ARNA work and laptop bags - How it's made
Knowing how, where and who makes our bags is incredibly important to us and sharing as much information as possible with you is also paramount.
So here's what we learned on our visit to our manufacturing partners in Qingdao, China.
Our factory partners are Interfashion Sung Chang group who manufacture bags only and are a privately owned company. Originally, owned by a Korean based company. More recently, 75% of the business was purchased by a local Chinese family and 25% is still owned by the Korean company.
Not only do they manufacture for some of the worlds major, high-end brands but they design their own ranges, manufacture and then retail them directly within the Asian markets.
Information about their staff:
- They have 800 staff at the moment across the manufacturing, finance, admin, sales and design.
- They used to have 2000 staff but this has changed due to the retail climate slowing down and the tariffs introduced by the USA to China. This increased duties and taxes for USA based businesses when ordering from Chinese Suppliers.
- Staff at Interfashion Sung Chang work Monday - Friday 8am - 6pm. Occasionally during peak periods the staff will be asked to work a Saturday as well.
- They will all take time off over Chinese New Year and again in October for a local festival.
- All of the staff live quite close by to where they work, many catching the bus that the company provides for them.
This is the room where they a refining leather edges to make them easy to sew or glue together.
This is the room where they are cutting materials through machinery.
This is the area where they press branding into leather parts of bags like little labels.
This is a machine where they recoat or paint some materials and set them on the handles of the bags they make.
The sewing room.
- The average wage of a staff member working in the production side of the factory is between 3000 - 5000 Chinese Yen. The minimum wage across China varies but starts at about 2000 Yen. This is the equivalent of about $800 - $1000 AUD per month.
- The cost of living here in Qingdao is about 4000 yen per month minimum. Which is about $900 AUD per month.
- They hand make the bags in combination with using new technology and machinery.
- They use a variety of materials from full grain leathers, suede, mixed leathers, PU, Pinatex, recycled leathers, canvas, cottons, paper 'leather' and many more.
- They work with another local factory to create custom hardware for each customer.
- They source their materials from all over the world, including New Zealand, Australia, Italy and also using local tanners in China as well.
This is a new leather cutting machine they use.
The rainbow of colours they use for stitching.
Some of the storage where materials are kept once inspected for their quality.
How you get to choose your materials for your bags.
- The manufacturing safety requirements are checked regularly and certified at Interfashion Sung Chang.
- People where closed shoes
- Floor markings are clear
- New machinery is used and upgraded
Wastage and sustainability
- Interfashion Sung Chang group have been working with local tanners for many years selling back all of their leather wastage and off cuts to create recycled leathers.
- No leather goes to waste here.
- The process of creating recycled leathers includes a mix of the tanners of cuts when first cutting the leather and the offcuts from many factories in the area.
- They bind the many leather pieces together using a chemical process.
- They then coat the leather in PU making it a mixed leather product but where every little scrap is used up and can be made into a new bag, wallet or pair of shoes.
The staff who work at Interfashion Sung Chang have often worked there for longer than a decade. Most excitingly, their General Manager, known as Miss Zhao has worked there for 20 years and was promoted from a Production Manager into her role to oversee the whole business.
When we discussed women in leadership roles with the team, they were really positive about seeing changes in China and more women taking on these roles. They also felt that in the fashion industry it was really important and that often women would do a better job leading these businesses.
While nothing is ever perfect, we will always strive to find partners that provide safe, fair working environments for their people. If something arises with that partner that we feel isn't quite right we will work with them to amend or fix this. We are really excited and happy to be working with Interfashion Sung Chang group to bring you the most beautifully made work and laptop bags.