Out of all the blogs I have written so far, when it comes to OPERATION TOA, this is the most important one to date. This blog and the topics I am about to cover are the key stone to the entire operation, without it, we would not be able to have the SHOCK & AWE effect on the ground we are aiming for.
Before we hook into it I just wanted to say that I hope you are enjoying my style of blogging, I like to keep it real instead of writing like I am some soulless robot selling some marketing spiel BS.
Let's hook in!
1. MANUFACTURING MATTERS
It is as simple as the title, manufacturing matters. You can have the best design concepts in the world, you can have the best design team in the world, you can have the best tech packs in the world, if you do not have access to a world class manufacturing facility, none of the above matters.
Over the short time I have been operating and building Warfighter Athletic, this has been the biggest challenge to date. Trying to find a world class facility who can deliver quality from start to finish, from prototype to bulk production, it has not been an easy task.
As I mentioned above, you can have the best designs, fabrics, and trims in the world, but if you don't have a manufacturing facility that can construct each garment to the highest possible standard, durability and reliability will suffer.
A great lesson I have learned is that industry knowledge and contacts matter, you can produce technical apparel that looks the part, but if you don't have specialist manufacturers putting it all together, the only thing your gear will do, is fall apart.
2. MILITARY MANUFACTURING
Now, I can take zero credit for this next part, if you've heard one entrepreneur talk about it, you've heard all of them talk about it (well the successful ones anyway), you can't do it alone, a strong, diverse and skilled team is crucial.
Yes the concept of combining the best features of outdoor, hunting, and military technical apparel to create something truly unique and hybrid were mine. It was my vision to create functional and durable (military and hunting) high performance apparel that was light weight and offered extreme mobility (outdoors). But it was the knowledge of David Wood and Andrea, our designer, who had deep manufacturing contacts and knowledge.
Our manufacturing facility was not selected because "it will do" or as some after thought, it was specifically selected because of it's specialist capabilities in technical apparel.
It was important that in our mission to design, develop and produce the best technical apparel in the world, that we used the best manufacturing facilities in the world, it just makes sense.
The facility that we are using not only produces high quality technical apparel for high quality brands, it also specializes in making high performance PPE (personal protective equipment) and wet weather gear for European military's and specialist military units.
The last point is particularly important, let me explain. As I mentioned above, you can have the best concepts, designers, fabrics, and trims in the world, but if you have technical apparel being put together in some fashion house or factory, when the gear is taken into rugged and adverse environments, it will fall apart.
As an example, we have selected a premium DWR coated stretch polyester fabric with a highly rated waterproof breathable membrane, we have also invested in premium high quality YKK water repellent zips, we have cut no corners. BUT, if we use an average manufacturing facility, the premium fabric and zips mean nothing when water is coming through the seams due to poor construction and seam taping.
This is exactly why we selected this facility, as an example, they have developed seam sealing techniques for use in extreme military applications, ensuring that there is no compromise in any aspect of the construction of the jacket.
This is the level of thought, love and passion that goes in when the project is being driven by someone who is an end user and not some slick corporate running a churn and burn operation, who knows what it is like to be out in extreme environments with gear that is sub par and the effects it can have on survival and performance.
3. THE FIRST RULE OF SOF
You know the first rule, look good! Of course that rule still applies here, but looks good, is good, doesn't fly. Even with the best of the best across the board, if you do not go out and truly test the physical garment, you will not find the refinements that need to be made in order to achieve perfection.
This is what it is like within the SOF community, you are always searching for that extra 1%, because that 1% could be the difference. You can trust, that the only person I trust, to sign off on the final prototypes, is me.
I don't care how good any ones resume looks, I don't care what brands and military units that our manufacturing facility boasts, I have and will, continue to take every garment out into extreme and adverse environments to ruthlessly test and evaluate the fit, feel, and function, making sure it is bullet proof when I deliver it to you.
My passion is driven from the fact I believe too many brands cut corners, they take short cuts, they make decisions that are better for the bottom line rather than your health and safety. Your life and performance in what ever mission or endeavor you are pursing, is too important to me, because I know, that for those of us who push the boundaries in this game of life, our gear can be the lifeline we need to make it home.
I have personally been there, watching world class operators going down due to hypothermia because they didn't have the right gear, I have heard countless stories of hunters getting gear that is "good enough" only to be caught out in the backcountry with only their leaking rain jacket to protect them from the elements, I have deployed into the mountains of Afghanistan with issued "extreme cold weather" gear that was not so extreme itself.
This is a passion, this is an obsession.
We are getting danger close to be able to show case what we have been working relentlessly on all year, to say I am excited is an understatement. From the very first look to the very first time you put it on, you will know that we have created something that is on a new level.
More to follow....