Updated: Apr 20
No man is an island. Never have I felt this to be more true than when starting our business. We are an eco-company, committed to promoting plastic free oceans. We design and market swimwear with sustainability and style and must make sure that all our suppliers share our commitment. We need to ensure that our swim shorts are produced sustainably and ethically.
We have a dream and an ambition to create a circular sustainability economy, starting with the recycled plastic bottles, that we then turn into swim shorts. Once the swim shorts have served their purpose, we wish to find a third and hopefully permanent life for them. While we work towards this, we need to rely on partners and relationships in business to provide us with the best eco solutions that line up with Little Ocean Heroe's values.
We chose to work with REPREVE® (Every Superhero Needs a Costume) as our fabric supplier thanks to their reputation as the world’s number-one, branded recycled performance fiber. REPREVE® prides itself on being a catalyst for change. They partner in circular economy initiatives and combine sustainability and performance.
The fabric is then delivered to our small family-owned factory in Bangkok, where the shorts and rash-guards and other items are manufactured. The factory is specialized in children's clothing and produce garments for well-known fashion brands. From time to time we personally visit our suppliers and partners to ensure that working conditions continue to be respected.
Facts About our Factory:
All workplace safety and hygiene conditions exceeded expectations and proper precautions have been put in place to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Social distancing is ensured by expanding workspace onto a new floor. Hand sanitizers and temperature checks are in place as well as rotating shifts to reduce the number of workers at the factory at the same time.
Scrap materials from the shorts are kept and repurposed. We used strips for the handles of our paper bags. Remaining scraps are sewn into chiffon pieces that are sold and the profit shared among factory workers. This circular initiative not only reduces wastage but is also motivates the workers at the factory. Management has also allocated a plot of land for the employees to grow their own vegetables
Every yard of fabric is inspected. I am pleased to report that the REPREVE® fabric passed the quality inspection with flying colours!
Needles from sewing machines can break during production. All garments are passed through a metal detector machine to ensure the garments are safe to be worn.
The factory has invested in a cutting machine. This allows the fabric to be cut precisely and make sure all pieces of the garment fit, and reduce errors
Some tips we have gathered along the way:
Research your suppliers, their reputations and make sure that their claims are as accurate.
Carefully consider packaging - from factory to the warehouse and then from warehouse to clients. Make sure that delivery of the product is organized to ensure that it arrives in pristine condition. We struggled with this as we had to deal with not only our suppliers’ entrenched delivery practices, but also with the packaging requirements of our delivery partners.
People in Thailand generally do not compost. If the packaging is not composted in a proper manner, it will remain intact in the environment. We therefore chose to not send in compostable materials.
We love a good packaging design. However finding a design that would serve a second purpose after its delivery function fulfilled became our goal. We settled on beautiful (recyclable) tubes for kids to use to put their treasures in or as pencil cups!
Admit when you are wrong. We all make mistakes and we are constantly trying to do more and do better