Updated: Apr 20
At Little Ocean Heroes, we strive for the highest quality because we know that quality products last longer. However, with high quality standards comes a higher rejection rate as quality control measures are more stringent. What are our possible solutions to reducing this wastage?
Our sustainable swim shorts are hand made, and therefore some errors are inevitable. These errors usually consist of printing defects or sewing mistakes that cannot be rectified. Our high standard for quality control and perfection has lead to an average of 8% of our swim shorts being discarded for reasons that do not impact their longevity, comfort or UV protection. In fact, most of these errors are not noticeable to the untrained eye. So why discard them?
First and foremost we focus on improving our production line. We noticed consistent errors in our initial printing process; small dots that are not supposed to be there or we felt the printed pattern was not pure enough in its colour, or other minor defects that did not go unnoticed by my husband's sharp eye (combined with his background in quality control for big watch brands such as Tag Heuer and Rolex!). Eventually we were forced to make the difficult decision to change printers.
Finding competitive printers was no easy task, as most are backed up with projects that were delayed due to the pandemic, and our quantities were not large enough to attract the bigger printing companies. We turned to our wonderful suppliers who provide the beautiful fabric for all our sustainable swimwear and they have agreed to preprint our fabric before shipping it to us. And we are beyond ecstatic with the results that they have produced! We are expecting this to significantly decrease our number of discarded swimwear.
To address sewing issues, we expect this to be a process of fine tuning. We are constantly reviewing our designs to make sure that they are as comfortable as possible and that they offer the most functionality as possible. Through trial and error, and lots and lots of feedback, we feel confident that we are reaching standards that will satisfy most body shapes and sizes.
For swimwear that do not pass our quality requirements we have launched a new initiative that is of equal high functionality and comfort and also offer a certified UPF protections of 50+. We call this 'PERFECTLY IMPERFECT' because as the name suggests, they are perfectly functional and beautiful and they possess the same unique features as those sold under the Little Ocean Heroes brand. As part of our continuous quest to reach our long term sustainable goals, our MO is not to waste. Use what can be used.
"Imperfections will not be wasted"
Being a sustainable company, we follow a strict policy of transparency and honesty. We do not wish to sell anything that we ourselves would not buy or dress our children in. We share our progress as well as our mistakes as we move forward and we welcome feedback and suggestions from our followers.