Word of mouth has now spread to lots ot new people who may not know our story. One of the most important things - other than the fact that we sponsor childrens' educations in Nepal with the sale of these jackets - is that we are a TINY company, operating out of our home with loads of help from volunteers. Here is a glimpse behind-the-scenes.
Once our jackets are sewn, they go through some serious squishing for transport and they travel a long way to get to our home. Then, they go through a chaotic-looking messy process to get organized and ready for sale. Finally, once you purchase one, we prepare the jackets to ship to you. Here's what the process looks like from start to finish and why the jackets look so great when you get one!
Once the jackets have been packed, shipped from Nepal and passed through Canadian Customs, they are delivered to our home in North Vancouver. This is what about 150kg of jackets looks like when it arrives in our hands.
Cargo in the House
Once we unwrap our shipments from their giant rice bags, there's more inside. It's like peeling an onion - layer after layer after layer. This layer has all the shipping labels stuck all over them.
A Duffle Bag of Surprises
After the next layer of wrapping is removed, we uncover one of Rajan's impeccably-made, made-to-order duffle bags. It is filled to the gills and it s so solid that we can't even make a dent in it.
Peeling the Onion
Unzipping and removing the outer duffle bag is an exercise in patience and strength. Luckily, the inner giant-stuff sack of compressed downy goodness is slippery and eventually it slithers out of the duffle bag.
This giant stuff-sack is what Rajan uses to pack the jackets into and then compress immensely. He uses compression straps, and although we're guessing, we think he gets his tailors to sit on the jackets to flatten them right down so he can make this giant bag fit into a single duffle bag.
There are 100 Jackets in There
Somehow, Rajan manages to squish approximately 100 jackets into each duffle bag, usually in 4 to 6 smaller bundles. At this point, the jackets look alarming - they are as flat as cardboard! Did he remember to insert the down?
Bundles of Flat Jackets
We pull all the bundles of jackets out of their stuff sack and pile them up so that we can try and get some space back in our guest bedroom and kitchen!
Sorting into Sizes and Styles
Our jacket-free floors do not remain clear for long. Next step is to sort our newly-received jackets into piles based on their styles and sizes. At that time, we can figure out exactly what colours we received.
Once inventoried, it's time for quality-checking. This is a step that some amazing volunteers have been helping me with for years (THANK YOU!). We check for any marks or flaws on the fabric, we make sure all the pockets and zippers are perfect and we ensure that all zippers have little toggles attached. At this time, we also attach hang-tags, and put stuff sacks and pass-it-on cards in the pockets, so that the recipient will receive a little information about Jackets for Jasper and have a way to pack the jacket for travel.
Now that our jackets have been checked to make sure they're top-quality and they've been labelled for sale, we "file" them. Rajan makes duffle bags for us in specific colours - Red means Women's Medium, for example - so that it will be easier to find what we're looking for when someone places an order. Although he can cram over 100 jackets in each duffle bag, we only put 20-30 so that they have a chance to puff up and stay puffy.
Once we've got all the new jackets "filed", it's time to get them out of our house so we can walk around our little home unimpeded! We've had help with this job on occasion as well, because it takes a lot of truck or van space to transport everything to our lockers. The jackets may be lightweight, but what they don't have in weight, they have in volume!
We are truly grateful to Self-Storage Depot on Brooksbank Avenue - they have donated storage space to J4J for the last few years. Not only does it allow us to live and function in a mostly-jacket-free home (which is also J4J Headquarters), but the amount of rent that we save each year through their in-kind donation is enough to cover one year of school.
Online Sales Fulfillment
Once we start taking online orders, things will get very busy at J4J HQ! We pick up the requested jackets from the storage locker, match them to your orders, and carefully fold or roll them for minimal wrinkling. We then box them up and print Canada Post shipping labels right from home (with lots of help from generous Jacket Elves who help every day). We handle orders in the order that they are received.
On Their Way...
After the postage labels are attached, our jackets are ready to send to you. In November and December, we take bags and bags of boxes to the postal depot every weekday. Once we get your parcel in the mail, it only takes 2 to 3 days to arrive at your door. Get ready for a delivery of downy goodness and a Heart-Warming Jacket!
...Direct to YOU!
Now you are ready to proudly wear your Jacket for Jasper jacket knowing that not only will you stay warm and cozy, but that you are supporting Nepali school children to get a complete and excellent education. Now THAT'S a Heart-Warming Down Jacket!