Welcome to our "Factory" tour.

 

Please stay in line and do not venture from the marked path as you might hit your head on low hanging furnace pipes. The tour should last no more than a few seconds unless we stop along the way to answer questions. (Mouse over the pictures to stop the page turning.) Details and explanations are underneath our tour book.
Shadow passed away on November 16, 2015. He will remain here, as he should. He was a great "Boss". The page is dedicated to him and our 13 years of positive interaction.

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Note that all the pictures are thumbnails so you can click on them and get a bit larger still shot (the ones in the album above). The album seems to decide on its own order of display.  :)

Meet the boss, "Shadow" or the infamous "Cat in the Lap". He supervises every aspect of production from cutting to shipping. Like any boss he is always hanging around getting in the way trying to tell us how to do our jobs. This is the cutting area which is also the shipping area, the gluing area, the pattern design area, and the skin storage area. It is probably about the size of your living room. No, possibly the size of your bathroom. :) Perched in his normal spot on the cutting table  the boss  makes sure that every task is accomplished with nothing but the best possible product in mind. First he carefully inspects every skin for flaws and weak spots before he allows Rick to cut product.
Then, once the product is cut, he inspects it once again to make sure that Rick did his job properly before it can be set in a tray to carry to the sewing room. This is the freezer, washing machine, and dryer area (complete with plumbing). Much to Kathy's dismay the appliances also double as tables for everything from more skins to packages ready to be shipped. Ever tried to do a load of laundry with 12 sheepskins on top of your washer? Oh, the boss loves to inspect the laundry as well. This is the sewing area (half of it any way). The white machine on the left is used mainly for hat crowns. The little machine on the far right is the workhorse and does all the rest of the products and finishes the hats and hat brims. The machine on the near right is used only for putting the hard soles on slippers. The boss is very diligent when it comes to workmanship. This is his favorite observation point in the sewing room. He loves to perch on the machine used for hats and will stay there as long as someone is sewing. It is important that we get things just right. Talk about in the way.
Sometimes the boss just can't help but give us a little guidance. (You know how that is with bosses, right?) At least he is gentle with his advice but, he knows that if he fires us he doesn't eat. The boss doesn't spend much time at the other sewing machines as he feels he can see it all from the one. But, when resoles come in, inspection is an absolute must. He likes resoles as much as the laundry. On occasion he even growls just a little bit. Ah, another cat.... Still, he makes sure that there are no problems with the uppers that would make resoling a waste of money. This is here just to show off. Yes, those cases are full of ribbons and awards won over the years for our products. Oh, if you are wondering about the axe, it is an Ukrainian axe given to us by an exchange student many, many years ago. Try flying with one of those in your luggage these days. If you think that is neat you ought to see the gold military watch from the former USSR his father gave Rick. This is the other half of the sewing area. The entire room measures 6 by 16 feet. This section is used for storage. See the card board trays on the shelves? These are 30 years old. During the winter it also holds tropical Bonsai Trees and cacti. The drawers in the back are crammed with findings etc. many of which we should throw away but we hang on to them just in case.
This is the office stuffed into a 3' by 3' area but with a little spill over into the sewing area. This is the communications hub of the business. The office chair and phone is approximately 8 feet from the farthest sewing machine. When the phone rings the boss waits eagerly to run and grab the thread and unwind it as much as possible. Really. So, if we say, "Hang on, I have to catch the cat." while you are on the phone you know why. In the space of a few seconds he can unwind 10's of yards of thread. The end of a hard day. Now, one would think that with all this sheepskin lying around he could find something better than a bag full of plastic bags to retire to but, not our Shadow. The ONLY time he sleeps on sheepskin is when it is in a box of pieces cut for product. If there is a box sitting around full of slipper pieces you can bet he will bed down there for the afternoon. We have tried everything to no avail. He simply picks his own spot regardless of what we try to give him.

He is even getting his own mail from customers now.

Shadow's Mail

 

Shadow's International Mail Shadow's Mail
Shadow's Mail #2

Well, that is the end of the tour 'cause the boss is bored. We hope you enjoyed your brief glimpse into the world of small business. It should be noted that these pictures were taken after a cleaning binge. Things are usually quite a mess but once in awhile the mess gets a little overwhelming. Of course the whole operation is expandable and spills over into the garage during certain times of the year but, you have seen the heart of the operation.

That's it folks, the operation in a nutshell. The skins arrive in the garage, they are dragged downstairs and made into product for our customers under the watchful eye of our lovable feline. (Yes, he can come upstairs but he hangs out with us whenever we are working. He is a GREAT cat.) We just thought some people would be interested in knowing exactly where their purchases come from.

 

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