Multimedia Video Produced by Tanzina Vega/The New York Times Photos and Audio by Michael Kamber for The New York Times.
I have a great story to share with you this week about a business in Spartanburg, S. C. that is making a difference in workers lives in the Dominican Republic. The company is Knights Apparel, the leading manufacturer of collegiate licensed sportswear according to the Collegiate Licensing Company. While most factory workers in the Dominican Republic are earning $147 per month, workers at the Alta Gracia (meaning “exalted grace”) factory earn $500 per month. The short video, A Living Wage (see link above) will let you listen to some of the workers tell their stories.
This article, Factory Defies Sweatshop Label, But Can It Survive?, appeared in The Global Business section of The New York Times on July 17th. Joseph Bozich, CEO of Knights Apparel, is committed to making this model factory work. “We’re hoping to prove that doing good can be good business, that they’re not mutually exclusive”, said Mr. Bozich. The apparel is competitively priced so that retailers and consumers will not have to pay extra to support this worthy cause.
Also worth noting is that Barnes and Noble will take a smaller profit margin in the beginning to divert funds to heavily promote this product line via a web campaign, in-store signage, and other marketing methods. Duke University placed a large order and plans to promote the products in the campus newspaper, postcards in student mailboxes, and posters on light poles throughout campus. Most surprising of all is that United Students Against Sweatshops, the student group mentioned in the Nike post on this sight, plans to distribute fliers at campus bookstores urging freshman to buy the Alta Gracia apparel items. This article is well worth your reading time.
The next time you need collegiate logo sportswear, I urge you to look for the Alta Gracia Label.