“Made in China“ : pourquoi et comment nous travaillons avec la Chine.

Once the raw material was sourced in China, it seemed more logical to find manufacturing partners nearby. And we can now count on trusted partners on site to help us control the quality of our fabrics and garments. Concentrating the actors of our value chain in the same territory also allows us to save on transportation and reduce our lead times.

Moreover, a Chinese confection allows us of course to reduce our production costs, compared to a French or European confection, we will not hide it from you. This is what allows us to offer ethical products, especially in hemp, at affordable prices. Our margins being already reduced by the increase in the cost of our raw materials, we could not drastically increase our production costs without the final price being also strongly impacted. We could have theoretically proposed a hemp tee-shirt "Made in France" but its price would have been around 80 euros, we would have been far from a product accessible to most people...

However, and it is on this point that general opinion is often misinformed, producing in China is not a miracle cure to reduce costs. Even if "Made in China" remains cheaper than most European productions, the situation has changed enormously over the last decades and to reach very low prices it is now necessary to turn to other Asian countries: Bangladesh or Pakistan for example, where working conditions are largely more difficult to control.

Moreover, China suffers from a bad image and the general opinion seems to have stopped at an observation now far from the current reality. Indeed, the country is no longer what it was years ago and huge improvements have been made. The era of Mao Zedong when quantity took precedence over quality to meet the economic emergency of the country (feeding its population) is over and China is now the second world power, with an economy and modern production tools, allowing to bet on quality.

But because we are aware that drifts can exist, as everywhere, we have chosen to rely on tools that allow us to control the practices within our partner factories: certifications. Indeed, our main fabric supplier produces according to the GOTS certification, which guarantees the respect of ecological and social principles. In addition, our garment factory is SA8000 certified, as described in our previous articles. We were interested in the improvements brought by the certification in our factory, even though it already had this guarantee at the beginning of our cooperation. Specifically, the social coverage of the workers is now 100% of the workforce, compared to 20% before the certification process. In addition, working hours are controlled with a base of 40 hours per week and overtime paid at 150%, and at 200% when it is a Saturday. The factory with which we work is particularly attentive to the remuneration of the employees who receive a salary 75% higher than the legal minimum, for the lowest salaries. Finally, our partner has moved to a new, more modern factory in January 2020.

Always in a logic of continuous improvement, we do not turn our back on "Made in Europe" and hope one day to produce in sufficient quantities to bring our production center closer. As far as "Made in France" is concerned, we would like to remind you that it is advisable to remain vigilant, and this model also shows its limits: products stamped "Made in France" are not necessarily made in the way you expect and "Made in France" does not systematically rhyme with eco-responsible materials. For example, when the brand was created, our products were screen printed and finished locally (in Clermont Ferrand and Thiers), even if they were not assembled in France. As foreseen by the customs services, "the product takes the origin of the country where it underwent the last substantial transformation", we could then have used the label "Made in France", but we were opposed to it, that constituting according to us, a misleading advertising.

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