Self made versus outsourced

I have worked with creating factory workflows for a company owned manufacturing system and also worked with outside manufacturers to create products. There are a number of things to take into consideration when deciding which works best for a project.

With Nock Co. we have worked to create a company owned factory setting. This means that we own the machines that we use for manufacturing. However, we do outsource the cutting to a shop that owns a CNC fabric cutter. The reason for outsourcing this part is because after balancing cost of a machine and the room to house the machine it is more cost efficient to pay a small amount for the cutting to take place off site. We are able to operate in a smaller space because of this the overhead is lower and less cost is passed to consumers. Pricing wise we decided to compete with the lower cost market rather than enter the premium market directly.

For a company that is currently selling bow ties that are made abroad. There is great opportunity to either set up domestically themselves or contract a small shop locally to produce. This would not just open them to the "made in America" community but it would also allow for great oversight and smaller runs. To make bow ties there is a single large tool that costs under $600. This makes it an low barrier of entry so long as you have a 4' x 6' space to put a machine and materials. Then the needs become complicated and you have to find a skilled worker.

Skilled workers are not easy to come by and supporting another worker can be difficult for small or micro companies. This is why for a company looking to experiment with locally or domestically made goods it is important to first consult with an artisan. Learn what it takes to make a bow tie. Some owners of companies that resale imported goods don't know the technical side of making the items they are selling and that's okay, they really just need to know how to sell. Knowledge needs to be expanded, however, when you want to become not just more personal with the manufacturer but the product itself. 

I believe that for any owner of a company you cannot be truly successful until you know how your products are made, whether you can make them or not personally doesn't matter. I believe that if you started a business of imports and you could sell them, then you can certainly sell something that you deal with a little more personally. 

The added cost of going through a domestic manufacturer can easily be passed on to customers. They will be elated to support local artisans or a company that is reinvesting in their country and you will still make the same or greater margins. 

Pros & Cons:


More product variation

Better informed sales workers

Assisting local or domestic economy

Higher selling price


Possibly more time consuming

Slightly greater cost


This transition or simple experiment can be done easily and at a comfortable pace. We can guide you into this branch of the market and set you up with local makers or factories that will be a part of your business for year.