How Ryan Zimmerman of Arzee found success during the pandemic
When the coronavirus pandemic struck, it brought the entire world to a halt. Countries and cities around the globe went into lockdown, closing schools and businesses, and canceling all cultural and sporting events. Now, more than a year since its outbreak, the COVID-19 pandemic is still causing unforeseen socioeconomic consequences around the world. All industries were severely impacted, and the pandemic has buffeted manufacturers in every sector.
Due to the pandemic, global supply chains, especially those in Asia, have become unreliable. Now, instead of chasing cheap labor costs overseas, US manufacturers are switching their production from international to local.
Even though this change brought difficulties for many companies, some manufacturers saw it as an excellent opportunity.
Ryan Zimmerman, founder, and CEO of Arzee and Buckleband, saw all changes that COVID-19 brought as a new way to scale his business, rather than a setback. Arzee, Zimmerman’s Los Angeles based apparel manufacturing business, caters to upscale clothing labels looking for a manufacturer focused on quality and service. Buckleband is Ryan’s invention and the world’s first premium resistance band with a buckle, meant to revolutionize the fitness and wellness industries.
As Zimmerman points out, the past year has been challenging. However, he made sure to plan in advance so he could capitalize on new opportunities and the need for North American manufacturing. “Navigating this pandemic has been our biggest success. In March 2020, our business completely collapsed. All orders were canceled,” Ryan Zimmerman says. “But we recognized that the demand would continue to shift out of Asia. So, we worked during the pandemic to be ready in Mexico and the US when the manufacturing could begin again. It happened quicker than we expected, but we were prepared to start working again.”
Before the pandemic, Arzee already had a robust operation in the US. Now, Arzee is opening an office in April 2021 in Mexico to support the manufacturing process further. “Our decision to expand in Mexico was entirely strategic. Mexico boasts an 80% reduction in shipping time to the US compared with China,” Zimmerman says. “Mexico offers the same exceptional quality we are known for, and it’s a quick plane ride away.”
Manufacturing in North America also comes with a series of benefits. “The main reason why production moved out of the US is due to cheap labor. As a result, manufacturers sacrificed quality, sustainability, and responsible manufacturing practices,” Zimmerman explains. “Today’s customers are very demanding and won’t settle for low-quality products. That is why we built a world-class operation in Los Angeles.
All Arzee products are superior in quality and also ethically sourced through sustainable business practices.”
When asked about his plans for the future, Zimmerman says that he will focus on scaling his companies. “Focus on scaling means a focus on raising capital and recruiting the right people who can help us maintain the same level of service and same great culture as we expand our client list and our manufacturing operation beyond the US into Mexico,” Ryan Zimmerman says.
While all the other companies were struggling to stay afloat, Arzee continued growing as if the pandemic never happened; any company can overcome their biggest challenges. All they have to do is find a way to adjust to the new situation, just as Arzee did.
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