Posts filed under ‘Supply chain’

Closing the Loop on the Global Apparel Supply Chain Cambodian Labor Activists join members of Seattle City Council and WA State Legislature to call for Washington State to pass a SweatFree Purchasing Policy

 from the WA FAir Trade Coalition: The Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers Democratic Union and the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia, representing over 80,000, mostly women, apparel workers are coming to Seattle to share their fight for a living wage. A fight which brought hundreds of thousands of workers to the streets of Cambodia within the last year.
The City of Seattle in the last year passed a SweatFree Purchasing policy in solidarity with these workers and apparel workers worldwide who continue to labor in sweatshops making clothing for the US marketplace. Next year the WA State Legislature will move forward on a State-wide SweatFree Purchasing Policy-to insure that WA State tax dollars are supporting workers rights wherever we do business.

This is an opportunity for producers and consumers to create a humane supply chain that benefits everyone with high working standards and living wages.

When: 12pm Noon, Thursday, July 28th 2011
Where: Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave, Seattle (inside lobby)
Confirmed Speakers: Seattle Councilmember Nick Licata, WA State Senator Steve Conway, Ath Thorn, Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers Democratic Union (CCAWDU), Ms Morm Nhim, National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia (NIFTUC), Phouk Hoeung, Cambodian Women Movement’s Organization.
Invited speakers: WA Rep. Bob Hasegawa, Seattle Councilmember Tom Rassmussen.
Join the Washington Fair Trade Coalition/SweatFree WA Campaign, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), Solidarity Center AFL-CIO, and Teamsters 117
 Cambodian delegation in Seattle City Hall-solidarity in the global apparel supply chain from producers to consumers. Bring signs calling for WA State to pass a SweatFree Purchasing Policy.
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July 27, 2011 at 4:38 am Leave a comment

Part 4 of “Fair Trade from the Seed to the Consumer”: The Retailer & Consumer

In recognition of Fair Trade Month, Marigold Fair Trade Clothing has a new blog series entitled: “Fair Trade From the Seed to the Consumer.” Our beautiful, fashion-forward products represent a completely fair trade supply chain, and you can be assured that from the cotton seed to the finished product, your Marigold purchase is helping to transform the lives of workers and t heir communities. Holding true to our value of transparency, and in an effort to educate and advocate for the Fair Trade model, we are opening up, and explaining, our complete value chain to the consumer public.

In Part 4 (and the final installment of this series), we will explore the fourth major link in the supply chain, and the one that you are probably most familiar with: Distribution & The Consumer.

In addition to selling directly to our consumers at events around the Seattle, Washington, area, and through our online catalog and shopping cart, we have the privilege of working with an amazing set of 60+ retailers across the country. Marigold is based on a wholesaler model, and so we really rely on our retail partners to spread the word about fair trade and distribute our products to the end consumer. We love working in close collaboration with stores to develop new products that suit the needs of their customers, and it is our goal to make the decision to buy fair trade an easy one!

In order to reach the biggest audience we can, staff at Marigold frequently speak at colleges, schools, community groups, festivals and events to share our story and spread the word about fair trade. We are also often involved in ethical fashion shows and stay involved in the local and global fair trade community through our social media sites. By staying connected to the movement, we can speak directly to retailers who may be entertaining the idea of offering ethical fashion and housewares, but we can also engage in a direct dialogue with you, our consumer. Our distributors are essential to our success, but we also love to hear directly from our consumers. You can tell us what’s hot, what’s not, and offer general feedback on our products and what you would like to see Marigold offer next.

We recently spoke to a Marigold supporter who was a winner of one of our blog contests, and then went on to order our beautiful Paisley Skirt. Here is what she had to say:

“I buy fair trade because I believe that I’m making a difference in the global community and enjoy influencing business and consumer trends toward the greater good. Because I care about what I buy, it’s great to find a central location where I can freely shop without worrying about where the products were made or under what kind of conditions.  At Marigold I have the assurance that everything is fair trade and can be confident that everything I buy is making the world a better place.  Marigold has a lot of options and some really great designs, and I especially love the paisley skirt – it’s very comfortable, flattering, and also very versatile so that I can wear it to work with more formal accessories, or for play with sandals.”

At the core of Marigold’s values is the idea of transparency, which is exactly what inspired us to open up our supply chain to the public with this blog series. We consider ourselves to not only be a fair trade clothing designer and wholesaler, but also an organization that spurs discussion, innovation and change. We want our retailers and consumers to feel engaged with Marigold, and know that you are playing a large part in furthering the fair trade movement.

The conventional garment industry, and what we have come to accept as normal and the law of the land, is one of secrecy and an impossibly long and convoluted supply chain that makes it difficult for consumers to know the story of the product. Marigold’s business model turns this antiquated system on its head by giving the consumer complete insight into the production process. We have no secrets, and because of this, when you purchase a Marigold product, you can be sure that you are getting the complete, honest, and fair history of the item.



October 26, 2010 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

Part 3 of “Fair Trade From the Seed to the Consumer”: Product Design & Production

In recognition of Fair Trade Month, Marigold Fair Trade Clothing has a new blog series entitled: “Fair Trade From the Seed to the Consumer.” Our beautiful, fashion-forward products represent a completely fair trade supply chain, and you can be assured that from the cotton seed to the finished product, your Marigold purchase is helping to transform the lives of workers and their communities. Holding true to our value of transparency, and in an effort to educate and advocate for the Fair Trade model, we are opening up, and explaining, our complete value chain to the consumer public.

In Part 3 of our series, we will explore the third major link in the supply chain, and the one that Marigold plays the biggest role in: Product Design & Production

Since 2004, Marigold has been working with a sewing co-op of over 300 women from the slums of Mumbai, India. The co-op provides an opportunity for severely disadvantaged women to craft their own economic independence by learning sewing and embroidery skills. After 6-9 months in the training program they join one of the 18 work groups which are autonomously run and coordinated by one woman whom is elected by each group.The women are also offered a number of social services including childcare, a nursery, educational sponsorship for their children, health training and a savings and credit organization.

Marigold first discovered the women’s co-op at the World Social Forum, an international conference of over 100,000 people representing the grassroots community from all over South East Asia and the World. At the time, the co-op was creating children’s toys but was interested into moving more into fashion, and as supporters of fair trade we had often found it difficult to find fashionable fair trade clothes in the North American market. We feel that meeting this group was in our destiny and saw a perfect opportunity to help grow the industry of ethical fashion by being using a Wholesaler model. The women at the heart of Marigold are in India, but Marigold helps bring their skills and traditional art forms to the North American market through the design of fashionable fair trade clothing and partnering with over 60 retailers around the country.

Unlike the traditional garment industry supply chain where clothing designers in North America only outsource production to developing nations, never meeting any of the workers, and certainly never consulting with the production staff, Marigold takes a different approach. Not only do we consult with local Indian artists in designing our housewares and clothing, we also know the names and faces of the women in the co-operative who actually make Marigold products. Instead of seeing the production phase as merely a means to an end that we should constantly strive to drive down costs and margins, we see our workers as partners and members of the Marigold family.

Rosy, one of our most tenured members, learned her sewing skills at the co-op and over the years became coordinator of one of the work groups, eventually earning the position of training center coordinator. Today she is a quality checker, responsible for making sure that Marigold’s products are made with the highest standards in mind. Rosy told us:

“It’s hard to imagine when I think back. Before, no one (in my household) was listening to me. Now if there is an issue and I am not there, they wait for me to hear what I have to say. I feel as if I am an independent woman taking care of my family and children. I feel as if the co-op has given me a platform on which to stand.”


Stay tuned for the last installment in this series, one that our readers are most familiar with, Part 4: Distribution & Consumer Purchasing. How have your feelings about Marigold products changed since you have been able to put a name and face to one of the workers? Does having this insight prompt you to question the status quo of the garment industry?

October 20, 2010 at 6:05 am Leave a comment

Part 2 of “Fair Trade From the Seed to the Consumer”: Cloth Production & Block Printing

In recognition of Fair Trade Month, Marigold Fair Trade Clothing has a new blog series entitled: “Fair Trade From the Seed to the Consumer.” Our beautiful, fashion-forward products represent a completely fair trade supply chain, and you can be assured that from the cotton seed to the finished product, your Marigold purchase is helping to transform the lives of workers and their communities. Holding true to our value of transparency, and in an effort to educate and advocate for the Fair Trade model, we are opening up, and explaining, our complete value chain to the consumer public.

In Part 2 of our series, we will explore the second major link in the Marigold supply chain: Cloth Production & Block Printing

The organic cotton used to make Marigold products is milled, ginned and dyed by an association of over 5,000 farmers in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, and then the finished cotton fabric is sent to the cooperative for stitching.

In order to make the beautiful, one of a kind products that you have come to love, we use fabrics that are vegetable-dyed and hand block printed, bringing the past into today’s fashion conscious world. Hand block printing is an age-old tradition that dates back to 12th century India, but it is a dying art form due to the trend of mass production. We believe in honoring and celebrating this tradition and so the fabrics used at the co-op to make Marigold clothing and housewares come from a group of artisans who have been block printing for generations. The work is done by hand with intricately carved wooden blocks called bunta which are pressed into the fabrics with great precision to bring you products that area true work of art.

Using a model of a completely fair trade supply chain, everyone who has had a hand in creating a Marigold product is becoming an economically self-sufficient stakeholder, and is not simply a worker.

Stay tuned for Part 3: Product Design & Production. In the mean time, what are your thoughts on using artisan traditions (such as block printing and vegetable dying) for the production of consumer goods? Is this important to you? Do you think the general shopper is concerned about the source of their fabrics?

October 19, 2010 at 5:51 am Leave a comment


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