Our products are designed in Los Angeles and manufactured in China.
When I started Krakatoa, I searched all over the world for a manufacturer. I had an idea, a presentation in powerpoint and the drive, but little money. I was freshly unemployed and done with my former career, after 25 years.
I sent hundreds of emails.
I contacted factories all over the world including Turkey, Egypt, Colombia, USA, Brazil, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh.
Most of them didn't even give me the time of day.
Several looked down on me, because I was just a 50-something year old dude with an idea on a mission to create the best underwear for men, without experience and not knowing even how to begin. And not much money.
I will never forget the look from the rep from a factory in Egypt, he just looked me up and down from my shoes to my head, twice, with a stupid grin on his face, and just walked out.
Or the guys in Colombia that really wanted to work with Krakatoa, but didn't have the materials or craftsmanship, it was all rough stitching, harsh cotton and pinch waistbands.
I am a perfectionist and I had a different vision for what was possible. I had bad underwear already. I had some good underwear too, but I wanted to make something great. I didn't want to make a white-label product with my name on it. It wasn't about me or my name on the waistband.
In fact, it's why we removed Krakatoa from the waistbands entirely after our first production run.
We get asked a lot about why we don't manufacture domestically.
I tried the USA, but it was going to be around $28 per pair (according to a quote), and with inferior fabric and waistband, and no access to the advanced stitching needed for Krakatoa.
Brazil was impossible to deal with their import/export governmental bureaucracy and corruption (I know, I'm Brazilian too).
Or the guys from Portugal, who after we spent a couple days working at a trade show together, and I made sure I was going to contact them to try to manufacture in Europe, never replied to any of my several messages.
Or the guys from Bangladesh that really wanted to make Krakatoa, and I had to literally create them a PayPal account, so I could pay for them to make me samples (a lot of cash), and they pretty much sent me two different garments, copied my waistband, and I'm not sure if they are not counterfeiting Krakatoa in Bangladesh right now.
But through all these and several other factories, ONE factory had the craftsmanship, the incredible materials (our fabric is only produced in high-tech facilities in less than 10 factories around the planet), the unflippable printed waistband - and best yet: They had the decency to take the time to help this old guy, that left his career behind and is betting his retirement money on creating us guys the best underwear in the world.
This factory in China walked me through every step, never complained, never looked down on me. They are incredibly humble, they perform incredible work, they make Krakatoa a reality.
They have all their ISO certifications, have impeccable record with their employees, is privately owned, and capitalists. I know the owner.
So while I can absolutely share the disgust about the horrible government of a country, I don't necessarily share the opinion that the people of that country, and their work, should be made responsible.
As I get very defensive when people associate our citizens with some our own government's questionable acts, from any administration, I rather be positive that we have more in common than we have differences, and work towards making us all better, together.
Until I can find a factory that is not only about costs (Krakatoa is not cheap to make, at all), but how it treats its workers, the product it makes and the way they treat their clients, I will keep supporting the ones that supported me.
I view myself as a global citizen on a mission to improve lives everywhere, with the help of people from around the world.
Thank you for your continued support.
- Alex Bortoluzzi
CEO and Founder of Krakatoa