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Amanda Uprichard’s namesake fashion company has quickly reshaped its supply line to work in a world living with the coronavirus.
“Now, we make maybe 90% of our stuff here because of the virus,” Uprichard said about her New York operation. Previously, half of the line’s manufacturing was based in China.
“Anyone that’s in manufacturing, you’re just affected by the supply chain,” she added. “But I do believe China will be completely normal in another month.”
For Uprichard, making things out of New York was a return to the brand’s beginnings. Everything was made out of New York City, “until about a year and a half ago, when we started switching to China because the resources are drying up here,” she said.
Uprichard talked about the importance of influencers, the reality TV show “The Bachelor” and walking away from Amazon (and, just maybe, going back to it).
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, lightly edited for clarity.
The impact of the coronavirus
“Fortunately, we already did make a lot of stuff here, so we were able to pull a lot of the fabric from China and make the stuff here. Every day, honestly, is a new scenario. Our retailers have been reaching out asking for schedules for the next few months. Anyone that’s in manufacturing, you’re just affected by the supply chain. Fabric, zippers, trimmings. … It’s been a little crazy, honestly.”
Data’s the word
“Every company is different. Some [retailers] don’t like to share as much information. Rent the Runway shares a lot of information. Department stores, because they’re from a different business model that’s about a century old, they don’t share that kind of information — with us, anyway. Their e-comm is maybe a little behind than some of these newer companies. It’s very difficult to change a 100-year-old business like that.”
Not going the DTC route
“We’re founded on the wholesale model. Even though our top vendors are online vendors, they still have to come to market. They have to come see what we have to sell to them. And the major [brands] still have to come to Rent the Runway and all the other big retailers and specialty stores. That hasn’t changed.”