OK, I just read your comments on Monday’s blog, and I want to clarify a couple of things.
First, we are not thinking about opening up a market in China for selling at this point in time. The regulations in place for direct selling are so different there than most other countries, it’s just not possible for us right now. Maybe someday, but not anytime soon.
Second, I will always choose US-made products whenever feasible. Just last year I opened our new rubber stamp manufacturing facility to produce our core product--not overseas--but in Kanab, Utah. For years, I bucked the notion of going into China for product, but there came a point a few years ago when it became very evident that if we wanted to stay in business, we would have to make that move. That is the reality of doing business in today’s world.
Even today, when we choose manufacturers, we look at more than price. We look at quality, shipping time, order quantities, and other issues. We don’t always go with the lowest bid prices. In addition, there are some products that we can’t even get anywhere but China. And other products made in the United States whose quality is so inferior that we couldn’t in good conscious offer them to our demonstrators and customers.
Our decision to hire staff members in China was based on two main desires. First and foremost, we wanted to ensure that the products we are getting from China met our standards of quality and safety. Steve and Fayer will do onsite inspections—inspecting both the facilities and the products that are manufactured in those facilities. We have not had that ability before. We’ve always inspected products once we’ve received them here, but we have had no control over the environment where the products are being produced before.
Second, currently we are working through third-party vendors who are brokering the manufacture of these products, and we are paying premium prices (which are still much lower than the prices we can find anywhere in the United States, by the way). If we can work directly with the manufacturers, we can negotiate lower prices when possible and better control the quality.
We have hired people we know and trust, and people who have years of experience. We brought them over here so they could understand more completely our culture and our commitment to quality and safety. Steve and Fayer are not consultants; they will not be working for any other companies. They are working exclusively for Stampin’ Up!, and they are completely dedicated to us—and our demonstrators and customers.
I hope that clarifies some issues. I understand the concerns you’re expressing and thank you for your honest feedback and concerns. I am proud and honored to be associated with people who genuinely care about the world around them.