Would you know a nice sewing factory if you saw one?
In the midst of continuing to set up shop, I was mentally comparing what I started with 15 years ago versus what I have today. Some things I’m proud of, some things are work in progress. I was thinking to myself that most anyone who would walk in here, wouldn’t have any idea what anything was (beyond the obvious) or the value of what it represented and might even think the place looked junky. It caused me to remember an old post on another site that I had commented on. The blogger said:
A large room was filled with Chinese women on sewing machines. There was plenty of natural light and an apparently friendly atmosphere. My friend is in start-up mode for her own fashion label… and she needed to check some of her production… I met the owner, an amiable Chinese man who apparently works seven days a week. The women sewing don’t speak English, apparently. The fourth-floor walk-up in the heart of San Francisco didn’t evoke for me the classic images of a manufacturing sweatshop, but it’s hard to think of another word for what I saw at the top of the stairs.
I can’t speak for you but I find this offensive. Here we have someone who has no idea what a factory floor is like, what working conditions are appropriate criteria but because there’s non-English speaking people in the room -with sewing machines!- it is by all accounts, a sweatshop. The reality is, if it had been one, they wouldn’t have let him in the door. He had no idea what he was looking at. It makes me sad because it was probably a nice shop, the owner was proud of providing a nice and congenial place to work. People were happy. He probably had nice equipment but how would this guy know?
Which brings me to my point, how would you know? Or, how could you know? Those of you who have experience, enlighten others with some things to look for, what is out of place? Most of the things that come to my mind are OSHA or code requirements but I’m thinking that is too obvious. What criteria would you suggest people use to determine the caliber of a place you walked into?
For me, the first thing is whether the owner is proud of his place and is happy to show me around.