FN Herstal

ARC’One – Where The Magic Happens

I was fortunate enough to visit ARC’One, the Arc’teryx factory in British Columbia. It is amazing to see the different designs being produced by highly skilled teams, considering the number of operations and amount of time that goes into each product.


11 Responses to “ARC’One – Where The Magic Happens”

  1. Alex says:

    For all the kids who always complain why Gucci gear costs so much.

  2. Baldwin says:

    It would appear that the number of “operations” is as inflated as the MSRP. I’m willing to concede that truly good gear should cost more than so-so gear. But the Dead Bird and other self proclaimed Gucci brands are off the deep end. A critical part of innovation and quality and function is cost…for both the consumer and the manufacturer.

    • corsair says:

      Please enlighten us on your work experience in the garment industry?

      • SSD says:

        I’ll second that one.

        • Baldwin says:

          7 1/2 years retailing said products with what was then the 2nd largest outdoor specialty retailer in the country as a store manager. This predates the southwest asian wars and overlaps into that time period during which these companies found a strong market in short fused military procurements. Not saying the products in question were in any way deficient in form, quality or function. However, I am emphatically saying that they were pretty much intent on catering to a select few rather than a broader base of customers. Most people simply can’t afford what I strongly believe should have been made available to a broader base. Both military and civilian. I worked with both. You know, enabling more to experience the outdoors at a greater than ________(insert name of your big box store) level.

          • corsair says:

            7.5-years experience at retailer….in other words, ZERO experience in the garment industry.

            Your SME is in retail operations, had you been a buyer/merchandiser, you’d have a better view on product development, pricing factors and market positions. Instead, your optics is based upon a view from the end of a long straw.

            Not all brands can occupy all markets, nor should they, if that was the case, than The Sports Authority would still be in business and Big 5 would be bigger than it already is. A brand like Arc’Teryx has no intention of being a mass-market brand, nor does Columbia or 32 Degrees have any intention of going into specialty. Each brand occupies a specific market place, which appeals to a specific user. Don’t get blinded by the marketing.

            • Baldwin says:

              Corsair…your apparent disdain for anything, or anyone, not occupying the tippy-top of the pyramid is exactly what I’m referring to in my comments. I would point out that the top of the pyramid collapses without it’s base. Therefor it behooves the top of the pyramid to toss a few crumbs to the base every once in a while. As for experience? In 25 years in the military I had some very unpleasant experiences with gear and clothing that was shoved off on the end users without consideration for effectiveness and cost efficiency. As a store manager it behooved me to understand the products from my own first hand experiences in the field, from direct factory training in the benefits and limitations of products, from steering company buyers and, critically, civilian and military customers in the right direction for the intended purpose of the item. All of the above leads me to the conclusion that there is room for more than ONLY the very best ($$$). Good, successful leaders tend to use more than only one tool out of the tool box. Yeah, that diamond-like coated unobtanium festooned piece of uber-hardwear (or, soft goods as the case may be) does a fantastic job. But, what about all the other tools in the box? Do they not deserve SOME attention too? At a better price for the end user? Over-specialization on one high-end theme leads down only one path. Total dependency on the food ($) source. How long is that sustainable without tapping into something a little below the very top of the pyramid? Rant over…I hope.

              • corsair says:

                Not sure where you’re getting the idea that I’m only concerned with the ‘tippy-top of the pyramid’, you said it, not me. As I pointed-out, your perspective is of a very narrow view, you’re on the receiving end of the pipe or, ladder. The fact that you’re ‘complaining’ that there isn’t enough brands out there at a specific price-structure, gives the impression that you’re not very aware of the larger market place nor do you understand the bigger picture of how to manufacture technical apparel. Attend an Outdoor Retailer show and you’ll see all sorts of brands and all levels of price-points.

                If you want waterproof jackets under $200, there are A LOT of them. They won’t be using Gore-Tex or, any other recognizable and technology though. You want inexpensive down parkas…go to Uniqlo, they use 800-fill power, pretty good for a mass-market brand, they just don’t fill-up the baffles like a technical outdoor company would. Cheap 3-n-1 parka, go to any Walmart or Bass Pro, there’s plenty of house brand options, want a better one, Columbia makes the most popular one ever made. Want something better, check out TNF or, Marmot or, Mtn Hardware or, Patagonia or … There’s a very large market out there, however, if you’re chasing price-points, thenn you’re gonna make compromises.

    • Lasse says:

      Your average athletic jacket produced in one of the best factories in Vietnam has an rough estimate of 180 minutes in production. A taped jacket adds 30% to that, which is 234 minutes.

      Now, I build prototypes for a Norwegian high-end brand, and our equivalent to the Alphas are basically the same Gore fabrics, same glue, same techniques and quite frankly look like any other clean climbing jacket- and guess what? They have roughly the same number of operations and SMV…

      If I could cut away all does “inflated” steps and still make a high end product- I would.

    • Exploriment says:

      Given the size of their operation, just in Vancouver, given the range of products they offer, given their ability to come up with innovative ideas, I’d say they’re doing something very right, and could care less what the naysayers have to naysay.

      And I work for a Canadian company that manufactures garments (not even nearly as complex as what they offer), and the amount of work that goes into them is significant.

  3. NorthernSun says:

    Is there a more polarizing company in this industry? Or at least it seems that way from my short time checking in on SSD.

    And I am curious to know why.