Yup! We sure were. We spent about a decade as the USA partner to the Italian manufacturer before making the shift in 2015 to build and print all of our custom pop-up tents in our facility in Traverse City, MI.
Nothing really. We had a contract and it was about to expire. Around the same time, we also had some new priorities for which we wanted to find creative solutions. We quickly found that signing a new contract and achieving those new goals were mutually exclusive and so we moved on.
Most of us aren’t married to our high school sweetheart, right? Well, it was kind of like that. Prom was awesome, but then we went to different colleges and met someone new. The memories are good and it’ll probably only be a little awkward when we run into each other at the 10-year reunion.
Okay, so can you tell us more about your priorities?
Made in the USA
The driving initiative for us was to bring all of our manufacturing state-side. It’s that simple: we want to support American manufacturing and create jobs in our small town. That was key, but we also believed (and we were right!) that there would be some real benefits to our clients if we could manage every step of the process internally.
With more than a decade in the experiential marketing space, we had accumulated a lot of really good feedback from our client base, but without the capabilities to make changes to the design or engineering, we couldn’t act on it. Moving forward on our own changed that. Now we can build completely custom elements personalized to a single client’s needs. We can make changes to improve quality on the fly. When we see something isn’t working well, or not performing the way we’d hoped, we can change it. We always wanted to provide this level of personalized service and becoming a tent manufacturer opened that door for us.
We also saw the market moving into a very time-sensitive direction. For every project that lands on our table that is well planned months ahead of schedule, there are 27 that need a customized event tent by this weekend.
The beauty of housing the entire process under one roof is that it eliminated the wait time that comes with ordering from a vendor overseas. Before we were the manufacturer, we were up against uncontrollable time-sucks like ocean freight and clearing customs. Now, it’s just a matter of how quickly we can work. Our standard production time for building a frame to order and custom printing each soft good has worked out to be 3-business days with the capacity to hustle even faster when it’s necessary.
So how does this affect you? Well, if you’ve been with TentCraft for the long-haul, you probably won’t even notice a difference. We are still printing soft goods for the various frame profiles we’ve offered through the years, and we’ve introduced our flagship model, the MONARCHTENT to seamlessly fill the heavy-duty commercial grade tent space with a few unique bells and whistles.
For anything that can truly only be serviced by a MASTERTENT distributor , don’t despair. After some restructuring, MasterTent teamed up with Justin Russell, out of North Carolina, as their new US-based partner. It’s sometimes hard to see our first love with someone else, but there was no drama in this breakup and we’re glad to help get you in contact when that’s the right next step.