MADE IN CHINA has a negative stigma attached to it. I won't beat around the bush. But have you have ever stopped to ask WHY? Have you visited the factories yourself and met the people to come to that conclusion? The reality is that less than 1% of clothing sold in the US is MADE IN THE US. Whether you like it or not, there is a good chance (a very good chance) that something you are wearing right now was MADE IN CHINA.
I challenge you to change the narrative when you hear MADE IN CHINA product(s) and instead of grimacing when you hear those three words - compile the questions that make you uneasy and ask THOSE instead.
When I first had the idea to create a towel using the hemp fiber - it happened in China. It happened in China because they are the leaders in hemp textiles. It happened because there was simply no one else who could compete costing, transparency, quality, performance wise on the planet. It happened because I made a promise to you the owner of the towel to partner with the very best in the world that met our standards - and those partners? Well, they just so happen to live in China.
I have never been afraid to work in China because my previous jobs at Under Armour and prAna involved working in China A LOT. Anywhere (including product made in the United States) where you don't own the factory involves risk. Period.
To combat that risk, the textile industry adopted a Code of Conduct, which is based off of the International Labor Organization's standards. Industry protocol is to audit against that code in factories where your products are made to ensure those standards are met. China is no different.
There is still a lot of room for improvement in social and environmental standards for the textile industry, which is why I started Anact. To take you behind the scenes, to understand the people and the process and to be able to use your dollar to buy from the brands that are raising the bar and pushing the textile industry forward - not backwards.
I recently went to visit our partners in China from the farmers, to the yarn spinners to the factory owners of where your towels are woven. I believe it was my responsibility as the founder of Anact and a believer of knowing where your product comes from to meet with every person who makes your towel. We spent 70+ hours of travel time, several translators and open minds to understand the process from start to finish, the social and environmental impact and more. It was also very important for me to build up the relationship as global partners and share the vision for Anact.
For those of you who might be wondering about the recent US-China trade war. Here's the impact. When I import a towel in from China, I receive an HTS code, which is short for a Harmonized Tariff Schedule code. This code dictates the amount of duty that I will pay to import product into the US. The current duty for the towel is 2.7%. The US Trade of Representatives is responsible for updating the tariff schedules on their website so that business owners like myself know how this will impact our bottom line. Due to the recent tweets, USTR have been unable to keep up with the changes. Therefore, I proceed forward with the notion that my duty will be 2.7%, prepare for a potential margin hit because I don't believe that passing the cost along to you is acceptable and make sure that I stay on top of industry lobbying efforts to mitigate the impact. After all, I'm just a little guy in all of this who hasn't even really gotten started! And just so you know, that is business 101 for anyone who imports whether it is China, Australia or Canada.
That's all for now from me, folks! As we prepare for the September 3rd launch date - there are more things to do then my brain can digest. I hope that my first official blog post on our new website shed a little more information about where your towel was made, the work we are doing to make sure it is made safely and ethically and dispel some of the misconceptions on MADE IN CHINA product.
If you have any questions - I'd love to hear from you below and don't forget to follow us @anactglobal and sign-up for our e-newsletter!