When we first started our business we wanted to produce domestically as both a means to employ workers at home and make our operations more efficient. Hence, we scoured the web and contacted over 20 US leather goods manufacturers to see if they could craft our wallets. To our dismay, we quickly realized that only manufacturers abroad could produce our goods given the techniques and machinery needed to craft our wallets. At that point we were in a dilemma, and had to ask ourselves- "Do we produce abroad or scratch this whole recess idea?"
Our fear at the time was that producing abroad would be a metaphorical "Scarlett Letter" on our business, since overseas manufacturing has become nearly synonymous with being anti-American. Therefore, you can imagine our hesitation with manufacturing abroad. But, we couldn’t give up the idea of recess because we believed deep within our bones that we had a great product, and we could make a difference.
So we decided with trepidation, that if we were going to start recess and rely on overseas production, we were going to do it the right way. But, “what is the right way?” we asked ourselves. To us, it meant finding partners who buy into our dream of raising the standard of living for all workers who come into contact with our goods. It meant, personally staying at the factory during production to ensure that workers are treated ethically. It meant, becoming friends with the people crafting our goods, and seeing them as people and not machines. It meant, developing a long-term vision to one day produce domestically, and own our own factory abroad once we have enough working capital. These are just a few examples in what we consider doing things the right way, and we’re still working to become even better global citizens.
Ultimately, we take great pride in ensuring that our products are ethically and responsibly produced. And through the process of building recess, we've come to realize that the notion of all production abroad = bad, and all production in the US = good is overly simplistic and naive. From our perspective there is no "Red Country or Blue Country, but a United World", and it’s our responsibility to help others where we can.
p.s. This is a great TED talk on this topic. https://www.ted.com/talks/leslie_t_chang_the_voices_of_china_s_workers
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