Since our launch we have been lucky enough to work with an amazing family owned business in Sri Lanka, whose skilled machinists sew the AWWA period proof underwear!
With eighteen seamstresses in the business as well as the management team, this means that your purchase of AWWA benefits at least 20 families - each pair is worked on by eighteen people!
Michele and Kylie were so excited to visit the manufacturer and see for themselves how the business runs. It is really important to us all that we understand the work conditions that the AWWA machinists have for ourselves, and Michele and Kylie were welcomed so beautifully!
Kylie told us how close the group are:
"We got told over and again that everyone in the business are like a family! They all work closely together and have lunch together every day. The machinists are welcomed into the home of the owners and have a close relationship with them. This was evident when we visited the workers and spent the morning with them."
The workers are all paid a fair wage, and receive medical cover as part of their employment.
On a personal level, it was easy to see that the manufacturer has created a kind, supportive work environment - and the machinists are excited to be making a revolutionary new product.
Kylie and Michele had an amazing morning with all of the machinists and as owners of the brand, it was incredible to see the care that the women take with every pair of underwear they hand make.
"It was such an honour and privilege to visit Sri Lanka and meet with all the workers who are making our business dreams a reality. We expressed our utmost gratefulness to them, because without them we would not have a business. We recognise and understand that every person in the whole supply chain is an important link and we expressed how valuable and important they are to us and our success." - Kylie
Michele and Kylie learned that due to the tourism boom in Sri Lanka over the past 10 years it has been harder to find workers who want to enter the textiles/sewing industry, as the preference has become working in hotels or restaurants. This means that it is good business sense as well as the right thing to do, to ensure that workers are paid a fair wage - on par with, if not better than the hotel industry - to ensure that skilled workers are found and retained.
Unemployment rates in Sri Lanka are very low at 4.7% (first quarter 2019), making their employment levels on par with NZ, and creating a competitive employment environment.
Our manufacturer has the opportunity to expand its operations into the north of Sri Lanka, to help boost the economy and offer meaningful employment to people living in that region. As tourism is not such a big industry in the north, they are looking to bring new manufacturing jobs to a conflict-torn area. (The Sri Lankan Civil War went on for over 20 years and resulted in a large number of deaths and displacements.)
Kylie and Michele found Sri Lanka to be an incredible country!
Kylie said "The people are so kind and generous, everyone has a smile on their face and wants to help. The food is really amazing!! The warm weather was great, and we tagged on some holiday time in the beach town of Arugam Bay where we learned to surf and did yoga... so much fun!"