Ruddock: Keeps on keepin’ on in the El Paso garment industry
August 23, 2011 § 2 Comments
Great, informative article in the El Paso Times this past week about the origins and staying power of Ruddock, the manufacturer of western shirt brands such as Ruddock Bros., Ruddock R, Texas Cotton, and Flying R Ranchwear.
“James and Jeff Ruddock haven’t given up on El Paso’s almost vanished garment industry.
The brothers last year bought 56-year-old Ruddock Manufacturing, a shirt-making factory started by their grandfather and run by their father and uncle for many years.
“I like this business. It’s kind of second nature for me,” said James Ruddock, 43, who has spent much of his life working at his father’s company and who jumped at the chance to return after leaving the company for two years to work at AT&T.
Jeff Ruddock, 35, said he always wanted to work in the company, but a shortage of management jobs when he graduated from college sent him to Dallas to be a stockbroker for 13 years.
The company employs 67 people, and makes about 150,000 shirts a year, including its own brands of Western-style shirts, at its original location — 1801 Magoffin, in the heart of what once was El Paso’s garment manufacturing district.”
The Ruddock family is justifiably proud of their “Made in America” label, and producing high end, quality shirts allows them to compete with cheap Chinese imports that can plague the western shirt market.
“James Ruddock said Ruddock Manufacturing years ago decided to go into making more high-end shirts as it became difficult to compete with cheap imports.
It sells shirts under its own labels — including Ruddock, Texas Cotton, Flying R Ranchwear — for around $55 to $60 at Western clothing stores around the country.
It can compete with imports from India and China in the same price range, Ruddock said.
“And ours have an American feel and look to it. It doesn’t have the homogenized look” of imports, he said.
“Over the 56-year history of our company, we have gone from being a (shirt) contractor — sewing for Billy the Kid, Gap, Levi, Wrangler, Farah — to sewing our own brands. Now, we’re back to sewing for other folks and ourselves,” Ruddock said.
Half of Ruddock Manufacturing’s sales are for its own brands, and half are done under contracts for other companies.
The company also benefits from consumers looking to buy “Made in America” brands, he said.”
Vintrowear.com carries several high-quality shirts manufactured by Ruddock.
“Survivor of the fittest: garment industry stays afloat with shift to high end clothing,” El Paso Times, 8/21/11.