From Top Rifle to Pop Rifle

My children has been around the “rag trade” for 3 generations. My late grandaddy, Charles Chan Kent was an uneducated but driven individual who didn’t give up. He previously to support 14 of his children and founded Aero Garment Ltd. which became the largest clothing manufacturer in Western The us in the 1970’s. I am one of his 60 grandchildren. You could say that fashion was in my “jeans”.

In elementary school I worked cutting the your lawn and trimming the edges around my grandfather’s building for $1. 00 an hour — slave labor. My younger brother only got paid buck. 50/hour for cutting the edges with a manual hedge cutter machine — child labor. They were able to trim his pay black market guns in half and get him cheap. It took 4 hours for us to do the yard are we had to crouch and hunch over to trim the edges along the building as there were no electric or gas trimmers back then.

In high school my inlaws and I worked in the shipping department (aka — the concentration camp) every summer providing outfits into boxes, checking inventory, and pulling orders under a strict slave driver who timed us for every task we did. I called him the taskmaster, as he camped out in his office ready to beat us into shape and give a punishment us for making mistakes. There was no favoritism for the young kids of the family. When i got older I was handed a pardon and was used in the accounting department to do bookkeeping under my father who was the CFO of the company. In fact all the males in my family were accountants. My father and younger brother were CGAs, and my older brother was a CMA; but I was just an MIA — missing doing his thing.

In 1985 I worked part-time selling the fabrics that were remaining after every season. My grandaddy had 5 sons who ran the business. There was Sonny and a Bunny; but there was no funny, honey or money. I cut swatches, pasted them onto black cardboard support, created my own brochure and trigger to sell to the person who was interested. I worked off a straight 10% commission basis and was handed no salary, car allocated, or gas money. It was a matter of success; — sink or frolic in the water, or do or die; as our house didn’t believe in giving any free handouts. The only thing they believed in was giving free advice.

At first they used me a bunch of swatches and prices and laughed and said to run with it, so i was left cold calling, developing my sales page and trying not to strike out. Yet I was fortunate to win a number of clients in the retail and wholesale industry, including local manufacturers and School Boards. In order to earn my commission for each sale, I was required to fulfill each order by measuring the fabric rolls, cutting to order, and providing the rolls separately in boxes. Back in the eighties acid wash jeans were the trend and the manufacturing plant had two dedicated automatic washers to create the wash effects. Fortunately I used some effectiveness to create more business by acid washing all our denim fabric ends and selling them in bulk by the pound to various fabric chains such as Fabricland, Fanny’s Fabrics and the Angel Merchandising Group. In addition I purchased leftovers from other denim manufacturers and processed them for sale as well. You could say that we sold plenty and took my clients to the cleaners.

Since we had our own garment wash/dye facilities on site I was handed the added challenge of generating extra revenue from other manufacturers. Eventually I received business from companies such as Please Mum stores, Levi jean sub-contractors, and other denim makers. I also learned how to drive a one ton truck and picked up jeans and outfits from various garment manufacturers in town. Every day I would lower narrow back alleys picking up jeans from various clients and trying to steer the animal without damaging it. One client of my own was Starboard Pant manufacturing plant located in Vancouver Chinatown. I had there usually that we nicknamed the automobile — the “wonton” truck.

A year later I was offered the excess responsibility of supervising the adornments department and get extra contract work. I flew down to Nj to learn how to digitize, repair and operate our two 20 head multi-color adornments machines and traveled to California to co-design a custom over unity magnetic frame addition to increase the efficiency of embroidering designs on denim back pockets. Some of the clients I worked with were local manufacturers such as Westbeach, corporate apparel companies, and businesses who had the necessary licenses to produce goods for companies such as Disney. By this time I was actually seeing what I was curtains.

After graduating at Simon Fraser University in Finance in 1987 I worked full-time for the family business. In a year, I became the main management team and took on the role of purchasing Manager in control of projecting and MRP (material requirements planning). I sat in meetings with your designers as they reviewed the new fabric lines that were presented. When i corresponded with the telemarketers once the fabrics were selected for the season. Learning about fabric construction and arrangement was a bit hard to process at first, but I dreaded more about having to think about avenues of removing the outstanding after the season.

Two years later once again I was moved to improve the efficiency of the Distribution department and help expedite orders in a timely fashion. I guess the household must have figured that the command style was outdated and must be re-designed to be more progressive. The company didn’t believe in being fashionably late.

After improving the efficiency of the Shipping and Distribution sectors I was asked to supervise Operations from cutting, curtains, pressing, and trimming. The biggest challenge was to interact with all 300 workers who only mention Chinese. So in order to communicate with them without looking silly, I mastered the fine craft of nodding, and became very fluent in the art of Chinese sign language.

Aero Garment Ltd. eventually hired a new Us president outside the family who started a Corporate Apparel division and I made it easier for in the purchasing and inventory management. The company eventually set up a new Screen Print division and purchased some manual and automatic screen print machines. The corporate Apparel division became quite successful and we had contracts with Hooters restaurant chains worldwide, Alice Coopersville, Shoreline Mountain Bus Company., Westjet Flight companies, Mr. Lubricant, and Speedy Glass. I helped negotiate and win contracts with the government and other large accounts, but didn’t have the side selling point of meeting new people with clients such as Hooters.

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