Years ago I vowed that we would not manufacture garments in China as I did not support Chinese clothing manufacturing ethics.
When starting our new brand, CREAM WORKWEAR, we only wanted to support skilled and reliable manufacturers who understood premium quality and who aligned to our code of ethical manufacturing - fair pay, ethical working conditions & sustainable manufacturing.
It took us 12 months of searching the globe for manufacturers - from Madagascar to Mumbai, from Vietnam to Venezula, sampling fabrics and garments, having face to face meetings and countless video calls. Many time zones later, I finally decided on who I wanted to welcome into our manufacturing and supply journey.
One particular team of expert manufacturers were in China.
I visited these suppliers again last week, and I could not be happier. Most people scoff at the term “Made in China” but perhaps before we do, we should understand that times have changed, that the 70’s were 3 decades ago, and that ‘’Made in China” now holds a great reputation.
In the last decade the minimum wage has been brought into alignment with developed countries and many clothing and footwear companies (Burberry, Nike, Puma, Adidas) who support cheap labour have pulled out of China and relocated to Vietnam or Bangladesh where the labour costs are 1/3 of the Chinese minimum wage. This meant the Chinese manufacturers who were exploiting labourers, pushing out cheap & poor quality clothing products, could not sustain their businesses and shut up shop.
A fire in nature burns off the deadwood and allows the strong seeds to start anew in the barren landscape, and a similar thing happened in China for garment manufacturing. The experts, the producers of quality, the good people stood strong and embraced new work ethics, with the result that their business models strengthened. They have skilled workers, good business ethics and understand that good quality is the root of sustainable business. These teams are incredibly dedicated, hard working experts, and I couldn’t be prouder to have business relationships with them.
I feel honoured to have met their families, shared family meals and to have learned from their manners. Thriving businesses are all about relationships, whether it be with the local farmer, the new customer who you meet, or the trusty supplier who goes above and beyond to maintain great business relationships.
I learned so much in one week from these teams, and I’m proud to be affiliated with them.