Change - and perhaps, revolution - only seems to occur when a situation becomes dire. The collapse of the Rana Plaza was April 24th, 2013. The fourth largest industrial disaster in history. The Fashion Revolution movement now exists to bring focus to people + planet.
At Sans Beast, we add a third element to this, with non human animals being a major consideration in our striving for an ethical approach to producing fashion. You can read more about our ethos here. Today though, we're calling attention to our human makers + partners in building our Sans Beast world.
Many hands make our products, and the raw materials that go into each + every bag, strap + wallet. Our business couldn't continue without the regular communication, technical skills, care + effort from our manufacturing partners.
We produce our collections with SingFai Handbags in the Dongguan area of Southern China which is owned + run by Tony Lee + his brothers Sing + Joe. We have always felt that regular visits were the best way to assess a factory, however with the lack of travel available to us, we engaged a Sedex authorised auditor (we used ESTS) midway through 2021 to review the factory + ensure all was on track - workers were appropriately paid, inclusive of insurance, the environment was safe + the culture was one that encouraged feedback + worker input.
We're pleased to report that the factory easily passed the audit. We are also always heartened to see familiar faces when we receive photos from the factory floor. Staff turnover at SingFai is low + the Lee family pride themselves on an engaged team of workers.
The makers of the world have had a tough road these last 2+ years, with the ongoing COVID19 situation, lockdowns + the outlook for business + health being uncertain. In the case of SingFai, Tony has had to do his overseeing of the work from HK as heading to China means a quarantine period. The same goes for Patrick liaising with his hardware factory + Lynn at Honglu Fabrics. Adrian + Marte and their team at Desserto in Guadalajara, have also experienced their share of lockdowns + loss in Mexico.
As a result, we get by with many, many WeChat conversations, our very detailed specifications, a regular stream of emails, the brilliance that is Lara at SingFai, our primary point of contact in the factory as lead 'merchandiser' on the Sans Beast brand + the occasional Zoom call.
We encourage you to watch our film A Makers View for a look behind the scenes at the factory - filmed when we could visit in person (December 2019). The skill required for each step of constructing a Sans Beast bag - from making the fabric to cutting panels, stitching, gluing, foil embossing, CADs, moulds, casting, polishing + eventually, attaching of hardware to quality checks + packing - is a marvel to see up close.
Our founder Cathryn has been working with Tony + Patrick (refer the 'I made your hardware picture shown here) since 2006 + our Design Manager Valeria, since 2012. This long term alliance is what strong partnerships are made of + we're continually grateful to have their teams in our corner. The teams' efforts to make things work, when international travel + factory visits are off the table, is a testament to their resilience + dedication.
We recently got news from the much admired GoodOnYou platform that our rating had gone from 'It's a Start' to 'Good'. The changes we've made are mostly around fabrics - using more recycled PU versus virgin, and increasing our use of cactus fabric.
We're grateful for this recognition + look forward to doing more to bring our news into the light - much happens behind the scenes + we're excited to talk more about our processes, sourcing, design + manufacturing approach.
As always, we are grateful to YOU for being here and supporting this small business, and the makers it supports in turn. You can read more on The Craft of Sans Beast about how our collections are crafted + what it takes to bring a vegan bag range to life.
Studio Sans Beast XO