Working in the clothing manufacturing for 22 years before starting Under the Nile, I have seen more people working in horrid working conditions than I wish to.
I remembered working with sewing shops in San Francisco and seeing babies in baskets full of flannel while their mothers and fathers sewed nightgowns next to them. I discovered while working with many brands that sourced through factories in China, that treating workers well by providing safe working conditions and fair wages was not a priority. That is a distant memory that I remembered and wanted no part of when I started Under the Nile.
From the inception of Under the Nile, my entire business philosophy has been built and centered around ethical manufacturing. By paying a fair price to the farmers who grow our cotton, we help protect their livelihood while ensuring that the highest quality of cotton is grown. The paper trail documenting the amount of money reaching farmers also making certain these funds are used for social programs, continuing education and are committed to continual crop improvement.
But Fair Trade encompasses so much more than just making sure our entire supply chain is paid fairly.
The cotton farmer is just the start of our supply chain.
We have just over 240 employees who work hard at our factory enabling us to bring premium quality organic products to the market. We want to treat them well and make them happy so we have many programs in place that help our team thrive. What does that look like?
This includes free daily lunches and a health care/ hospital facility right on the farm where our employees and their families can go for a reduced rate. All our employees also have the opportunity to send their children to our Waldorf School that is located on the farm. And to accommodate our working mothers, we have a daycare just steps away from the factory!
Fair Trade means everyone has the right to work in a safe and secure environment.
We believe that if you have these rights, you will be happy and want to work and do your best! We understand that muscles can ache, and necks can get stiff while working at a sewing machine. So we also make sure that everyone takes breaks and does daily exercise therapy to make sure their bodies continue to feel good.
When I’m at our factory working, I enjoy seeing the sewing lines throwing balls across the factory floor and stretching, and when Magdy shows up once a week to play his oud, you can hear humming across the factory floor.
Most importantly, Fair Trade means that we all respect each other’s viewpoints and ideas so that we can all work towards achieving our common goals together. The end result is not only a product that is the highest quality, but a product that has been brought to the market in a fair and just way with a back story that makes you feel good about the product you purchased.
More and more consumers are demanding that the products they purchase have transparency as to how they were made. This month is Fair Trade October. Let’s spread the word about the importance of supporting Fair Trade companies - big and small and let your buying power speak.