Apr 13 2017 0 Comments
The purpose of this trip to China is to visit the factories that we source our beads and clips from. I need to ensure that this order goes out without a glitch and I also want to make sure I am using companies with responsible work practices.
The first factory on our visit was to retrieve custom clasps I had ordered years ago that were being held ransom because they suspected that I had jumped ship to another company. I brought my dear old dad with me, and although I have stopped doing business with this company, I found it so fascinating to finally see the place that had been providing me with beads for the past 3 years!
We took a taxi and arrived at a gated factory in what seemed like the middle of a residential area. We were greeted by a guard and had to call up for the sales woman and her manager to come down and get us. I seriously wish I had taken pictures of the motivational photo's in the stairwell. There was a cruise ship with the company's name on it (I guess that's the dream) and a quotation in English and Chinese that made my father and I laugh: "Today is bad, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after that will be sunshine." I didn't find it too motivational, but I see where they're going with it!
We were first shown the sample room, where a team of innovators was working on a new product. We looked at all the teethers, necklaces, pacifier clips and their other products, such as bottles, cup covers and a very cool silicone place mat with a built in plate that suctions to the table (very practical for kids).
Then we went to see where all the magic happens. They have a room dedicated to quality control, making sure orders are filled properly. My dad and I laughed, because outside of where they do sales, this was the first room with workers they showed us and there was a little girl there...doing her homework... In China it is very common for mothers to take their children to work with them, and this was a Saturday morning so the little girl didn't have school. They explained to us that the women in this room are responsible for making sure orders are filled properly.
In the main section of the factory, there were two long rows of women working on the production of pacifier clips, necklaces and putting teethers into packaging. I loved watching them work and I also learned a little secret about how they make their necklaces. The women use this very long flexible needle, no lighters here!
As we descended into the basement of the factory, loud Chinese pop music blared and hot machines produced teethers. This is where the men work. I learned that because the production of beads is so large at their factory, the beads are manufactured elsewhere and then shipped there. I had heard rumors of this before and they were a bit hesitant at divulging this information, but I don't see the problem, this is not a big factory.
All in all, my father and I agreed that their practices in the factory, with the exception of two seemed up to our standards. It was clean, fairly organized, well ventilated, employed adult men and women (who also live in the quarters beside the main building) and they really put the quality of their products as their number one priority. This company wants to be the number one silicone baby supplier in the world and they are well on their way. They have some very large accounts and they take pride in their work. One thing we felt may be a hazard that my father pointed out, was that the men working with the silicone should likely wear masks to protect themselves from any airborne particles. My issue with our visit was that the sales girl and her manager were not on the same page when it came to cost. She wanted to charge me more and he realized I was on my way out the door and offered me some very good prices. At the end of the day the customer service I have received over the years is what has forced me to find another factory (of which I couldn't be happier about).