When I was still designing the early version of our waterproof jackets, I had to answer a difficult question:
Who the hell’s gonna produce this complex jacket, using high quality and sustainable materials, in a fair and ethical working environment?
I started researching and listing all the potential candidates. To my surprise, I noticed that most advanced outerwear factories were located in Asia. And that included the world's most sustainable brands such as Patagonia and Fjällräven.
And let's be honest, like many us, I had that stereotypical view of Asian produced goods in mind: poorly built, in poor working conditions.
But by researching all the candidates both in Europe and Asia, I knew not all factories were equal, no matter which country they’d be in, there'd be good and bad everywhere.
Visiting them personally would help me decide.
But wait, wouldn’t it be less polluting to produce here in the UK, or nearby?
Time to visit!
This one in particular in Hebei, China seemed to tick all the (good) boxes... Great communication, top-notch samples made, and presumably, good working conditions in the factory.
So in the summer of 2019, I got my Visa, packed my bag and flew over there to see it for myself. After a long trip and being properly jet lagged, I was finally meeting with the factory and the all the workers involved on my project, willing to start my first production.
Welcome to our factory, located in the Hebei Province of China!
When I arrived, I knew the months of searching weren't spent for nothing.
After a warm welcome by Albert and his colleague, our now production managers, I was introduced to each room and worker. Everyone I met was highly skilled, super friendly, and there was also a very relaxed atmosphere.
Everyone listened to music as they worked, others chatted in the resting area.
Here, workers are paid a living wage by the hour. They work in a safe and regulated environment, 8 hours a day. They can work extra, but are paid extra.
Each person here is specialised in technical garments and outerwear. All with unique skills, from pattern cutting, to seam taping and finishing. And with access to high end automated machinery, I knew we had found THE partner.
Convincing such a factory to come onboard, despite a relatively low order volume wasn't a piece of cake. It took months of negotiating and prototyping before coming to this stage. But today, I’m super happy and proud to have a factory that share my commitment to ethical manufacturing as our partners.
I hope this will give you a better idea of the backstage and how we’re on our way to build the best urban outerwear company!
If you have any questions, just comment here or shoot me an email on email@example.com
Have a look at our collection, with all the reviews you left us so far:Check out our collection
Take care peeps!
😘 Ali, founder