New Jersey-based startup is rapidly expanding, combining automation with high-skilled labor.
Suuchi Ramesh, an immigrant from India, keeps it made in America.
How? Through her New Jersey-based garment manufacturing startup, Suuchi Inc. It’s a design and apparel manufacturer for fashion brands, making knits and woven clothes and accessories for women, men, kids – and even pets. Suuchi’s growing team of over 100 uses organic and recycled fabric, and Ramesh cites innovation in not only the technology they use for sewing, but even the material itself.
The company partners with brands that are also committed to keeping it made in the United States, manufacturing everything from polos and shorts, to washable silk blouses and dancewear. All of which is, of course, 100 percent Made in America.
Ramesh is the founder and CEO of the company, but she’s certainly not your typical manufacturing head. As both an immigrant and a woman, Ramesh takes pride in her individuality.
“Most people are used to men in the manufacturing field. It’s fun to not be the typical business owner that people would expect when they walk in, and I don’t view it as a constraint in any way. I look at being a woman and being an immigrant as an advantage. I feel fortunate,” she said. “This country is fantastic and the land of dreams and if you want to make something of your life this country is the way to do that.”
"Outsourcing has never been a part of our business model." Suuchi Ramesh
When asked why Ramesh chooses to keep it made in America, her answer is simple.
“Outsourcing has never been a part of our business model. It has always been clear that we do things here,” she explained.
Ramesh mentioned the challenges that domestic production can pose, namely the fact that prices are higher when produced domestically.
However, Ramesh says that the pros greatly outweigh the cons – getting your products at home is faster, and gets you a much higher quality.
“We are not tempted to outsource because what we offer to the market is better and different. It’s about speed, quality, and innovation,” she said.
Despite her success, Ramesh’s background is not in design, or even in manufacturing. She came to the United States a decade ago to work in analytics and technology. But in 2015, she decided to follow her dream of building a startup; specifically, an apparel manufacturing facility that would combine her passion for entrepreneurship with her ability (as a self-proclaimed geek) to add technology and automation that she hopes will bring manufacturing to the future.
“American manufacturing is an industry that has been stagnant for the last 30 to 40 years due to outsourcing, and those few factories that have been left behind haven’t caught up with technology and automation,” she said. “The industry needs to catch up to succeed.”
Ramesh’s idea of catching up? Her business model, which consists of a state-of-the-art, vertically integrated supply chain that restocks inventory for partners in as quickly as five days. It covers everything from sourcing, product design and development, production, and shipping. On the technological side, the company currently uses over 100 different machines that enables almost 40 percent of the clothing production to be automated – increasing efficiency while still being operated by skilled laborers.
"... What we offer to the market is better and different. It’s about speed, quality, and innovation." Suuchi Ramesh
And while Suuchi Inc. is devoted to using technology to increase efficiency, it certainly hasn’t impacted Ramesh’s ability to create jobs.
There’s a heavy focus on job training to spur job creation, and the company takes a lot of pride in making those without the necessary hard skills into employable and ready workers. It does so by investing in the “Suuchi University,” where the company trains prospective employees in required manufacturing skills, offering employment at the end of the three-month training period. In just the last year, Suuchi has added over 80 jobs in their resident Hudson County, NJ. It plans to grow that number to 100 by the end of this year, and to 300 by the end of 2018.
Ramesh attributes her success to her fantastic team – and perseverance. She views success as a daily measure, and cites the importance of building a team with the right people that want to join with the right intentions.
So far? It’s going well. This woman-owned and operated business has made quite a name for itself over the last few years, gaining attention from BBC World News, CBS, and CNN, to name a few. This company will definitely be one to watch.
Suuchi has an informative website if you want to learn more about its business and manufacturing process, the company’s story, or check out some of its products.
Ramesh will also be speaking at the TEDxHoboken Women 2017 event on November 3, where you can hear her talk about building an American manufacturing startup using technology and an ageless culture.