It's so important to be conscious of who makes your clothes.
In 2016, we went on a mission to seek the impossible. We wanted to find affordable yet ethical factories without compromising the quality of our products. We decided to research factories in Southern China, an area with a strong sense of Muslim community (and also home of the famous Huaisheng Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in the world, built over 1,300 years ago by Sa'ad Ibn Abi Waqqas!)
A photo of The Huaisheng Mosque. Taken by Sireen, May 2016.
My mother and I spent a month in China in order to find the best factories for our products. We were very specific about the type of factories we wanted to work with, and when we found the right ones, we knew because they just felt right. From the treatment of workers, to the overall appearance of the factories, and based on the overall work environment, we knew we were making the right decisions. Each factory we work with today has ethical compliance certificates and is given a compliance audit in order to evaluate the workers’ wages, hours, and overall environment.
While we were in China, we requested for production samples based on our drawings and sketches, and carefully reviewed important details for each garment. We were specific about our preferences from the beginning to eliminate any future errors in production, which would not only save us a lot of time and money, but also keeps our products looking their absolute best. Most of these specifications are literally impossible to communicate via email, and can only be done in person.
Fast forward to 2018, we keep in touch with our factories often and build strong personal relationships with the owners and their workers. We strongly believe these relationships will allow us to continue bringing you the absolute best products.
So how do we manage to keep our prices so low?
Spending more does not always mean you’re getting the very best. Since 2012, we have always kept the same mission: to provide you with the very best quality at low prices. So, how is that possible? We constantly look for ways to lower overhead costs by thinking strategically. By the way, when we say, “made ethically, with love,” we mean it in every way possible. Our factories enforce a strict limited waste material model, which means if we design a product with a specific type of fabric, we’re using up the entire roll of fabric with limited fabric wasted. All of these factors allow us to cut costs and offer products at significantly lower prices without compromising quality.
Customers often tell us they prefer products made locally, in Canada or the U.S. because of the misconceptions regarding China’s cheap quality and poor labor laws.
We won’t deny the truth. Many garment factories in China abuse human rights and exploit slave-labor costs… We’ve seen it all. But these same sweatshops exist all over the world, even in our own country. According to U.S. The Department of Labor, over 50% of garment factories in the U.S. are sweatshops. The Department of labor defines a sweatshop as a garment factory which violates at least two basic labor laws. During a four-month period in 2016, The U.S. Department of Labor investigated 77 garment factories throughout Los Angeles, California and found that 85% of those factories violated basic labor laws.
- Sireen, co-founder of Bella Hijabs