From a business perspective, we have developed a strategy adapted to the situation that should reduce the Covid risk. During the lockdown, we tried to remain open and to look for new solutions to adapt our vision to this new world. The relocation of the production of our LANA jacket to Switzerland was not planned from the start, but it quickly became a focus of our discussions.
On the one hand, we had to make the difficult decision and not continue to work with a large production partner in Croatia who expected more volume and more development. We only produced a very limited edition of 100 pieces. On the other hand, building a new partnership in Switzerland was not only costly and time-consuming, but the production costs in Switzerland are of course completely different than in other European countries. This forced us to rethink the LANA jacket.
We are of course pleased to be able to offer a “Made in Switzerland” solution with our LANA jacket. This means that the product, together with Swiss wool and Swiss deerskin, is a real homage to our homeland. In addition, in the co-owner of the Schuler manufactory in Rothenthurm, Stefan Steiner, we have found the absolute specialist for this type of clothing. Stefan and his team have an incredible passion for our project. In addition, a great deal of flexibility, willingness to help and, above all, the specialist knowledge that is so important to us in order to make our jacket the best possible. Stefan was able to decisively improve and accelerate our product development through his knowledge and expertise from working with traditional Swiss costumes and uniforms. Since our Swiss wool jacket LANA is our reinterpretation of this story, it has been shown that Stefan and Schuler Manufaktur were the ideal partners to take this product to the next level. This passion and the pursuit of perfection and authenticity made us quickly forget the additional costs that textile production in Switzerland entails.
Ultimately, our long conversation with Stefan helped to bring to light the unbelievable flexibility of “next-to-home” production. We were no longer forced to produce large quantities in advance and we were able to move towards a new manufacturing model. Stefan drove us even further and opened up the incredible opportunity that allows our customers to personalize their jacket to their own liking and taste. We had left the industrial manufacturing model and immersed ourselves in a new world of handcrafted products that are made to order for the customer, 100% made in Switzerland.
Overall, Covid transformed the planned mass production of the LANA jacket into a customizable collector’s item that is available to order, which further reinforces the homage to traditional Swiss raw materials and traditional Swiss craftsmanship. For us, this means higher costs and lower margins, but much more flexibility, a lower Covid risk and, above all, more passion, a more customer-friendly offer and an even stronger connection to Switzerland. What was an immense challenge for us at the beginning has turned into a project through entrepreneurial thinking, a little luck in the search for a production partner and an unbelievable amount of passion for our LANA jacket, which defines us even more and also gives us a positive edge as a people and company has shaped.
Our initial special offer of the first limited European edition of the LANA jacket will probably no longer exist, but will be completely replaced by the “Swiss Made” offer, whereby the price and delivery time will be adjusted due to the special production. In return, we can offer our Muntagnardas and Muntagnards an even more customer-specific product, tailored to their needs and made in Switzerland with a lot of passion and craftsmanship. A worthwhile and hopefully correct decision for the future of our LANA jacket and for us as a company to get closer to our goal of equipping the “Urban Pathfinders” with suitable products for the mountains and the city. It was a great pleasure for us to get to know you and your great team, Stefan!