It will take 2,600 years for us to make as many products as a Fast Fashion company makes in one year.
The unsustainability of fast fashion brands is no secret. They pay below poverty wages to churn out over 800 million garments a year and their executives are becoming the richest people in the world, making a garment worker’s lifetime pay in just 4 days. Their contribution to overconsumption is leading to over 13 million tons of textile waste being incinerated or landfilled every year.
We aim to be the antithesis of fast fashion. We only create 300,000 total units a year, and our company pays above minimum wage (with 401k and health-care benefits) to every employee; our highest paid worker makes only three times as much as our lowest paid worker. Anything we can’t sell is stored (stay tuned for a sneak peak of our Renew program at the end of 2019) or donated (over the past several years we have donated over $165k in products to communities impacted by the devastating fires across our state and $.5 million in total to various schools and community centers).
We want to be honest with you though: if we were to completely commit to sustainability, we wouldn’t be making a product anymore. Maybe the challenges of the climate crisis and growing inequity will, in fact, push us to that end someday. As a small family(women!)-owned and run business, the truth is we’ve come close.
But today, the way we make our product with care for people and planet, and the authentic desire to do better, are the best commitment to sustainability we can make. We’re thankful to be among the many businesses striking, that are looking beyond profit to the impacts we have on our communities, both local and global.
Being local and small batch
Over the past two decades, we have been committed to a local, community-based, manufacturing supply chain. It began with the same cut and sew vendors our founder, Kathleen, worked with when she was a young designer for Jessica McClintock. As these Bay Area vendors have moved into retirement, our company is committed to maintaining transparency in our manufacturing by bringing cut and sew operations in-house. To make this possible, we’re investing in training employees that have been with us for years, rather than seeking out low-cost manufacturing abroad.
Our dye house is right down the street from where we cut, sew, assure quality and work together as a small family business. As two women-run, multi-generational companies, we’ve worked together for over 20 years. Our artisanal dye process starts with hand-mixing our unique color palette and garment dying in small batches to order. We believe in conscious luxury and make sure to use only non-hazardous and non-toxic dyes, as well as hypoallergenic softening agents for you and your family’s health.
These values have been inherent to our business all along. Our employees and vendor partners are part of a decades-long family endeavor to preserve a passion for color and craftsmanship. In an age of mechanized perfection, we delight in each Bella Notte piece being one-of-a-kind and artisan crafted.
Our pledge to do better
Here’s where we’re really going to get honest: we are not there yet. We’ve even been hesitant to step out and make any claim about sustainability, but we’d rather bring you along on the journey than wait to wrap everything up in a bow. As part of our continued action beyond the climate strike today, we’re committing to updating you on the following projects in the new year:
- Creating transparency down to the mill level, sourcing with responsible purchasing practices for human rights and environmental impact.
- Moving away from conventional cotton and linen to organic options and exploring alternatives to rayon based silk velvets and blends.
- Moving forward on zero waste and circularity to take extended producer responsibility of the full life cycle of our products.
- Measuring and reducing the impact of our operations through continuous improvement of facilities and resource usage.
- Joining leaders in the sector to create industry change and broad accessibility to sustainable home textiles.
Thank you for taking the journey with us.
- Bella Notte Linens