At the start of Rad Rev in 2014 I was hand making each item. It slowly started getting more and more to manage and I started looking for manufacturing help.
In 2016 we hired a facility in California to take over our rompers. They were good but each order had an issue or a flaw and they never took responsibility for their mistakes costing us thousands of dollars on replacements and lost packages.
In 2018 we found a few facilities in Hong Kong to take over our silicone and wood toys. They were GOOD! We loved the company and the people behind the scenes. Never had a problem with them.
Also that year we found someone in Utah to take over the rest of our clothing... here's where the story goes south..
We were passionate about keeping our clothing made in the USA. We believe in fair pay, good working conditions, and helping out our neighbors. The company started out by making us pay a few extra random start up fees but it would be worth it because they would let us keep all the pattern files. We worked with them for over a year with a new flaw on each order. It was exhausting but we were in so deep with them it seemed like it would be worth it once we worked out the kinks.
Fast forward to the end of 2019, we placed an order with a 4 week turn around in November.. February rolled in and we were still waiting. We got told a lot of lies and run arounds, and then they told us they were finished and would ship out the next day. We paid the final invoice and NOTHING. Weeks later I was told that they moved their facilities to New York, and all my fabric would be sent there (fabric? I thought the rompers were done). ONE YEAR LATER and we still don't have those rompers.
What we've learned is that the company went bankrupt. They never moved to New York. They were somewhat bought out (maybe) to that New York facility and were using illegal immigrants to make the clothes. They weren't paying taxes, weren't paying the immigrants fair wages, and their building was being condemned for and unsafe environment.
THAT'S where we started researching stereotypes in manufacturing. THAT'S where my mind was blown.
China is the absolute best at manufacturing. It's what they do. It's the Boeing that airplanes are to us. Back in the day they got a really bad reputation of having "sweat shops" and it was awful. Absolutely disgusting work environments and not paying their workers fair, even making children work. Americans also were in a war mentality and only had the USA in mind which has changed massively since traveling is the newest desired hobby.
I'm sure unethical things go on in some places that I don't know about, but what I do know is where MY products are now being made.
I've called and face timed with the family that owns our manufacturing facility and they have become very close friends to me. They are saddened that people in America use this stereotype against them, I mean that's what our whole country is fighting right now... to break down the stereotypical judgements right? So maybe I can do my part over here and share my story.
Just because they are Chinese does not mean they are running a sweatshop. We pay our factory beyond fair wages, their facilities are nice, and the company is owned and operated by a tight knit family who reminds me of my own. They're supporting their babies and also helping me support mine. The people over there need us, and we need them. I'm 100% against a sweatshop, but I'm also 100% against judging someone based on where they were born. The girl I text almost daily has two little girls and she handles all our production and new ideas. Her name is Ada and I probably chat with her more than anyone in America. I can't imagine not supporting her family business, so we have decided to move all our products to their factory. They may be one of a kind, but I feel lucky to have found them.
Moral of the story... a tag that says made in the USA doesn't mean much to me anymore. I'm interested in learning about where a product is actually made. The country of origin doesn't matter. The people behind it do.
Our brand is dedicated to making high quality items that will slow fashion and help our environment. The products we have now are longer lasting, we're not into buying cheap leftovers. We're innovating designs, customizing fabrics, and trying to take responsibility for the things we send out into the world. Slowly but surely we will take new steps at achieving this goal. It has been a huge learning curve, but I'm proud of where Rad Rev came from and what it has become.