You'll hear us say it over and over again: SHOP LOCAL AND SUPPORT MADE IN CANADA MANUFACTURING! But why? What does shopping local really mean? Most importantly, why does made in Canada really matter? This week on the blog, Local Laundry Co-Owner Dustin Paisley talks Canadian manufacturing.
It's a bit like Christmas morning when that box finally arrives. You ordered a sweater online last week and when it finally arrives, you're super excited to open it! Yes, last week, not last night. You throw it on – it's just as comfortable as you thought and, it looks great. You bet, it's one of Local Laundry's latest local crewnecks. You confidently walk out the door feeling pumped about your new look. You can't wait to show off the crisp, stylish new addition to your wardrobe to your family, friends and coworkers.
What you didn't think about, however, was how that garment came to be, and how it made it's way to you. This is the ugly side of consumerism that we don't think about. Our new toys, clothes and anything available online just shows up in a box as quick as the next day. No care for where it came from, how it was made, or what it was made of, not to mention the conditions of those who helped assemble and create the product. And when we say ugly side, we mean it's really ugly.
Co-Owners Dustin Paisley and Connor Curran visit Toronto warehouse.
When we first started Local Laundry, we were no different. We ordered product from a warehouse in Canada or the US, had it printed locally and shipped it to our customers. But the more we learned about how our clothes were made, the more we struggled with producing more and more of them. Although we always chose to work with factories that were certified and held to a higher standard than most, there was still underlying issues of jobs, production and that our money was going overseas when it could have made more of an impact here locally. In addition to that, Canada holds a much higher environmental and labour standard for its produced goods. For many reasons, in addition to the ones suggested above, we made the obvious switch to manufacture all of our products right here in Canada.
When a garment is produced here in Canada, Canadian workers are all paid a fair wage and work in an environment that has highly regulated working conditions meant to ensure a plethora of safety concerns are met. The consumers' dollars are spent supporting a local factory, that employs local workers, and buys goods and services from local suppliers, spends their earnings and profits in the local community, and generally, helps to diversify our ever fragile economy.
Support made in Canada and support Canadian jobs and Canadian workers.
Unfortunately for the local Canadian garment manufacturers, over 80% of textile and clothing consumed in Canada is being made overseas. Aside from the fact that this money is leaving the country, the problem is that these dollars are voting to support factories that may not support any type of fair wage, do not adhere to ethical environmental standards, and ultimately will most likely benefit individuals who are driven solely by profit without regard for their people, or our planet.
When we really take a look at our own company as an example, this has severe consequences as the garment industry is one of the highest polluting industries in the world. This comes from a combination of reasons, such as high water use, high emission factories, chemicals and toxic materials and dies, among other issues. Diving deeper into the water usage, the typical ratio for water to garment is 20:1, meaning if your sweater is 1 ounce, it requires 20 ounces to produce. While this is typical, our Canadian partners have invested in equipment efficiencies that have reduced that ratio down to 5:1. With a 75% reduction in water usage, that environmental impact adds up quickly with water savings.
Dustin and Connor learn more about how Local Laundry's garments are made.
In addition to the environmental impact and the influence that transitioning to Canadian-made clothing has had on people, product lifecycle is another extremely important factor that we've become quite passionate about. Canadian-made products are typically more expensive for all of the factors listed above, HOWEVER, it ultimately equates to a higher quality product that lasts way longer! Unlike the other side of the spectrum which is typically caused by race to the bottom pricing, the consumer can get a much lower quality product for fraction of the cost. Ultimately, clothing that is produced in Canada translates to a better quality product that lasts and unlike lower quality garments that end up in the landfill far sooner.
Here's our challenge to you: next time you open up that box or throw on that new tee in the store, check the label. Understand what you're buying, where it's coming from, and what business practice and ethics you're supporting when you purchase that piece of clothing. It just might surprise you! In the same way it would surprise you how many Canadian made products are out there as alternatives.
The best decision Local Laundry ever made was making the change to Canadian manufacturing!
As we always say, drink local beer, eat local food, and wear local clothes!