Our backpack was designed and prototyped in Pittsburgh, USA and will be initially manufactured in Guangzhou, China. The support of our Kickstarter campaign will allow us to to complete our workshop in Homewood, then scale training and production to meet the needs future projects!
We have a long road ahead, but our values and standards are as high as ever. We are partnering with a responsible and trustworthy facility in Guangzhou to produce our first edition of the bags.
When choosing this partner, we first asked whether the facility had undergone a social/labor audit within the last year by an accredited third party or another apparel brand aligned with our values. The factory had been audited within the past year, so we requested a copy of this audit for our review, which the factory willingly provided (along with audits as far back as 2011!). We started with the audit for a couple of reasons. First, it offered an initial glimpse into working conditions at the facility. Second, manufacturers undergo many audits in a given year. We wanted to avoid contributing to audit fatigue--a well known issue across the fashion industry--by reviewing an up-to-date audit that had already been completed.
When reviewing the audit, we compared the findings with our own social/labor standards for suppliers, which align with universally recognized standards outlined by the International Labor Organization and UN Declaration on Human Rights. These standards cover the following topics:
- Child labor/forced labor
- Fair Working hours
- Fair Wages
- Human Treatment
- Freedom of association
- Health and safety
- Chemical management
- Environmental compliance
We found that the working conditions at this facility, as reported in the audit, aligned with our expectations for a manufacturing partner. This made us comfortable to begin talking with this manufacturer about potentially producing our backpacks.
We know that an audit is just a point-in-time look at the conditions in a facility, so it was also critical for us to visit the facility in person. Last month, members of our production and sourcing teams visited our manufacturing partner and took a close, in-person look at working conditions. Based on our visit, we are confident in moving forward with this manufacturing partner.