Innovation is alive and well in the manufacturing sector. We are in awe of companies that create unique business models to achieve success and productivity.
A great example from the American Manufacturers Association is the story of two military wives who solved a big problem – how to build a business when their military families must move every two years.
Founders Lisa Bradley and Cameron Cruse created R. Riveter, an American manufacturing company that produces beautiful handbags, carry-ons, and accessories. They started the company so military spouses could earn income from home, regardless of where that happened to be.
Finding a decent job was a challenge for the two highly educated military spouses (both armed with master’s degrees), as they never stayed longer than about two years in the same location. So, in 2011 they banded together to form R. Riveter, inspired by “Rosie the Riveter.” Rosie the Riveter was the star of a campaign aimed at recruiting female workers for defense industries during World War II, and she became the most iconic image of working women.
The two-woman had never manufactured anything before. The company startup money came from their credit cards, which was enough to purchase a commercial sewing machine, some leather, and canvas. They taught themselves to sew in Cameron’s chilly attic.
As they continued to grow, R. Riveter hired a network of remote military spouses, “riveters,” to make their products from homes across the country. A kick-starter campaign in 2015 gave them $42,000 to buy more fabric and sewing machines. Their revenues quickly grew to $300,000+. As the business took off, they opened a retail store and a 5000 square foot assembly factory in North Carolina.
And then the magic happened. An appearance on Shark Tank got them the financing and guidance they needed. Three Sharks competed on the show to invest in them. Mark Cuban won by offering them $100,000 for a 20% interest and added the icing on the cake, extra investment to cover any equipment and materials they needed to expand the business.
R. Riveter improved how they worked with their “riveters” and started delivering kits to eliminate the need to manually measure the fabrics, which reduced errors and was a big timesaver for their remote employees.
They opened another 5000 square foot distribution center in Florida, and in the last four years, with Mark’s guidance, the company has grown tremendously. (revenue growth of 735% year-over-year)
Now featured on QVC, they have mastered the ability to deliver large orders on time, and still deliver quality handmade products made with care.
Guided by their goal of supporting military families, the nation cheered them on, and orders kept flowing. Two people with a dream who focused on something bigger than themselves and reaped the rewards inspires us. They’ll continue to grow their company, always remembering Rosie’s phrase, “We Can Do It!”
We invite you to join the conversation and share your inspiring manufacturing success stories in the comment section below.
About the author: At Qixas Group, we too have a dream. We dream of transforming organizations in North America to boost sales, improve service, optimize their supply chains, and deliver projects on time and within budget. We are a world-class certified partner supporting Microsoft Dynamics ERP. We have helped over 1500 Dynamics customers to improve productivity and boost profits. www.qixas.com