Julia and Caroline have spent the last couple of days expanding their knowledge at Lee Academy, a trip designed to help dealers learn about the Lee Industries products we are selling. We knew they were a great company before we went, but now we realize exactly what went in to making them a special, eco-friendly company, separating them from other industries. Planting about 10,000 trees a year is just one of their many sustainability initiatives. They also recycle all of their leftover materials to be used for insulation in cars.
Lee Industries runs a first-in, first-out business, meaning that they produce products in the order that they were placed. Today, their lead time stands at just under 4 weeks! It's hard to believe they produce 15,000 finished products per week.
Lee consistently has about 400,000 yards of fabric in stock.
In the leather plant, we learned how their fabrics are aniline dyed, which is a non-toxic form of coloring the leather. We also learned the difference between leathers coming from different countries, and why leathers vary in color, even within the same hide. They use only the top 5% of hides in the world.
Tuesday, we took a trip to Valdese Weavers, where we learned how fabrics are woven. It's amazing to see the process of a design on a computer being translated onto bolts of fabric.
We even got a sneak peak into what the April Market is going to look like for Lee! We were the first group to admire the new Spring fabric lines coming out soon, and the new pieces of upholstery currently being designed in product development.
Julia enjoying herself the first day of the trip in one of the Lee showrooms.
They demonstrated the 8-way hand tying technique to us. As stated on their website, "This keeps your springs from shifting and creating uncomfortable lumps and bumps." (Each sofa requires 300 ties)
This is just a small portion of the sewing section in one of their 5 plants. Their head quarters are in Conover, NC, so we had the easiest trip out of everyone there.
One of the experienced workers at Lee Industries. Most of the employees there have been there for 20+ years! That really says something about the company, and how they treat each of their employees. They try to create a family environment as much as possible, which was evident walking through there.