BEHIND EVERY BELT IS
Unbelts exists to create flexible, fairly-paid sewing jobs - and to partner with conscientious component suppliers who pay living wages and value long-term employee relationships as highly as we do. Read on to meet our key suppliers.
Our Edmonton sewing studio
Our Edmonton studio was born in 2017 to support the launch of our second-ever product: the Intrepid Unbelt. We discovered that, by cutting and sewing Intrepids in Edmonton, we could respond in real-time to customer demand - and grow our circularity initiatives. The YEG studio became our “belt hospital” that allowed us to introduce a lifetime warranty, and has served as our prototyping lab for upcycled Unbelts Loop products.
Ms. Ou’s sewing studio
A woman in the driver’s seat and a team built of her ambitious neighbours, many of whom are family: we loved Ms. Ou’s story from the get-go, and worked with her on our Classic belts until 2023. She made it possible for us to launch our award-winning cloth masks within three weeks of lockdown in early 2020, and helped us develop and manufacture our Best-Ever Laundry and Wet Bags.
We deliberately call Ms. Ou's Zhongshan, Guangdong enterprise a studio instead of a factory because of its cozy scale - about 20 employees - and the closeness of her team, all of whom hail from Ms. Ou's home village.
We've modelled our Edmonton sewing studio policies after Ms. Ou's; on both sides of the ocean, all sewists receive living wages and flexible schedules.
Lydia’s buckle factory
Lydia and Claire met in 2011, when Lydia was working for Unbelts’ first buckle supplier in Shanghai. Claire liked Lydia’s direct communication style and problem-solving spirit - so when Lydia set out to start her own factory a few years later, Unbelts followed.
Lydia’s flexibility with Unbelts' minimum order requirements has made it possible for us to try new buckle colours and styles with lower risk and potential waste. Lydia’s factory is, like our other component suppliers, located in Dongguan, Guangdong province, in south China.
Mr. Wang's Elastic Factory
Our Intrepid belt spent two years in development, mostly because of the difficulty we had finding an elastic supplier willing to use recycled PET yarn in their knitting machines. When we found Mr. Wang and toured his factory, we liked what we saw: employees who had been working there for years, not months; a bright canteen serving two meals a day; a clean, dust-free workspace; and a whole team devoted just to quality-checking finished elastic. We’ve worked with him ever since.
Mr. Yeung’s label and packaging factory
When you meet a factory owner who’s built an organic garden on his rooftop for employee use, you take a second look. Mr. Yeung and his team print our belts’ organic cotton care tags, embosses our Intrepids’ secret money pockets, and weaves our Classics’ phrase labels. Since we started working with him in 2016, he has also expanded into packaging production, and prints our Classics’ paper packaging components.