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Choosing Factories With Care

BY Liz Smith

IN: Corporate Responsibility

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Do you look at the label on clothes when you are shopping to see where they are made? I do. That’s because I spent many years deciding which factories Victoria’s Secret would use to make their millions of bras, panties, and sleepwear. All good brands use a set of criteria to choose suppliers which is very similar to the factors you consider important when choosing products for your children. And these are the same principles that Lucky and Me care about:
 
Safety
The primary consideration is always safety. This simple word has a multitude of applications, and when we as parents think of safety, we’re always thinking about the safety of our children. In the factory setting, this means working with suppliers who ensure all elements of the product are safe, including the fabric, lace, thread, and any accessories. Safety also means the factory holds their workers in high regard, and has policies and procedures which ensure a safe, healthy working environment. It also means hiring workers who are qualified, and not hiring workers who are underage. Safety encompasses environmental concerns. It means choosing factories which adhere to the highest standards of environmental protections for the health and wellbeing of those who work with the products and also neighbors who would be affected by unsafe practices.

You can read more about Lucky and Me’s approach to product safety here.

Quality
If you’re anything like me, you will look for the highest quality you can afford, especially for your kids. For some, this means organic cotton for its chemical-free properties and softness. For others, it means the right fit so little bodies are comfortable all day. Lucky and Me set high quality standards and then partner with mills and factories they know will be able to achieve those standards.
For me, quality comes down to attention to detail. In clothes, I look for the finest fabrics that feel good against my skin and solid construction that won’t fall apart in the wash or after a few wear cycles. For my tween daughter, a key consideration is fashion, which also means clothes that hold their shape and color after washing. And in a factory, quality requires strict adherence to standards and procedures. Brands like Lucky and Me, or Victoria’s Secret, ask for specific fabrics, colors, sizes, and details. A factory focused on quality will follow the brand’s instructions and ensure that the product quality is intact.

You can read more about product quality and organic cotton here.

Value
“You get what you pay for” is a cliché precisely because it’s true. We’re all looking for the best value when spending our hard-earned dollars. This means finding the best quality at a price that is affordable. And for Lucky and Me, it means working with suppliers who provide quality products for a reasonable cost.

Reliability
The final key consideration in choosing a supplier is reliability. We’ve all had the experience of buying a product once, loving it, and then the next time we purchase it, it’s not the same. These differences can be the result of a number of factors. Sometimes the fabrics are a little bit different, and don’t stretch the same amount. Sometimes it’s a sewing difference, one sewing machine operator takes more of a seam allowance than another. A good factory will identify these differences during their quality reviews, and ensure that the products they ship all adhere to the specifications.

Over the past 20 years or so, there has been a focus on the apparel industry and their practices when choosing factories, especially overseas factories. Many retailers used cost as their primary consideration when choosing suppliers, and this often resulted in poor quality, substandard working conditions, and environmental disasters. In recent years many major brands and government agencies have collaborated on identifying important considerations and standards for social responsibility. One program is called WRAP – Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production. All Lucky and Me factories are WRAP-certified. You can read more about corporate responsibility and WRAP here.

You can be certain that all Lucky and Me products are made with the highest dedication to the principles of Safety, Quality, Value, and Reliability.
 

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