Colombian Manufactory

COLOMBIA

History – Colombian Manufactory

The cooperation with the colombian manufactory was established in 1987 on the basis of labour agreements regulated by law and on the basis of jobs subject to social security in contrast to the usual and widely spread migratory labour in this region. As a result of these guidelines, most of the workers of our South American partner have been with the company for more than 20 years – a fact that guarantees profound and sustainable know-how and thus high quality of the products.

The leather applied comes from the surrounding regions in South America. The same applies to the cattle, which live in the nature in South America and not in barns as most of the animals in Europe do.

The metal parts and linings feature a high level of impenetrability and tear resistance and are as well part of our local supply concept.
Taking the above into consideration, the eco-balance of the products is marvellous although the products are finally transported across the Atlantic.
2002 Begin of the cooperation with dothebag. The bags of this trademark are designed by Olaf Schroeder and Sabine Wald, who are professional designers. This cooperation combines extraordinary design, traditional skills, and technical know-how. With dothebag the colombian production learned how to apply traditional workmanship on modern and puristic designs. The bags and other products of this trademark are shown on www.dothebag.de

The colombian production is an independent manufactory. It produces the Harold’s Concept and dothebag line. Additionally it is making the bag collection for two other american brands.

Material & Quality – Colombian Manufactory

South America is famous for its expressive leather. Traditionally the animal skins are processed as naturally as possible. The raw material is still visible in the products, for example in the form of the grains that have developed during the course of the animal’s life. South American cattle mainly live outdoors all year round in wide open areas, usually high up in the mountains away from civilisation. They feed on the natural grasses so that the fibre structure of their skin is more balanced and expressive on the surface, but still has little scars or bites as evidence of their life stories. This means each piece of leather has a unique grain giving each bag an individual character. The individuality of each skin can only be brought out in the product if the production is mainly done manually. “Hecho a Mano” is what the Colombians call this process.

In line with standard practice in Colombia, our producer in Bogota only uses materials from the immediate surrounding area for the bags. The cattle are slaughtered nearby and the skins, which are the waste products of the food industry, are also tanned in the vicinity. The other components such as fittings and yarns are also purchased locally. Very occasionally, certain components with special quality characteristics are exported into Columbia in order to satisfy our very high demands of the finished product. Incidentally, our Columbian partners are also very successful at selling our bags in their own country. So some of our products are not only made locally but also reach their final destination in the region.

Working conditions – Colombian Manufactory

The factory has 92 employees and most have been working there for over twenty years. They are all paid a wage, i.e. there is no piecework.
The workers are insured as follows: Health insurance (EPS), an industrial insurance (accident insurance), pension insurance, Caja de compensacion (unemployment insurance, housing allowance, family allowance).

The workers receive employment contracts with terms of at least 1 year. The employment contracts and the wages fixed in the contracts must be fulfilled in all cases. The Employer is not allowed to terminate the contracts prematurely. There are also many safety regulations for the factory.

The regular working week is 48 hours (8.5 hours on weekdays and 5.5 hours on Saturdays). Holiday: 30 (15 are paid). This is usually taken around Christmas. Together with other public holidays around this time, the plant remains closed for 5 weeks from mid-December to mid-January.

The insurance schemes mentioned cannot be compared with similar schemes in Germany, but they offer stable working conditions in comparison to the conditions of migratory labour which is very common in the leather goods industry. The working conditions (noise, distance, hygiene) match European standards, as does the quality of the machines which are mainly imported from Europe (sewing machines, punches etc.). Salsa music is played during working hours.

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