. Folks there spend more for clothing. There’s more of a market for high-end clothing.

Why do you think it has been such a success in Japan?
I’ve asked some of our Japanese clients that question, and the answer I get is usually that high-quality stuff is really highly valued. And a lot of people equate American made with high quality. I don’t know if I’d say I totally agree. I think our stuff is high quality for sure. But I think the idea is that American made is the cream of the crop in quality. Also, that kind of Pacific Northwest, outdoorsy look is really popular and has been for a long time. It’s like an iconic look in Japan. To get those two together, that iconic look with American made, is I think a really big draw for a lot of Japanese buyers.

Is direct to consumer fairly new for you guys?
We’ve only been doing it for three or four years. We’re taking advantage of the e-commerce situation, mostly because it’s just getting too expensive to produce at wholesale price, sadly. I love my wholesale buyers, but the margin is starting to get thinner and thinner. The opportunity for selling online grows. So it’s kind of a no-brainer.