By Jessica Kelly, Founder & CEO, THR3EFOLD
One of the great things about the invention of the internet has been the democratization of information. I remember when I was in high school, and the internet was still in it's infancy, I wanted so badly to learn about the fashion industry and how I could work in it, but the best I could do was a fashion illustration book from the early 90's at my local library - great.
Now information is everywhere, so much so, that we need help finding it and digesting it. In fact, we assume that if we don't know something, even if it's someone's personal contact information, that we can find it (I know I have). So when we come across something that no manner of online research can help us resolve, it is highly frustrating and seems impossible.
Enter the manufacturing industry. Many factories have managed to stay in business with crappy websites, confusing communication, and questionable if not egregious ethical and environmental practices. Yikes. So why is finding a factory so time consuming and confusing? Let's dive in.
Where to Begin
Finding a factory is like finding a needle in not one haystack, but many. Do you go to Google? Do you find it at a manufacturing trade show? And if so, which one? Do you find it in a database...where is that? Factories are great at making quality product in a streamlined efficient manner, what they are not so great at is communication, SEO, and website design.
There's hope: THR3EFOLD is currently building a tech platform to put all the ethical factories in one place making finding your factory easy and fun.
Let's be honest, the words "ethical" and "eco" are so grey they could be a blockbuster movie trilogy. Does that mean the factory is paying each employee a living wage? What's a living wage anyways? Are they are eliminating textile waste or committed to natural fabrics and dye processes?
There's hope: Getting certified is a lengthy and expensive process that ensures high ethical and eco standards are being met by the factory from an outside party. Only ethically certified factories are accepted to be THR3EFOLD factory partners.
Price & Quality Match
Manufacturing in America or the UK can often lower the ethical risks associated with poor factory standards, however the labor costs in the western world are very high and typically price your product out of a very competitive market. So begins the long process of sending tech packs, getting a price quote, and starting the sampling process which involves a few iterations via snail mail to complete before you can place your order.
There's hope: THR3EFOLD focuses on countries with a lower cost of living, where the quality is high, but navigating manufacturing standards is difficult. Additionally, the THR3EFOLD platform includes a two sided review system to help gain insight into the level of product, price, and working relationship you might be getting into.
If you are interested in being in the beta round of this platform, please email us today. We'd love to get you signed up. And if you need a factory today please tell us and we will go ahead and get the process rolling for you.