Manufacturing in China
Most of our accessories (hair accessories, sheer socks, pins and some jewelry) are made in China. Chinese manufacturing is the victim of many stereotypes and often has a bad reputation. That’s why we feel the need to explain that choice and to deconstruct some misconceptions we hear on a regular basis by giving you more information about our cellulose acetate accessories manufacturer.
What does “Made in China” mean ?
The “Made in China” had a bad reputation for a while because of several scandals involving working conditions - especially child labor - and the quality of products considered as lower compare to other countries.
However, local requirements in terms of working conditions have strengthened significantly in the last few years. Also, the quality of products is now much better. Thanks to their massive workforce and the investments they benefited from the early 2000’s, China kept and improved skills other countries lost - especially regarding cellulose acetate, the material we use in many of our creations.
You can read our article about cellulose acetate if you want to know more about this material and the way we use it.
Of course we are aware some problems still remain in some factories and we care deeply about offering products made in the best conditions. Besides popular belief, manufacturing in China does not mean work conditions are going to be worse than in a European country. On the other hand, manufacturing in Europe does not always guarantee good working conditions.
So we made the choice to focus on the quality of the factories instead of their location.
How did we select this factory ?
We selected with care the factory that has been manufacturing our creations since 2019. It is located in the Jinhua area, East China (near Shanghai). We picked this supplier for several reasons.
First, they are experts in cellulose acetate, which allows us to be very creative, make our own colors and make our wildest ideas come to life.
Besides, they have very precise skills regarding cellulose acetate and their work is of a very high standard, which is what we need when we want to sell long lasting creative accessories with beautiful details.
Several steps of the manufacturing process are hand-made (gluing, polishing, adding the ink). They require precision and expertise. If you want to know everything about the production stages of the acetate accessories, you can read the article.
Here is our Grappe hair claw getting the ink details added during production and the final result:
Last but not least, the cellulose acetate factory we work with has been audited and certified ISO 9001, Ca65 Compliance et REACH Compliance. In real terms, it means the products and materials used are of good quality.
What kind of relationship do we have with our supplier ?
The working conditions of our supplier’s employees are really important to us. We work with this team since we offer cellulose acetate accessories (2019). A trust relationship built over the years and we maintain a continuous dialog with them. We make them grow with us and couldn’t be prouder. The factory hired around 60 new workers between 2021 and 2022 just to keep the Coucou Suzette’s creations going (thanks to you!).
Besides, we chose to keep reasonable margins on our products so the workers can have decent wages.
We are very happy with this partnership and hope it will last. This factory provides high quality work and allows us to offer the original and colorful creations we dream about.
What about the shipping of the products ?
We are aware that Chinese manufacturing leads to a higher carbon footprint due to transportation. To lower this impact, we group our shipments as much as possible, and we sometimes go for slower shipping by boat, truck or train.
However, Coucou Suzette being a small business with limited stock, it can be uneasy for us to wait for at least a month between the production release and the receipt of our creations. In a society where shipment gets quicker everyday and where products are always available, we try to increase awareness on these topics among our clients.
Is there no alternative in Europe or in France?
We already tried to find European and French factories but it turned out to be difficult to find a balance between what we wanted to do and the result they could achieve. Their skills are different from the Chinese ones and don’t match for now the Coucou Suzette world for several reasons.
Most European factories that could actually produce the creations we wanted use acrylic, a chemical material made from petroleum, much more toxic for the environment than cellulose acetate.
Some others do use cellulose acetate but are specialized in eyeglass frames and cannot allow us to be as creative as we want.
The Chinese factory we work with offers a large choice of cellulose acetate colors and effects we couldn’t find anywhere else and gives us endless creative possibilities.
Besides, our products are designed by Juliette and have many details making them unique and special in our customer’s eyes!
Several production stages have to be hand-made - for example, gluing the different parts together or adding the ink details. The economic reality being what it is today, the production cost would be much higher if we could find a factory in Europe. Our margins would be too low and we would have to increase our prices drastically. But we care about our creations being at a fair price.
Manufacturing in Europe remains a true challenge regarding our cellulose acetate accessories.
We still support local production at our level, when our products allow it. We chose to manufacture our cotton socks in a French factory because this expertise is making a comeback in France.
If you want to know more about the production of our socks, you can read our article here.
Now you know why we proudly chose to manufacture our cellulose acetate accessories in China. Beyond the stereotypes, this country has true skills and allows us to produce our creations the way we design them.