Did you know that when we started this side business 5 or so years ago that we had no experience in the fashion world? Well, we’ve learned a lot since then and though we are a small business with just a few of us here behind the scenes and always on a tight budget, we are always open to change. Acknowledging that we quite simply don’t know what we don’t know has allowed us to adopt the principle that when you know better, you do better.
So that’s what we’re always striving to do.
With that in mind, we’d like to share something we’ve been working on hard behind the scenes for over a year now -- a big change in our manufacturing. We will now be in control of all parts of our manufacturing and we will be producing everything under one roof at a wonderfully sustainable factory in Peru. The factory we've chosen comes with a whole new manufacturing team that believes in fair pay, fair hours, undergoes audits, employs over 70% women, does profit sharing with it's employees, and gives back to the community.
If you’ve ordered from us before, you may notice subtle changes to our garments. All tees are now garment dyed and enzyme washed, two major steps toward achieving that classic vintage look and feel. Our new fabrics are a step up in quality, are built to last, and have undergone rigorous quality testing.
We invite you to share in our excitement as we celebrate a step up in both quality and sustainability. We thank all who have held us accountable as well as those who have given us grace while we learn and grow.
- Our factory has invested in a partnership with a 50 year old spinning house and engineering team to recycle plastic into yarn without the harmful by-products of today’s methods, creating a truly sustainable form of recycled polyester.
- Dying fabric is arguably the manufacturing process inside the textile industry that causes the most waste and pollution. That’s why we’ve partnered with a factory that is investing in an innovative start-up that is growing cotton in color. Yes, that’s right! Cotton fiber that is grown in color with the goal being the earth itself coloring your fabric naturally.
- Our manufacturing team heavily invests in the education and training of the team. This includes opportunities to attend global trade shows, seminars from experts, all in an effort to stay on the cutting edge of technology and change. And while all of our manufacturing takes place in Peru, our manufacturing team also has staff and factories in Italy and Los Angeles, creating a multifaceted global supply chain.
- At our factory, all machine operators have the chance to participate in year end profit sharing; that means that everyone on the factory team - from the hand sewer to the specialty cutter - can benefit from their hard work and grow.
- We are proud to have a diverse manufacturing team with members from here in the US and Peru, as well as Venezuela, Italy, China, and India. With a combined 17 different languages and ages ranging from 24 to 74, we’re delighted to join with a manufacturing team we feel is made stronger by the diversity of its members. And perhaps the icing on the cake is that 77% of our manufacturing team is made up of women. These women lead departments such as product development, laboratory, and finance.
- Because health is a priority, our manufacturing team is required to have full medical examinations. Partnering with Opthalmologists from USA, Europe, and Puerto Rico has provided members of our team free clinics for eye-exams for both workers as well as their communities. Our team promotes healthy eating and lifestyle by running campaigns and educating workers under the guise that improving standard of living will help us to all rise together.
- Both maternity and paternity leave are provided.
- To ensure safety of our works, extra strength, quasi-impenetrable metal gloves are provided and required at all times when cutting fabrics. Special shoes to protect against slip are also provided as well as ventilated air systems to circulate air, and face masks to protect against the cotton particles in the air.
- Most factories worldwide don’t promote a work / life balance because most factories follow an industry standard where factory workers and sewing machine operators are obligated to work 1 shift + a half to 2 shifts in order to reach a minimum living wage. That means a sewing machine operator would have to work a minimum of 60 hours per week just to get to 75% of a living wage. This oftentimes includes working on the weekends. Our manufacturing team, however, values time spent with family and believes that a worker should be able to work a normal 40 hour workweek and earn a fair-living wage.
- Did you know that, in sewing manufacturing, it is quite common for factories with as many as 400 sewing machines to only have 10-15 operators because they “third-party contract” most of their production? This allows them to have lower prices because they’ve found this loophole to sap paying payroll taxes. Other factories choose to hire and lay-off sewers in conformance with how much volume of work they have. While this may seem logical from an economical standpoint, it is not logical from a moral standpoint. That’s why our manufacturing team provides stable work contracts, always pays our workers on time, and works as hard as necessary to provide workers with stable employment so that they, in turn, can be stable leaders and providers for their families, spouses, and children.
- Giving back to the community is important. That’s why our manufacturing team has partnered with a Women’s Cooperative in the Andes Mountains to educate and promote good sewing practices and quality, empowering women to work autonomously for quality.
Always building for the better.
The Bee & The Fox