Chameleon Like Believes That If You’re Serious About Growth And Partnering With Large Distributors, QCA Accreditation Is Worth The Investment
Since launching in 1998, Chameleon Like, Inc. has been designing, manufacturing and marketing a contemporary range of stationery products, from journals and notebooks to binders, folders and other desk accessories.
When entrepreneurs Pierre Martichoux and Emmanuel Marchand founded the company, they went against the trend, insisting on actually making the products from scratch in their small California based facility, rather than outsourcing the manufacturing overseas. This domestic manufacturing has helped the company grow with sincere and strict respect for the environment. To further prove its dedication to the environment as well as quality and product safety, Chameleon like achieved QCA Accreditation in 2014.
In this week’s Partners In Brand Safety conversation, we talk with President Pierre Martichoux about why brand safety is more than the safety of the product itself and why he believes that if suppliers are serious about growing and partnering with the bigger distributors, investing in QCA Accreditation can’t be passed up.
1. What does brand safety mean to you?
Brand safety for me is more than the safety of the product itself. Of course, the products Chameleon like manufactures and delivers from conception to distribution comply with all laws and regulations. With the fact that Chameleon is located in California, we are especially sensitive to Prop 65 requirements, and all components of our products are tested accordingly. However, brand safety includes a lot of other aspects, such as social and environmental compliance, traceability and supply chain safety.
2. How has QCA Accreditation benefitted/improved your company?
When Chameleon started the accreditation process five years ago, the company was half of the size it is now. As a small supplier ($5M revenue then, $10M now), it was a real undertaking. The biggest impact of becoming accredited was that the QCA requirements led us to redesign our entire inventory management and, to some degree, our production process. By introducing traceability and quality control at all levels, it facilitated our growth, in essence minimizing the typical growing pains. QCA Accreditation also was leveraged to advertise Chameleon like, Inc. as a creative supplier that “has its stuff together” so to speak.
3. How confident were you in your compliance program prior to going through the QCA Accreditation program? (And did this opinion change after completing the program?)
We honestly thought that because Chameleon is a domestic manufacturer (our import business only represents 20% of our sales), the process would be seamless. However, this was not true. Thanks to the QCA team’s guidance, we were able to overcome the challenge. Today, we realize that the process is more arduous than what we anticipated but definitely worth the effort!
4. What would you say to a fellow supplier that is on the fence about whether or not QCA Accreditation is worth the investment?
Once the accreditation process is complete, you realize how far you have come. Then, it is all about maintenance. For small suppliers, if liabilities do not concern you and growth does not motivate you, maybe you can forgo this investment. But if you are serious about growing and partnering with the more prominent distributors, I do not see how this investment can be passed up.
5. What’s the most common question(s) distributors ask about product safety/compliance?
It seems that most distributors are not fully aware or educated. Mainly, the compliance questions are asked when their customers (the end buyer) bring them up, which happens more and more. I wish distributors would ask more questions about compliance but, for the most part, they don’t.