Following our recent collaboration with Purnaa, we went behind the scenes to find out more about the processes behind the ethically sound social enterprise ….
1. Purnaa strives for ecologically sound business practices and strongly believes in leaving no trace. When sourcing your materials for a designer, do you find that generally the designers will be considerate of factors such as the air miles and processes such as dying, or do they have to put their budget first then source fabrics afterwords?
It varies on the customer but most are budget conscious and that comes first. New businesses and those that market themselves as ‘ethical fashion’ tend to ask more questions than others. We offer and suggest sustainable alternatives but currently the price difference is quite large and it can be very difficult for brands to make the most ethical decision. The customers that want environmentally sustainable fabrics usually already have something in mind or have chosen a specific fabric. Customers are concerned that there is no labour exploitation going on with the suppliers that we use, but no one has ever asked about air miles or C02 emissions. Brands often ask for information about the dyeing plants that we use, specifically whether our fabric is dyed responsibly or not (we don’t dye things in Kathmandu and only use reputable dyers in other countries). Another challenge is that sustainable materials aren’t rarely competitively priced in smaller quantities. But we do see some clients make the choice to pay the extra that is required to ensure a clean supply chain. We are adding a new feature on our website at the beginning of 2017 that will show our growing portfolio of sustainably and ethically sourced fabrics.
2. How do potential employees find you when coming from exploitative situations?
When we are ready to hire a new group we put the word out to different shelters and NGO’s that work with those coming from marginalized or exploited backgrounds. There are many word of mouth referrals from our employees to their friends and family as well.
3. Does Purnaa have any long term plans / goals for the future?
Yes! As a social enterprise, we gauge our success by the lives we impact. So we are reinvesting all of our profits to further the social mission of creating training and job opportunities for survivors of abuse, exploitation and those discriminated against because of caste, religion or disease.
As a sewing contractor:
- We are always working to improve our manufacturing processes so that we can provide efficient and excellent services to our clients.
- We are developing relationships with new ethical fabric and materials suppliers so that we can offer even more options to our clients to manufacture ethically.
- A Portfolio of Ethically Sourced, Environmentally friendly fabrics is being created and will be shown on our website soon.
- And we are looking to add some new partnerships with brands who share our commitment to the ethical treatment of people and the environment. It’s exciting to be a part of this movement!
Fashion is a form for change. Like their story and design ethos? You can buy Purnaa from their UK based online store Katbamboo here.