At Brolly Sheets, We Take Ethical Manufacturing Seriously
Have you thought about how your bedding is made and who is making it? It isn’t something we really think about, we just know that a lot of stuff is “Made in China” – but that can mean so many things.
The top quality materials used, combined with the expertise of our team in China and their superb working conditions result in a product we’re incredibly proud of. But we’re also the first to admit, that it’s not the cheapest. Today we’re going to explain why paying a few extra dollars for your Brolly Sheets bed protectors is worth the investment.
Before I started Brolly Sheets, I thought all factories were the same, if in fact I thought about the factories and the workers inside at all. But – after being in production for over 12 years, I know better. Let me paint you a picture.
Firstly – the difference between a city factory and a country factory.
China is a country full of huge cities, cities you have never heard of, but that have populations of over 10 million people. Large cities are where the majority of factories are located and what this means is that these factories have dormitories for their workers to live in on site. It is too far and too expensive for the mostly women to go home at night and be with their families, so they travel back twice a year during the holidays. That's twice a year to see their children.
The Brolly Sheets factory is in a small country town when the women (and a couple of men) can go home each night to their families. On my last trip the whole team and I went out to dinner, including some of their kids.
Secondly - Piece work vs pay per day
Many workers are paid by the piece / garment they are making, so they work as fast as possible. This can sometimes be at the expense of quality and doesn’t make for a pleasant work environment. The Brolly Sheets Chinese team are paid for the hours they work, just like our New Zealand team. There should be time in the day to have a laugh, talk about the kids or the weekend plans.
Thirdly – Factory conditions
We have all heard about the sweat shops and seen the documentaries on appalling working conditions. The Brolly Sheets factory is small in the business sense, we call it a “mini factory”, but the buildings themselves are large, well-lit and incredibly clean. The sewing machines are well spaced out, giving each worker a huge space around their workstation.
Plus packaging is done in a separate room, it is very spacious compared to many other factories I have seen in China.
Folding each Brolly Sheet to fit in the packaging is like doing origami.
Lastly – Family
James and I have been doing business together for over 10 years. Family is important to both of us and together we have grown our businesses. There is a tradition in China to take a European name and I have been asked to give both James’ daughters an English name (Catherine and Lily), which is a very great honour. James’s sister heads up the machinists and his Dad is there every day making the team lunch.
The above is the reason we will never be the cheapest, but our Chinese team are well looked after and our quality is superb. Our Brolly Sheets are made to last, so they are quite often handed around to other family members instead of going to landfill.
We believe that everyone should be able to spend time with their family and be paid fairly.