When I started my baby clothing and accessories company, Golly Gee Baby, I had no idea where it would take me. I stumbled upon the business almost by accident. I began sewing dresses and accessories for my first daughter and had so many people ask where they were from that I decided to start sewing and selling my designs.
Golly Gee Baby grew by leaps and bound the first couple of years I was in business. The demand soon outgrew my capacity to make the products by hand, and I knew that I had to start researching how to outsource my designs. My goal? I wanted my baby clothing and accessories designs to be manufactured by a fair trade manufacturing company. I wanted my products made ethically, in a way that I would be proud of.
The process of finding the perfect company to do this was very difficult. I'm so thankful we have the Internet, because I can't imagine doing all of my research without it! I Googled and e-mailed constantly for a few months, and finally found a few different manufacturing candidates in different parts of the world (Pakistan, Nicaragua, China) that claimed they could make my products ethically. I needed to find manufacturers willing to make smaller amounts of products.
I narrowed my choices to two different companies. I sent samples to each company, asked them to sign a non-disclosure contract for my patterns, they worked up samples and sent them back. I communicated via e-mail to the companies and used Google translate when needed. It was definitely challenging!
I ended up choosing a wonderful little fair trade co-op in Nicaragua to manufacture my Golly Gee Baby products. The women there captured my heart, and I was happy with how they made my pieces.
After researching import and export laws, clothing label laws, the least expensive method of shipping from Canada to Nicaragua and vice versa, and many more details required in setting up a business like this, I sent off my first round of supplies to the co-op.
After a few months, I received my very fist manufactured order. It was such a thrill to open up the boxes at the airport and see my designs manufactured by a fair trade co-op!
I've since ordered twice more from the co-op and have learned so much along the way. I've made several mistakes -- including some that were costly in money and time -- but with each misstep I've learned so much more. I'm so happy to say that I accomplished this goal which seemed so unattainable only a couple of years ago. Knowing this was possible makes me incredibly excited to see what's next for me and for my companies!
This post is part of BlogHer's Goal, Accomplished editorial series, made possible by P & G Always Infinity.