China manufacturing - I’ve visited the factory making FERRON bags

At FERRON, we believe in being open and honest in the way we do business and operating in a fair and sustainable manner. We are transparent.

There are a handful of luxury handbag brands that produce their bags in Europe. It is safe to say, however, that the majority of brands outsource elsewhere. And I’m absolutely not using it as an excuse for my brand’s handbags being produced in China. I’m actually quite proud and couldn’t be more excited about FERRON’s extended team over in Guangzhou. And I want to make sure that you, as a customer, are fully informed on where your goods are coming from. I would encourage you to review your favourite brands’ pages to learn more about their policy.

​Many luxury fashion brands started investing in production outside of China, particularly in Vietnam and Bangladesh, where safety issues persist years after two workplace accidents killed more than 1,000 workers. Manpower is much cheaper in South and Southeast Asia, working conditions are questionable, to say the least, and everything is mass produced. 

FERRON handbags are cruelty-free and sustainably made in the sweatshop free environment. The factory is a small, family owned business based in Guangzhou, one of the richest provinces of China, and it has one of the highest purchasing power in the world hence the workers are paid significantly higher wages to cover their living expenses.

Why do we manufacture in China?

Here, at FERRON, we listen to what the customers' needs are, we offer pre-orders option and chose to have more sustainable inventory model than a regular fashion brand. Nothing is ever mass produced for FERRON-  our handbags come to life in a small batch runs to prevent us from facing one of the biggest issues prevailing in the fashion world - unsold stock! 

Nonetheless, we try to get the products to the market as quickly and as efficiently as possible. China is one of those markets that meets our requirements at the lowest rates and maintain international competitiveness. Outsourcing in China enables FERRON to cut operating costs. Having said that, we make sure that the whole factory is run with a fair labour, social justice and sustainability mission

Outsourcing production allows us to get to market sooner than if we had to build our own factory, acquire equipment and hire employees. In addition, it brings production closer to Asian and European markets, which is ideal as the goal for FERRON is to expand our global footprint and improve our business growth. The Asian market is growing at an incredible rate!

Impressions from my visit to the factory

We’ve been producing our bags in this beautiful country since the day we started, but this was my first visit and I was looking forward to meeting people that I’m in touch with on a regular basis, getting a better understanding about some of the challenges and opportunities that are inherent to FERRON handbags production. 

I wanted to say hi and spend some time with people that help me make my dream come true! And there’s nothing better than face to face meeting whilst sipping their traditional tea.

visit to China, traditional Chinese tea drinking

It’s an interesting feeling, traveling such a long way to visit the origins of something that has been so much a part of the business over the last couple of years! 

I’m not sure what I expected and had in mind going over to China but I definitely wasn’t expecting to see what I have seen! 

Working conditions at the factory

I was absolutely amazed by the working conditions in the factory! The factory is placed quite closely to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. It’s a two floor building. The workshop is based on the first floor- it’s an open plan room, very spacious, clean and bright. Everyone has their own designated workspace. I didn’t expect to see is how automated and advanced some of the work stations are! 

Factory where FERRON bags are produced

For example, there’s an airport luggage-alike-carousel that moves with the touch of a button and distributes various parts of the bag (and I promise you, there are a lot of separate parts that need to be sewn together for FERRON handbag to look the way it does!). This means that the employee does not have to be walking from one station to another whenever they need something!

The ground floor is the employees’ canteen where they can rest and eat the food prepared for them by an in-house chef. Yes, you read it right! Just outside of the building, there’s this little annex converted to the factory’s kitchen, where the freshly made food is served to the employees daily. The surroundings of the factory is beautiful too. There’s a little garden where everyone is welcome to take their break.

Garden and FERRON's factory employees' canteen

The whole factory is vegan, you will not find any animal derived products in there, no animal-based glues or stitching! It’s a family owned business that pays fair wages, medical insurance and offers regular working hours (8 hours with 1 hour compulsory lunch break). I want to build on that and use that ethical model as I move forward.

Who makes FERRON bags

FERRON bags come to life thanks to an amazing bunch of people! I was told that our Signature Crossbody Bag is the second of the most difficult handbags that were ever made on their site! I take it as a compliment, so does my team at the factory. We all like the challenge! 

As I mentioned earlier, the factory is a family owned business that employs only experienced and professional craftsmen that are amazing at what they do! I was privileged to have seen them in “action” and I have nothing but a lot of admiration for the superb work they do and willingness to take this difficult project on. 

There's so much that goes on for the handbag to come into existence and I’m not going to go into too much detail. However, I want to  use this opportunity to thank my colleagues that I dearly appreciate and feel very fortunate to cross my path. There are a number of people that make sure FERRON bespoke quality is achieved. And I’m thankful for all of them. The below are just a few that are significantly important to me. 

Thank you Anderson, for not only being my first point of contact, friend, business advisor,  but also a tour guide during my recent visit! We both said that it feels as if we’ve known ourselves forever. Probably due to lengthy WeChat conversations that we have pretty much every day!  Anderson calls me “older sister”(yes, yes, I’m 10 days older!!). 

Thank you Juan, the production manager, for being very diligent and thorough, overseeing every single step of the production process. Juan never rushes through, his attention to details is uncanny!  

 

Loretta, one of FERRON's factory worker holding "I made your bag" signThanks to Loretta, for assembling individual pieces, and doing it with a smile. She’s really passionate about bags, and it really shows. Loretta’s been with the company for nearly 10 years now. 

Thanks to Bruce, a quality assurance manager, to triple checking my bags before marking it “complete”. You’re the best! Can’t wait to see you again!

 

As I now sit at home, on my sofa, whilst sipping a genuine Chinese green tea (gifted- Anderson’s Mum made it!), I started to realise just how important trust, relationship and dialogue is for maintaining any collaboration. And I’m happy to say that these aspects are definitely met when it comes for FERRON outsourcing in China.

  

 

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