Under Armour, Product Talk

On a Friday afternoon I decided to visit the Under Armour store located in the Kerry centre in Shanghai, China.  The purpose of my visit was to look at their apparel products, the quality, strategic sourcing, demand planning and more.

Under Armour, Kerry Centre, Shanghai, China
Under Armour, Kerry Centre, Shanghai, China

The mall and store traffic was very brisk, during my 40 minute visit, a few customers entered the store but no one purchased any products.   Through my passion and 25 years of expertise and experience I am sharing with you a small sampling of my abilities about products, the business, and the people who stand behind their brand(s).

First off, I would like to congratulate the creative director, VP’s, design, and product staff, as the finishing was at the top of their field for activewear.  But below I will review with you some questionable decisions.

There were a few key factors that immediately stood out about the Under Armour products and they were:

– The styling was very simple on most of the collection at the Kerry Centre store.

Under Armour Male Products
Under Armour Male Products
Under Armour Female Products
Under Armour Female Products

– The fabrics were thinner than the competition

Under Armour Thin Fabric
Under Armour Thin Fabric

Notice how you can easily see the label through the fabric when it is relaxed. If it is stretched the fabric will be thinner.  In addition the handfeel of the fabric did not feel as luxurious (soft) as other activewear fabrics.

– The inside label on most of the products was abrasive, crisp and low quality (This label really baffled me, how could you miss what represents the brand).

Under Armour Abrasive Label
Under Armour Abrasive Label, Center back Neck
Under Armour Abrasive Labels
Under Armour Abrasive Labels

– The fabric combinations were less than desirable, some felt rough and not suitable for the types of products.

Under Armour Poor Fabric Combinations
Under Armour Poor Fabric Combinations

Twill knit contrast with flat knit jersey body fabric, the twill fabric was abrasive and was a poor choice for a combination.  It looks like a rookie mistake not a billion dollar public company.

As the styling was more simple the product was cleaner with less quality issues but the following are some of the issues I spotted during my 40 minute single store visit:

Under Armour Puckering Seams
Under Armour Puckering Seams
Under Armour Poor Finishing
Under Armour Poor Finishing on the Hem
Under Armour Tunneling
Under Armour Tunneling, Poor Finishing

The above poor finishing shows a lack of respect for the product and the people buying it.   This type of product should not be on the selling floor.

Under Armour Uneven Neck Finish
Under Armour Uneven Neck Finish
Under Armour Bulging Zipper
Under Armour Bulging Zipper
Under Armour Bulging Zipper
Under Armour Bulging Zipper

The challenge with the above product, is it is a very long half zip.  There will be challenges with sewing and packing. If it is folded in half, this will cause the zipper to bulge, especially if there are a hundred garments to a box.  All the pressure will cause problems during unpacking and hanging on the store shelves.

Under Armour Stretched Neck
Under Armour Stretched Neck
Under Armour Stretched Neck
Under Armour Stretched Neck

The above is a rookie mistake, this fabric for the collar is totally wrong for this garment.  Look how it lacks structure and shape.  It will continue to bag out around the neck and the customer and product will look like fools.   In addition the brand will be tarnished.

In closing, there were garments with dirt marks that reminded me of the factory floor and some products could have used more trimming of the loose threads, but these are minor issues compared to the others above.

Under Armour Dirty Garments
Under Armour Dirty Garments
Under Armour Trimming Issues
Under Armour Trimming Issues

I am sharing with you my insights as my passion is product, people, programs and performance.  I like to analyze business and situations to find Kaizen solutions and lean manufacturing for the better of mankind.  I am looking for a company who understands the importance of the products from creation (concept) through delivery to the consumer selling floor.

If you are one of those people or corporation that shares a similar passion to make better products I would like to hear from you and help you make better products for your customers, your accountability, integrity and brand longevity.

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