Free Label is so proud to manufacture all our garments in Canada. We work very closely with our Vancouver based factory partners, and would love for you to get to know them too!
I sat down to chat with friend and colleague Ying. Ying and her husband Travis own Syte Industries - one of the factories we partner with to produce Free Label clothing. Ying and I often get swept away in conversation about the difficulties and joys of manufacturing in Canada. There is a lot of demand for Canadian made goods, but its not always easy to keep production local.
One of the reasons I love working with Syte is because every time I visit (at least once a week) it feels like all the employees are joking around and having a great time; it feels like coming home to family. I genuinely believe that clothes - these things we wear so close to our bodies - should be made by happy hands. And I'm telling you, the folks at Syte Industries are all smiles!
Read on for our interview with Ying.
Why did you decide to start a factory in Vancouver?
We originally launched a design and prototyping facility to compliment our offshore manufacturing business. Then we met so many amazing local brands (like Free Label!) and realized there is a manufacturing market here in Canada too. So we decided to move from offshore back to Vancouver, Canada. We are really proud of our made in Canada goods.
What are some of the challenges of owning and running a local factory?
The number one challenge is finding good machine operators for new technology machines. Experienced industrial sewers are all approaching their retirement age so there are not enough sewers to meet demand. Its also extremely expensive to rent factory property and operational costs are high. The monthly break even point is high.
How would you describe the working conditions for your workers?
We are one happy big family. Spend an afternoon here you will see :)
What are some goals you want to achieve this year? Or in the next 5 years?
To be honest, turning a profit would be great :) And we would also like to bring pattern making and product development in house within the next 5 years.
Is there anything else you would like our customers to know?
Your garments are made with passion and some of the most experienced hands in the business. Please support local brands and their manufacturers!