"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard...because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept,
one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win"
- John F. Kennedy, 12th of September, 1962
When we started Hele we tried offshore manufacturing for some of our products, but the results were discouraging. Many times our suppliers didn't provide products with the quality outdoor sports and variable weather conditions demand.
It was cheaper, but our customers weren't 100% happy. The situation was fundamentally at odds with who we are. We do what we do, because we love great gear and happy people!
We take responsibility for all our products, but how could we do that if we didn't really control how they are made? Not to mention the "duck and cover" from suppliers when things went wrong.
So we decided to go "back to school" and re-learn a lot of skills that have been lost in the US. We would make all of our own stuff!
It was a difficult undertaking (totally underestimated that!) but we knew our team could do it. Plenty of blood, sweat and tears as well as thousands of hours of research...probably the hardest thing we've ever done.
But results speak for themselves.
Something doesn't look/work right? Fix it. Got a new design idea? Let's have at it. Customers have a suggestion for an improvement or new fashion trend, yep let's do it! Work becomes an exciting place with constant improvement and new ideas.
Since the mid 1980's there has been a steady departure of sportswear and apparel manufacturing jobs from the US and other "developed" countries. In fact, the US economy lost 6 million manufacturing jobs between 2001-2009. We're doing our bit to change that.
It is our goal to help educate and provide opportunity to a new generation of makers. Every day we use new technologies and processes to make all our gear here in the US, something we're very proud of and will never change.
You can see our passion in the quality of our gear and the quality of our people.
We want our customers to have the very best designed, most functional and highest quality gear on the planet. They deserve nothing less!