Thanks to all of those who gave their advice. I actually came up
with the idea after visiting some of the larger boutiques in my town
and then definitely decided to pursue it after reading on Orchid
about how someone’s friend decided to have her products manufactured
in Asia, so that she could focus full-time on marketing her
products. Also, I have friends who work for major design houses in
the fashion industry and have observed people who own large to
mid-size jewelry concerns – to be very honest, most of these people
source their gems in Asia or in other countries as opposed to buying
through American middlemen – and many of them even have all of
their designs made in Asia.
I am lucky enough to live in a city with many businesses and I have
quickly realized that getting in touch with them will be a full-time
job. At this stage of my business, I am not in a position to take on
another employee. This is a crushingly expensive city, where
apartment rents of $3,000 a month or more are not unheard of. I
would not want someone else to be dependent on me financially at
this stage of my business. It simply would not be fair to them. As
it grows, then, yes, I will be willing to take on more employees.
Manufacturing in Asia will definitely help me to grow, as I
definitely do not have the space for a bench or to store gobs of
inventory. Space can cost $100 or more per foot in my town.
I am definitely concerned about the welfare of the workers who make
my jewelry. That is why I asked if anyone had had positive
experiences with manufacturers in Asia, as I would like to work with
someone who pays their workers a fair wage. I am even willing to pay
a little bit extra so that these workers are paid fairly. I
definitely believe in fair trade and would be happy to do what I can
to help with the development of a Third World country.
This is not to say that all countries in Asia are Third World. I am
aware that some of them, like Singapore are quite developed. This
leads me to another point: It is doing a disservice to Asia to
assume that all of its countries are underdeveloped with massive
corruption and such a lack of rule of law that its workers will
DEFINITELY be abused. While this is sadly the case in many
instances, it is not always the case. Abuses can happen in the US
and there are many sweatshops in my own city. I have believe that I
have personally witnessed this in the studio of one very famous
jewelry designer that I shall not name. It was clear that this
designer was using cheap labour to produce pieces that I have seen
in major fasion magazines and on Hollywood stars. This designer’s
jewelry is featured in many high fashion magazines and this designer
is almost certainly a millionaire. I know that I honestly cannot
afford to produce the designs that I want to produce in the United
States by myself. And I refused to pay someone lower than the
minimum wage, whether it is in this country or another country. I
know that the cost of living is cheaper in Asia and materials are
cheaper there, that is why I want to manufacture there.
For those of you who have concerns about the conditions of workers
there, have you done any research on companies that treat workers
well? If so, please feel free to share this with me by emailing me.
I am definitely interested in this.
Anyone who has had experiences with Asian manufacturers and knows of
reputable companies, please feel free to email me as well.