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Article: Why Sewn Where Sourced Matters

Sewing tools on a table. Scissors, thread, and a measuring tape.

Why Sewn Where Sourced Matters

At YALA, we are encouraged by the growing demand for transparency in business. We understand that many people, like us, want to know and feel good about what they support with their purchases.

We are committed to ensuring that the people making our products are paid fairly and taken care of. We ensure they are protected with safety regulations, oversight, training, and protective equipment. From an environmental perspective, we are dedicated to producing our sleepwear, bedding, and loungewear in a sustainable way that accounts for the protection and regeneration of natural resources. This commitment to social responsibility and sustainability is at the heart of everything we do.

Transparency in Business

Being transparent about our production methods can spur important and thought-provoking conversations that can be complex and nuanced. Unraveling perception from fact can get messy, but we are here for it! Still, we sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that sharing this kind of information isn’t all that interesting, and we don’t want to bore you.

But we are reminded by enthusiastic customer feedback that you do care about these things and appreciate learning more. In that spirit, we’d like to let you in on something we may have neglected to explain before. Our unique ‘Sewn where Sourced’ production footprint and why it matters.

Our Production Partnership is Strong

Here in Southern Oregon, we employ a small staff of nine people in a warehouse that houses our inventory, shipping, and offices, where we do product design, marketing, customer service, and US retail and wholesale distribution. But what keeps things running is a decades-long partnership with a family-run sewing factory in China and the twenty-five skilled, long-time employees who work there.
This partnership helps us achieve many of the ethical and sustainable standards we hold ourselves to, which is where our ‘Sewn where Sourced’ practice comes in. So, what does that mean? Let us break it down for you.

Sewn Where Sourced

After our bamboo is grown and harvested in the Shunan Bamboo Forest in China, it is chipped, processed into pulp, spun into yarn, and made into fabric nearby. That material is then dyed in a closed-loop system of a neighboring facility and sewn into clothing in Changshu City, China. The finished products ship to our warehouse in Southern Oregon, where retail and wholesale orders get processed for US distribution.

How is producing clothing in China beneficial? Even though YALA sleepwear, loungewear, and bedding are produced overseas, the entire process occurs within a relatively small footprint. And because that footprint lies within a single border, there are uniform wage and safety regulations across every step that are easy to monitor. We speak to our Head of Production in China every day.

US Made is Not Always

‘Made in the USA’ sounds enticing from an ecological footprint perspective, but this term can be deceiving. In reality, it is common for US-grown fibers to be shipped to Turkey to process into yarn, then sent to India to make into fabric, and finally shipped back to the US to be sewn and sold as a domestic product. Production steps can be spread out all over the globe in pursuit of the lowest end cost.

When this happens, not only does it require more fuel to move the raw materials and final product from place to place, but it also makes it more difficult to track how the workers in each region, managing each step, are being cared for and compensated. Are they being paid a fair and liveable wage? Are they working in safe conditions without being overworked?

Good Business Beyond Borders

This is why ‘Sewn where Sourced’ matters. Keeping a natural fiber’s entire manufacturing process from growth to finished product in a small radius reduces fuel and shipping materials. It ensures our products only cross the ocean once. It provides good jobs to the people who live in the region where our bamboo comes from so we are giving back to the area from which we source our raw material. It also ensures that wages, benefits, and safety regulations are uniformly in place for everyone involved in the process.

We won’t deny that producing garments overseas is a huge responsibility. It comes with its challenges, and we face skepticism that is not unfounded but often based on the worst examples. We always strive to learn from our mistakes, embrace new ideas, and improve. The global impact we have on the people who make our products and the environments that they live in will always be a guiding factor in how we do business.

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