How might Sarah Calhoun's decision to keep production of Red Ants Pants in the U.S. help solidify her market position in the minds of her target customers?
In order to understand the answer to this question, we must first think about what the target customer is for Red Ants Pants. The target customer for these pants is, first of all, someone (particularly a woman) who wants high quality work pants that are close to being custom made. Calhoun founded her company because of her dissatisfaction with the performance of pants that she wore for physical labor. It is also likely that such customers will be environmentally conscious if they, like Calhoun, are doing outdoor manual labor.
By keeping her production in the US, Calhoun can solidify the image of her brand (her brand equity) in the minds of her target customers. First, keeping production in the US symbolizes a commitment to quality over pricing. It tells customers that high quality is first on Calhoun’s mind. Second, it also allows much more flexibility in designing and making new styles as the need arises. This would be much harder with an overseas production line. Finally, making the clothes in the US will be seen as environmentally (and politically) conscious because it does not involve shipping the clothes from overseas.
Red Ants Pants customers are likely to want high quality and to have that quality created in responsible ways. By producing in the US, Calhoun can identify her brand with those attributes.
Sarah Calhoun founded her company, Red Ants Pants, in 2006 in White Sulphur Springs, Montana. Sarah Calhoun was interested in making work clothes that were designed for women. She was tired of wearing clothes made for men that didn’t fit. She also wanted to produce high quality clothes that would last a long time. Red Ants Pants makes all of its clothing in the United States. That is a strategy that will not change. There is a reason for having all aspects of production in the United States.
This company wants to develop a personal relationship with its customers, suppliers, and workers. It is much easier to do this if everything is produced in the United States. This company also wants to use its resources in a manner that will create local jobs. The company wants to build a community around its products, people, and brand. This will give the company and the relationships that have been developed both depth and value. This company also believes in making high quality products and feels comfortable doing this in the United States. These strategies will help the company maintain its market share among its target customers who share similar values in which the company believes.
Red Ants Pants has gained traction in the marketplace in part, as its website says, because of its grassroots marketing campaign. In addition, the company's backstory is part of its appeal and its marketing strategy. As the website explains, the company was founded by Sarah Calhoun, an entrepreneur who moved to White Sulphur Springs, Montana, and who founded a company making work clothes that are made for women.
She has been part of the national political scene; for example, she attended a forum on economic development at the White House that President Obama hosted in 2011. She has been a figurehead for rural economic development, and she has also started a music festival in rural Montana.
By keeping her production in the US, she is remaining true to her company's backstory and brand. She is known for supporting economic growth in rural America, and moving her company overseas would undercut this position. Many of her customers are likely rural women who work in agriculture, and a company based in rural America probably has appeal to them.