Fair Trade vs USA MADE – What’s the diff?

ALL ABOUT ME 110 MAR 2018 Final

We’re pretty passionate about making our MAJAMAS EARTH clothing in the USA. From my concerned friend to the stranger at a cocktail party, people question our reasons ALL the time.

“There’s Fair Trade organizations that could work with us overseas, cutting your costs in half – so why stay?”

To many, our passion to stay USA MADE doesn’t seem like a wise business decision, so I want to share my answers to some of the most asked questions I get about manufacturing in the States.

1. What started the USA MADE crusade?

When I met my contractor in Jersey, I was pulling my production from another shop because I realized the owner there wasn’t on the up and up. I was literally carrying bundles of my production down four flights of steep stairs and loading it into a small rental car when I dropped a bunch of it on the ground. Suddenly, a kind gentleman asked me in a broken accent if I needed help. Of course I answered yes! The next thing I know he’s carrying my bundles to the building next door while explaining he has a shop there and would be happy to look at the work I needed to have done. To this day, I’m convinced divine intervention played a part in my contractor finding me on that sidewalk because he has been nothing but honest and hard working ever since. His sisters and he do all our sewing and they have an amazing eye for detail and care as much about producing high quality garments as we do.

If we sewed overseas, his family wouldn’t have an income and I can’t imagine trusting our work to anyone else.

 

2. Why make everything in the U.S.?

INSTA Hardest Right QuoteWhat’s amazing about using 100% USA MADE goods to make MAJAMAS EARTH clothing is everyone connected to our business is like family. They’re honest and trustworthy.

Yes, using locally sourced vendors to supply us with our products is easier on the planet, but honestly it’s easier on us too. There’s no huge time change issue to deal with when we need to call a vendor and they always answer the phone. We can monitor the quality of our production more easily and we always have immediate access to our goods.

3. Why use USA MADE fabrics?

This is easy! Quality fabric mills operate under the strictest environmental laws on the planet ensuring the fabrics that make our MAJAMAS EARTH collections have minimal impact on our environment.

Garfield Park Conservatory Yellow Flowers

Just like our contractor, the mills supplying MAJAMAS EARTH with fabrics are family owned. They’re always helping us find the most environmentally-friendly fabric so we can continue creating beautiful fashion that doesn’t harm our beautiful planet. They allow us to approve every fabric before it ships and call us if there’s ever an issue. I know they have our back and will do whatever it takes to ensure our fabrics are beautifully made.

 

3. Why not use a Fair Trade group?

Fair Trade means that manufacturers like ME work with a group of people in an under developed country or community to manufacture clothing for a fair price. This way of producing garments is great, but it wasn’t as easy to do when we started MAJAMAS. We already had a healthy, happy relationship with our contractors long before Fair Trade became more accessible to clothing companies.

That aside, just because something is made using Fair Trade doesn’t always mean it’s best for the environment. The pro is giving people in an under-served community a decent living, but ensuring our environmental standards are maintained would be more difficult for us due to the distance. In addition, we’d be using more fuel to ship our finished goods back to the States. We must look at the cumulative environmental impact and right now, overseas manufacturing for us wouldn’t benefit the planet even though it could slightly benefit us financially.

4. Why use everything made in the States? Can’t ya get it cheaper from somewhere else?

I’m sounding like a broken record here, but honestly all our vendors are like family to us. Our elastic supplier has been shipping us elastic for 20 years. He works hard to get us the highest quality for the lowest cost and is always protecting our business. Same goes for our label supplier, our eco-friendly bag supplier, our hang tag supplier, etc…

Who Made Your Clothes Quote

I’m sure there are plenty of wonderful organizations that would make us feel at home if we chose to move our production out of the States. I’m certain we’d be proud to support a group of people making our products by giving them a solid living wage, but we are already doing that by keeping our business in the States. MAJAMAS EARTH wouldn’t exist without the support of our talented sewers and gracious suppliers, and for them we are truly grateful.

The Picoli Short_Labyrinth_Lifestyle_SmallMoney isn’t the only reason for making a business decision. Don’t forget, we work in one of the highest polluting industries, second to oil, and for now, the only way to ensure we don’t contribute to that pollution is to keep our production in the States.

This way we know our fabrics are made without harming the planet and our production process is as clean as possible.

Yes, we could make a less expensive garment but at what cost to our planet?

Don’t get me wrong, just because clothing is made overseas doesn’t mean it’s always made irresponsibly. We just like knowing for sure that MAJAMAS EARTH truly is 100% responsibly MADE IN THE USA.

– Germaine Caprio, Company Owner & Designer


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What are your other favorite USA MADE brands, besides ME?

Please share your own thoughts with us – let’s get a conversation started in the comments below! Your comment may even win you a free MAJAMAS garment this week!

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