Posts tagged with ‘ethical manufacturing’

  • Mar302018

    4 Easy Steps For Saving Big Using the Nepal Trade Preference Program

    To encourage economic development after Nepal’s devastating 2015 earthquake, the USA granted special trade preference to Nepal and now offers DUTY-FREE TREATMENT to certain products, including:

    • many kinds of handbags,
    • suitcases,
    • sports bags;
    • various carpets;
    • gloves;
    • scarves and shawls;
    • and hats and other headgear.

    You can save up to 20% on products made in Nepal. Follow the simple tips below to capitalize on this Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act of 2015.

    How do I take advantage of the Nepal Trade Preference?

    1. Check to see if your products are included in this Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act of 2015.  Section 915 lists 66 subheadings of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of products when made in Nepal that will receive duty free entry to the United States.

    You can use this website ( to look up your product, or the various HS Codes listed in the trade preference. If you see an “NP” in the column marked “Special”, then it’s time to celebrate! This indicates that your product is included in the Trade Preference Program.


    2. Buy items from Nepal on the list of 66 products and ensure that the manufacturing step in Nepal is adding at least 35% value and is more than simple combining or packaging operations.


    3. Ensure your manufacturer in Nepal fills out a GSP Form A and Certificate of Origin, declaring your items as one of those on the list of 66 HS Codes, annotating Nepal trade preference with an “NP” next to the HS Code, gets it signed and stamped on export by the Nepal Customs department, and sends you copies.



    4. Before your goods arrive, let your customs broker or shipping company know that your items are eligible for the Nepal Trade Preference and request they declare them accordingly.



    How long will the trade preference last? Until 2025


    Do other countries qualify for the Trade Preference? The Trade Preference only applies to products made in Nepal, shipped to the US. However, because Nepal is a Least Developed Country under the GSP system and a former conflict country, many countries such as those in the EU and Canada offer special duties discount to goods that come from Nepal. Each country’s rules may be different.


    What if I am still charged duties? Purnaa has produced goods for many customers that qualify for the Trade Preference. However, a few customers have still been charged duties. We assume this is because a country specific Trade Preference is quite rare and few customs officials are aware of Nepal specific rules.  If your goods mistakenly get charged import duties even though they are on the Trade Preference list, you can request a refund.


    How do I know if my product is one listed in the Trade Preference? At Purnaa, we can advise you if your product is included in the Trade Preference, and we can even give some advice for product changes to help take advantage of the program. But in the end, it’s up to you to check that your product meets the classification criteria of the US HTS system.  You can use this website ( to look up your product, or the various HS Codes listed in the trade preference. If you see an “NP” in the column marked “Special”, your product is included in the Trade Preference Program.


    Nepal is a country with higher than 40% unemployment, which leads to a people who are very vulnerable to exploitation.  When you choose to manufacture at Purnaa in Nepal, not only can you save money with this trade preference law, but you will also help to employ marginalized people and survivors of exploitation.


    At Purnaa, we love to make products for clients that value ethical manufacturing and transparent supply chains.  So, check out the US-Nepal Trade Preference Program and consider manufacturing your products here in Nepal. This could be the beginning of a beautiful partnership.


    Get a Production Quote Here to explore if Purnaa is a good fit for your manufacturing needs.

    Purnaa Store
  • Feb022018
    Purnaa Anita Bag

    The Making of the Anita Bag

    The Anita Bag has been one of our most popular Purnaa products to date, so we thought we would give you a closer look at how it is produced.

    The bag is made with 100% cotton canvas, eco-friendly genuine leather, and hand-woven Nepali dhaka fabric. We have used four new dhaka variations for this line offering several options for a fresh take on a classic.

    All of our products start with a design and sampling. Since we have made this bag before, we already had the design and sample completed. After a sample is made and an order is confirmed, we work on sourcing the correct fabric. For this bag – the canvas, leather, and zippers are imported from India. The dhaka is made by a local factory in Kathmandu.

    Once the fabric arrives, our Cutting Team layers it and traces the pattern pieces on the top layer. This is a very precise process because we are committed to maximizing our use of the fabric and minimize any waste.

    After the fabric is cut, Team Laliguras gets to work sewing the bags. There are 15 different sewing steps and 7 different machines involved in making this bag. The sewing team works together to make the finished product, taking turns completing the steps. The Anita bag features one large zippered pocket on the front, two smaller pockets inside, and a snap at the top to close the bag.

    Starting out, it does not look like a bag. The team slowly adds more and more pieces to make it all come together.

    With so many steps, it is definitely a team effort. Team Laliguras is very supportive and encouraging of each other. If anyone needs help, they gladly lend a hand to  one another. It is also very common to find them chatting and laughing while they work throughout the day.

    Once the sewing is complete, each piece is checked by our Quality Control team to make sure there are no irregularities.

    After passing quality control, the bags are tagged and packed by our Packing Team and then sold in our outlet in Nepal or to wholesalers around the world. To purchase the Anita bag at wholesale rates or to find a retailer, please visit our wholesale page.

    Purnaa Store
  • Jan242018
    Purnaa Building Manager

    Meet Pramod, Our Resourceful Building Manager

    “At Purnaa, I don’t feel like it’s my workplace, I feel like it’s my home.”


    Congratulations, you won the employee of the month award! How did you feel when you found out that you won?

    Thank you very much. It was a pleasant surprise for me. I felt happy that people noticed my hard work.


    We want to get to know you a little bit better. Can you tell us about your family?

    I have two daughters, one is 10 years old and she is in class 3. I also have a newly born baby; she is now 6 months old. And my beautiful wife, we’ve been married for 12 years. Sometimes I also have relatives come and stay with me. Right now my nephew is living with me because he is trying to move abroad and it is easier for him to work on that from my place near Kathmandu.


    What do you like to do in your free time?

    I love to sing and I love music. On Fridays after work I usually go to my church choir group and teach them what I know about singing and music. I also enjoy working around my home.


    What is your favorite animal and why?

    I love all types of animals. I love cats and dogs the most, but I do have pet rabbits. I cherish all living things. When bugs come into my home, I just put them outside because I feel like they have a life and I don’t want to kill them. I really love animals.


    Who is your role model and why?

    Right now at Purnaa I would say Richard is my role model. He is my supervisor and I can go to him about anything and he helps me. He inspires me.


    If you only had one word to describe yourself, what would it be?

    I would say happy.

    When have you been most satisfied in your life?

    After I built my home. I used to live on the streets; I didn’t have parents or anything. I grew up in an orphanage. After I got married, I had a dream to build my own home. Now I look at where I came from and see where I am now and I am happy. I am satisfied. It makes me think, I am successful.


    What is your job at Purnaa?

    My job at Purnaa is building maintenance. I look for the proper, safe, and best ways for people to do their work. I keep things working properly, I help the kitchen staff, I get supplies that are needed for the offices, and I come up with new ways to work more efficiently.


    How long have you worked at Purnaa?

    Almost 1 ½ years.


    What did you do before you worked at Purnaa?

    Before Purnaa I used to work abroad. I worked in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar for about eight to nine years. When I went to Bahrain my oldest daughter was about seven months old. One time I came back for a visit during the holidays I tried to pick her up and she did not recognize me. That made me so sad and I was missing my family a lot so I decided it was time to move back. When I came to Purnaa and I met Corban, he said “You should live with your family. Give them your time and your attention.” That made me want to work here because he knows the importance of family.


    What is different about Purnaa from other places you have worked?

    Purnaa is very different. There is a different culture, a different community here. What I’ve found is at Purnaa I don’t feel like it’s my workplace, I feel like it’s my home. Everyone is friendly and talks openly with each other. It’s not about a factory or a company, it’s about a home. A supported home where you can be yourself and feel secure and you feel like someone will always be there to help you.


    What motivated you to come to work at Purnaa?

    I don’t have that much education, but I have a lot of experience. When I came to Purnaa and had an interview, they understood that. Purnaa gave me a chance, and they respect me. So that motivated me to work at Purnaa. Also, the social business and social work they are doing, that really impressed me and touched my heart. Purnaa is helping people, so I like to work here.

    What keeps you coming to work?

    Well it’s for my family. Both my family at home and my Purnaa family. They respect me and they love me, which makes me want to work more.


    If I were to ask your team leader what your greatest strength is, what would they tell me?

    I give everything a try. My heart always says, I may not know how to do this, but let me give it a try. That’s what makes me successful.


    What dreams do you have for the future?

    Right now at Purnaa we have been working on a plan to get our own building. So that is my dream to see that plan fulfilled.

    Also, the main dream for my family is to add a second floor to our house and buy a car. I have promised them that within five years I will try my best to make this happen. When I promise something and I dream something, I want to fulfill it.


    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I have worked a lot of places and seen how they operate. Purnaa is different. Purnaa has good benefits, including school allowances, medical reimbursement, savings accounts and fresh food. That’s a lot different than garment factories around. It’s not just about money, Purnaa is giving these extra benefits, along with giving new knowledge through trainings. That’s a very good thing.

    Purnaa Store
  • Jan122018
    Custom Print Gear Video Shoot

    Behind the Scenes of the Purnaa Video

    Purnaa recently launched our new line of Custom Print Gear, a growing collection of ethically sourced and manufactured t-shirts, baseball caps, beanies, hoodies, drawstring bags, and tote bags on which groups can print their own logos and messages.

    To get the word out we worked with Jazz Productions, a Nepali group of young men committed to telling stories through visual media, to make a video. A group of trekking friends volunteered as the lovely models in our video.

    We love offering this new ethical option for custom print gear.  With an easy-to-use design tool on our website, products kept in stock in the USA for quick fulfillment and with low minimum quantities, we are excited to meet the need in the custom printing market for an ethical option. Purnaa’s Custom Print Gear is both socially responsible in paying fair wages to the workers who make the products and environmentally responsible, sourcing fabrics that are made from sustainable fabrics.

    All of the fabrics are made from certified organic materials and woven or knit in GOTS certified Fair Trade factories. They are then dyed using low-impact AZO-free dyes. We believe it is important to work to minimize our impact on the world and do our best to make sure we take care of the environment.

    Along with helping the environment, every product purchased helps to empower those who have been marginalized by society. At Purnaa, we focus on hiring people who come from marginalized backgrounds and giving them chances for fresh starts and fulfilled lives. We want to see their lives change for the better and Custom Print Gear creates work for them. The more orders we receive, the more people we can hire. We believe that dignified jobs have the power to transform people’s lives.

    We are excited for our new line of products and what they mean for the environment and for the Nepali people being offered opportunities for fresh starts and fulfilled lives. We are very happy with the way the video turned out and are thankful to our models and to Jazz Productions for all of their hard work. We are excited to see how this video helps our promotion of Custom Print Gear products. If you would like to order any of these products please visit and get in touch with us.


    Purnaa Store
  • Jan052018
    Purnaa Team Member

    Meet Pradeep, Our Helpful and Hardworking Employee of the Month

    “What is really good about Purnaa is everyone is disciplined and everyone supports each other. Everyone is having fun and that is what I like about it.”


    Congratulations, you won the employee of the month award! How did you feel when you found out that you won?

    Thank you. I felt very happy.


    We want to get to know you a little bit better. Can you tell us about your family?

    I am married and I have one daughter. I am currently living with my mother and father as well.


    What do you like to do in your free time?

    When I have free time at home I help my family. I also like to go out and travel around, but I don’t have very much free time right now. I have a small tailoring shop that I own as well. I work there after I get off of work at Purnaa for about two hours each day. Also when I have holidays at Purnaa I work at my shop.


    Who is your role model and why?

    I would say my father and my older brother because they give me good advice.


    What is something fun or interesting you have done recently?

    Christmas time was fun. During that time my relatives came over to my house and I went to church. There was a big Christmas program and food for everyone.


    If you only had one word to describe yourself, what would it be?



    When have you been most satisfied in your life?

    When I think about when my daughter was born, that was the most satisfying time for me.


    What is your job at Purnaa?

    I am a sewer on Team Prerana.


    What do you enjoy the most about your job?

    I love working in a group and the environment. In a group, when someone needs assistance, everyone comes to help.


    How long have you worked at Purnaa?

    A little over six months.


    What did you do before you worked at Purnaa?

    Before Purnaa I worked at two manufacturing companies. The first one was in Malaysia and I worked there for six years. After that I went to Dubai and worked there for two years. In Malaysia I was satisfied with the work, but another company bought the company and the management wasn’t nice so I decided to leave. In Dubai I was working for a piece rate and there wasn’t much work to do so I decided to come back to Nepal.


    What is different about Purnaa from other places you have worked?

    What is really good about Purnaa is everyone is disciplined and everyone supports each other. Everyone is having fun and that is what I like about it.


    How have you changed as a person since working here?

    I am not as stressed and I can work freely.


    What have you learned from working at Purnaa that you would like to share with others?

    I like teamwork and helping each other out. I would like to teach others about teamwork.

    If I were to ask your team leader what your greatest strength is, what would they tell me?

    She might say that I am a helpful person. I like to help everyone.


    If you had to convince a friend to apply for this job, what would you tell them?

    Two of my friends have already joined Purnaa. I told them there is a good environment at Purnaa and they should come and work with us.


    What dreams do you have for the future?

    I would like to own my own manufacturing company. All my life I have wanted to do that, so that is my plan.


    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Purnaa is growing and that means a lot more opportunities for jobs. That is good for the people working here now and I hope that Purnaa can keep growing so that they can help more people.

    Purnaa Store
  • Nov182017
    Ethical Garment Manufacturing

    How To Find An Ethical Garment Manufacturer

    We receive lots of inquiries from brands who want to create a positive social impact but have no idea where to start looking for an ethical garment manufacturer. The guide below will help your search!


    First things first…

    Be sure of what you are looking for. You will need to make sure your requirements for manufacturing match with a suppliers capabilities. What quantity, fabric/materials, price, certifications are you looking for? What services will you require; designing, pattern making, sourcing, etc.? These are all things you will need to think about when choosing an ethical garment manufacturer.

    Where do I start?


    • The Ethical Fashion Forum

    The Ethical Fashion Forum is an amazing resource. Their SOURCE database lists ethical manufacturers all over the world and is a great place to start:

    • Certification Databases

    If you’re dedicated to finding a manufacturer that is certified with a specific organization, you can look at their websites or contact them directly for lists of their members. WFTO is a great example, you can search through their membership database (and find us!)

    • Agents

    There are third party companies who can help match you with the type of supplier you are looking for. More and more of these companies are popping up to help you find your perfect manufacturer.

    • Tradeshows and conferences

    These places are a perfect networking opportunity to get to know people with indepth knowledge of the industry. All under one roof!


    Ethical Garment Factory


    When deciding on an ethical garment manufacturer think about…

    • The country you want to manufacturer in.

    Be aware of the political and social environment of the country. One of the key reasons you may want to go into production with a company is because they’re in a developing country, but it is worth noting that this can impact your project further down the line. Understanding the processes of the country and realizing that there could be situations outside of your manufacturer’s control is very important. This will help to ease possible tensions that could arise in the future and to keep a peaceful working relationship.

    • The product you want to create.

    Manufacturers have different strengths and levels of expertise, ask if the factory has experience making your type of product and whether they can show you examples.

    • The fabric and materials that you want to use.

    There may be a country that is known for a specific type of material or craftsmanship. For example, Dhaka fabric is traditional to Nepal and widely used by our customers as it supports the local industry. It also reduces the carbon footprint of your product by using fabric that is available locally.


    * Remember, levels of English will vary. Communication is very important. Always remember to be respectful and patient. Developing a relationship built on trust and respect will mean both parties reap the best possible rewards.

    Ethical Manufacturer Factory Floor

    How do I find out if they’re really ethical?


    • Ask a lot of questions!

    Transparent or ethical companies normally encourage questions and will be happy to answer any that you may have. If they’re marketing themselves as an ethical garment manufacturer then they should be especially glad to answer any queries. Try to think of all of your questions in advance to save time for you and the company.

    Questions you may want to ask…

    • What do you do to protect the rights of your employees?
    • Are they paid a living wage?
    • What safety regulations do you have?
    • Is everything made in house?
    • Where do you source your fabrics from?
    • What kind of relationship do you have with your suppliers?

    Factories may outsource some of their work, for example screen printing or embroidery. Workers that are not employed directly by the factory aren’t protected by the same rights as those that are, even if they’re working with a certified factory. If you know you will need these kinds of services then ask in advance who will be providing them.

    • Ask if you can visit the factory.

    It’s always a great idea to visit the factory that you will work with. Understandably this is not always possible, but simply asking the question can give you an idea of how transparent the company is.

    • Ask to see their code of conduct.

    Factories must be compliant with local laws and should have guidelines in place.  You can also ask if they have previously been audited. If they haven’t, it doesn’t mean they’re not ethical, but it’s good to know.

    • Ask if they are certified.

    Ask if the factory has any certifications and whether the fabrics that they use are also certified. There are many different certifications in the industry, they vary from environmental, to health and safety, to working conditions. They also differ from country and continent. You don’t need to know them all inside and out, but doing some basic research is beneficial.


    Celebrating Fair Trade Certification


    And finally, be prepared for the cost of ethical manufacturing.


    Ethical production is usually a little bit more expensive. Paying a living wage, providing benefits to employees, and fostering a healthy and happy work environment costs more. It doesn’t cost the earth, but it does mean paying a fair price for your product. Unfortunately, due to the insatiable appetite for fast fashion, many consumers believe it’s reasonable to pay $5 for a t-shirt when in reality this is not sustainable. Someone, somewhere is paying the price for cheap clothing.

    Paying extra per piece may impact your profit, but refusing to pay a fair price means that many factories decide to cut corners. Those corners can be a lack of basic health and safety equipment, low pay, and forced overtime. It’s important for brands and consumers to understand the necessity of ethical manufacturing, so that they can do their part in demanding the industry wide changes that are needed today.

    If you’d like to go into production with a Fair Trade, ethical garment manufacturer then please get in touch with us!

    Purnaa Store
  • Jul272017

    4 Ways Our Project Managers Work to Represent You

    Here at Purnaa we all work together to produce beautiful, sustainable garments, but the Project Manager Team is especially crucial as they represent the needs of the client to Purnaa’s production staff.  Project Managers are the eyes, ears, and voice of Purnaa’s clients here on the ground in Nepal.  This means they do A LOT of work to gather and communicate all of the details of an order and ensure the best outcomes for our Production Partners.  Last month they received the ‘Team of the Month’ award for all of the great work they do for our company.


    1.The project managers work with production partners from their initial sample inquiry to the shipment of finished products. After partners submit a “tech pack” with all the details of their designs, project managers work with our sourcing manager to find the right fabrics and materials.

    2. Once the materials arrive, the project manager works with our sampling team to create patterns and salesman samples, ensuring they match the specs given by the client. Throughout this process they send photos and get real-time feedback from the designers.

    3. When the final sample is ready, it is mailed to the client for approval. Once approved and a production order is placed, the project manager then collects the rest of the necessary information, such as quantity per color and size, and packing and shipping instructions.

    4. During the production, project managers work with our sewing teams to answer questions and keep clients up to date throughout the process.


    Currently we have four project managers; Mary, Taylor, Mitch and Anish.  We’d like to introduce you to all of them.


    Mary is the team leader of the project managers. When asked to describe her ideal production partner she responded, “We have great production partners and I’m thankful to each of them for choosing to build their business in a way that gives hope and dignity to the people who make their products. ‘Ethical fashion’, ‘environmental sustainability’, and ‘social enterprise’ are all wonderful concepts, but can sometimes just be nice buzzwords. When it comes down to it brands will always receive pressure to offer low prices and will need to make choices about whom they work with and how they treat their suppliers.

    It takes courage and a lot of hard work to build a brand that is truly a part of the solution and which educates an audience about the real issues. I think an ideal production partner is committed to their enterprise, is organized and strategic, gives attention to detail, orders many of the same style product at one time, is able to send reorders our way, and approaches their work with Purnaa as a partnership, not just a transaction.”


    When I asked Taylor what his favorite part of his job is he responded, “A really rewarding moment is when the shipment of an order is ready to go out. At that point, the project manager’s job is finished and there is a sense of satisfaction knowing that we are (hopefully) delivering a product they will love on time. That’s a really rewarding moment. Additionally, I just really like working at Purnaa in general.  As an ethical business, it is inspiring to look out across the factory and see lots of people working in their different roles, whether it’s cutting or sewing or sampling and just to see how well everything works together, everyone working in unity. That’s really neat to see.”


    I asked Mitch to tell me about a funny thing that happened to him in his work and he said, “As a project manager I was trying to encourage one of our production teams to hit their targets and do well. One of the team members said, ‘We will get 20 pieces done today!’ I said, ‘Your target is lower than that and you have less time, that will be hard for you to get that goal, but if you do, I’ll dance for you.’ I showed up at 5:20pm, 10 minutes before the end of the day and they had 20 pieces done! So the next morning I got to do some dancing for the team. That’s probably one of the funniest things that has happened to me here. They really enjoyed it, I almost got the guy who challenged me to dance with me, but he was too busy filming me. I think it is important to encourage the production teams to help create a fun atmosphere and build camaraderie and community among the staff. I like encouraging the teams because it allows me to be a positive part of someone else’s day.”


    Anish is our newest project manager and has only been working here for a few weeks. He said, “This is a new thing for me. I am excited to learn all of the processes and to meet new people as well. Right now I am learning what roles the project manager takes in the company, but I am excited to actually help everyone, to know them, and to get more information on how they work.”


    All of our project managers do a lot of work to help our production run smoothly and we are thankful for everything they do. They definitely earned the Team of the Month award.


    Purnaa Store
  • Jun032017

    Expert Help in On-Going Skills Development

    Suzanne Allibone has been back at Purnaa for the past few weeks providing training for some of our staff members. She has over 20 years of experience in garment manufacturing and has worked in Australia and many parts of Asia. This is her third time at Purnaa, and we are delighted to have her working with us again.


    She has focused her training with our sampling and cutting teams, teaching new techniques and helping to improve their skills.


    With the cutting team, she focused on increasing our cutting accuracy through improved marker usage. Markers are large sheets of paper that efficiently layout all the pattern pieces to be cut. We trace the patterns onto the paper, then layer the fabric to be cut, and then place the paper on top of it. We stabilize the paper using weights and then cut the fabric using a rotary blade or vertical knife cutting machine. “The paper is stable, it doesn’t move, so everything you trace out is incredibly accurate,” Suzanne stated as she showed the team how to refer back to the marker for checking cut pieces for accuracy.

    Suzanne has also been working with our sampling team. She reviewed the processes of testing a new pattern by sewing a first test sample, designing to certain sewing techniques that will make later production easier, and creating tricky sleeve patterns.


    Suzanne said, “I’ve been very impressed with the sampling and cutting teams. The girls are great. They can’t get enough…there is a lot of information I can input, but the challenge is not to overwhelm them and not to feel the need to tell them everything. So it’s more like a coaching. What I’ve been doing more is coaching and mentoring, which is what I really love.”


    At Purnaa, one of our core values is excellence. We believe in always striving for excellence in what we do, and one way to do that is to provide on-going training for our staff members. Suzanne has been very helpful to our team and we were thankful to have her back with us.

    Purnaa Store
  • Apr282017

    5 Ways to Become a Fashion Revolutionary

    “Fashion revolution is a global movement calling for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry. The goal is to unite the fashion industry and ignite a revolution to radically change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and purchased, so that what the world wears has been made in a safe, clean and fair way.”


    Fashion revolution started after the Rana Plaza complex collapsed in Bangladesh in 2013, killing over 1,100 people. The need was realized for more transparency in supply chains and for consumers to be aware of how their clothes are actually being made and the possible negative parts of the supply chain, such as exploitation of the workers and pollution of the environment. If there is transparency, consumers can identify whether or not people are being exploited in the supply chain or the environment is being harmed. Fashion revolution aims to restructure the fashion industry to value people and the environment while still creating profit for businesses.

    At Purnaa, we stand behind the vision of Fashion Revolution. We are now World Fair Trade guaranteed, meaning that our manufacturing process is done in an ethical way. We strive for transparency; anyone can come take a tour of our facilities, and we are open about who made your clothes, featuring our workers on our website through pictures and interviews.


    You can also be a part of the Fashion Revolution. Here are a few easy steps to take to become more involved.


    1. Get informed

    Research the fashion industry. Research your favorite brands. Find out what is really going on in the manufacturing process. The first step in bringing about change is getting informed. If you don’t know where to start, here are a few ideas.

    – The book, “Slow Fashion” by Saffia Minney,

    – The Garment Workers Diaries,


    2. Ask your favorite brands

    Find out how transparent your favorite brand is with their supply change. Ask them the question, who made my clothes? The week of April 24th-30th is Fashion Revolution week. Take a picture showing the tag of your clothes and post it on social media with the hashtag, #whomademyclothes? Then tag your favorite brand or email them with the question.


    3. Host a screening of “The True Cost”

    The True Cost is a documentary showing what really happens in the fashion industry. It shows the harmful things that are happening in the manufacturing process, while also showing companies that are trying to do things differently. Watch the movie yourself and host a screening to show others what is happening in the garment industry. To find out more information go to,


    4. Change shopping habits

    The fashion industry will change if consumers change their shopping habits and only buy from manufacturers who are creating their garments in an ethical way. Once you are informed, use that information to only shop from brands that you know are treating their supply chain and the environment ethically.


    5. Shop second hand

    Buying from ethical manufacturers is not always the cheapest option. Another way to help protect the environment is to buy clothes second hand. A big part of the way the fashion industry hurts the environment is by all the clothes that are thrown away. Shopping second hand will eliminate some of this waste. There are second hand stores in almost every town and you can find good quality items there.

    Raising awareness is a huge step in bringing about change in the fashion industry. If people know what is going on, then they will be able to find ways to help prevent the negative side affects from happening. At Purnaa we are transparent. You know how we are treating the environment and you know who made your clothes, you can even stop by and meet them personally!


    Purnaa Store
  • Apr192017

    7 Ways To Save Money During The Production Process

    We know that although most brands and designers are excited to work with an ethical garment manufacturer, their budget is just as price sensitive as any other brand. To help our customers and others in the industry save money, Purnaa’s production manager, Richard Faber, has written 7 top tips for saving money when you go into production with an ethical garment manufacturer.


    1. Plan Ahead

    If you have long lead times and have planned your production far in advance, we will be able to order your fabric to be delivered by road. Although air freight only takes a few days to reach its destination, it adds considerable expense to overall costs. Goods delivered by road save on average, 50% of transport costs. For large orders this can save thousands of dollars, not to mention it is far better for the environment as it results in fewer carbon emissions.


    2. Increase your quantity per style

    It takes a lot of organizing and time to setup and train staff to make your new product. Ordering a larger quantity splits the setup cost. With every piece sewn, the sewers become a little faster at making it. So the more pieces of your product we make, the better the per piece production cost. Also, most fabric suppliers have high minimum order quantities and ordering small amount of fabric is more expensive.  So increasing your order will decrease the cost of your fabric per piece. Delivery charges are also cheaper per kg at larger quantities.


    3. Source the right fabric
    Typically, fabric costs are at least 50% of the price of a garment. Research the materials you would like to use and be aware that prices differ greatly depending on fiber content, quality and GSM (the weight of the fabric). If you can source your own fabric you will save part of the sourcing fee that we charge to find new materials.

    You can also optimize your designs to maximize material usage during the cutting process of production. Designs should produce as little fabric waste as possible and the width of the fabric plays an important role in determining the amount of waste you will create.


    4. Simplify your design

    Make construction easy by limiting the number of materials that go into your item. It helps to buy a product that closely resembles what you are trying to create so that you can study all of the different components. Consider the complexity and number of fabrics/trims used. Are they all necessary or functional? To keep costs down, be sure to construct features that don’t rely on difficult sewing techniques.


    5. Reduce the number of colors and/or sizes

    Reducing the variety or colors and sizes that you order means that the process of cutting the fabric is faster and sourcing is easier. Plus, there are fewer thread changes.  This will make your order easier to source, track/pack and production will be quicker, saving you more money!


    6. Place a long-term, repeat contract rather than a one-time order

    Sewers have learned your design and we know how to source all of the materials, so repeating an order is much easier than starting a new one. If you believe your product will be successful, ordering larger quantities in advance will save you both time and money, increasing your speed to market and responsiveness to demand. Our production calendar is very busy, so if you would like to top up your order, it could take a few months before we have time to make more of your products.


    7. Understand QC Tolerances

    Every process has variation and room for error. We end of line check 100% of our products, which means all the pieces you receive have passed our strict quality control. The more tolerance you allow, it becomes faster to make your item and also for the QC department to check it.  The savings are passed on to you!


    Want more information on ethical fashion and manufacturing?


    Purnaa Store
  • Mar022017

    Purnaa Featured on Ethical Fashion Forum Sustainable Sourcing Series

    Purnaa was featured in Ethical Fashion Forum’s most recent Sustainable Sourcing Series. We love working with our team and are honored to be recognized as a “supplier changing lives.” Check out a snippet above or download the full article here.

    Purnaa Store
  • Nov292016

    Why Trauma Counseling?

    What is psychological trauma? The word ‘trauma’ means a wound. Therefore, psychological trauma is a wound to the ‘psyche’ or mind. Psychological trauma often occurs in situations of abuse and also neglect. There are 2 types of trauma:

    1. Trauma caused by bad things that happen – abuse, war, rape etc.

    2. Trauma caused by neglect – an absence of basic necessities in life.


    When people come from marginalized and exploited backgrounds they often experience some form of both kinds of trauma. Living with psychological trauma is extremely difficult. It lowers a person’s capacity to function each day. Not only is it emotionally painful and damages a person’s identity but it also hinders the ability to focus, be productive, and learn new things quickly. How is psychological trauma healed? Well, just like physical trauma it can heal naturally over time. But for many it can take a lifetime.


    Counseling, mental health interventions and a loving community can

    greatly speed up someone’s healing. There is a specific therapy model called Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) which is seen as an effective model to help people recover from trauma.


    The TF-CBT model has 8 components that correspond with the acronym PRACTICE:

    1. Psychoeducation – explaining trauma and the symptoms.

    2. Relaxation – Teaching relaxation techniques

    3. Affective Expression – Helping deal with negative emotions and memories

    4. Cognitive Coping – Connecting thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to trauma

    5. Trauma Narrative – Assistance in creating a verbal, written, or artistic expression of the trauma

    6. In vivo Exposure – Troubleshooting reminders of the trauma.

    7. Conjoint sessions – Session with a loved one who they can share their narrative with.

    8. Enhancing Safety & Development – Enhancing personal safety by providing training and social



    In Nepal, mental health receives little attention. There is a stigma at all levels of society, from the government to the general public. The government spends less than 1% of its healthcare budget on mental health.1  A study has shown that the pervasiveness of mental health issues to be as high as 37.5% in rural communities.2


    At Purnaa, we recognize the need for some employees, especially those who come from abusive, traumatized or exploitative backgrounds, to have access to mental health services as well as other services that go beyond those traditionally provided by an employer.

    This extra assistance is made possible through private donations given to Purnaa’s Empowerment Fund. Would you consider partnering with us to equip employees with the health needed for fresh starts and fulfilled lives?  Read more here about the services the Empowerment Fund finances and how you can join us in making a difference!

    1 Regmi, S., Pokharei, A., Ojha, S., Pradhan, S. and Chapagain, G. “Nepal mental health country profile.” International Review of Psychiatry,2004. 16 (1- 2): 142-149.
    2 Khattri, J.B., Poudel, B.M., Thapa, P., Godar, S.T., Tirkey, S., Ramesh, K. and Chakrabortty, P.K. (. An Epidemiological Study of Psychiatric Cases in a Rural Community of Nepal. Nepal Journal of Medical Science,2013; 2(1): 52-56.
    Purnaa Store
  • Oct292016

    Sourcing Materials

    At Purnaa, we source both locally and internationally to ensure we deliver the best and most cost effective material inputs for our customers’ designs. Today, we take a quick peek into this challenging but rewarding work.  (Meet the Sourcing Team: Bikash, Nikesh, and Hannah)


    Being based in Nepal, we get to navigate around the country’s many obstacles and overcome them in uniquely creative ways. Fortunately, we have a dedicated and competent team.


    Purnaa Sourcing Manager, Nikesh, spends his days zipping around Kathmandu on his motorbike to locate and purchase the many different fabrics and components needed for production. Business is very relational in Nepal. Transactions are not made in haste and partnerships are formed over time and frequent cups of chia (local tea). Nikesh is very much the face of Purnaa, visiting local suppliers, markets and weavers on a daily basis, haggling for the best prices, and searching for the best quality materials.


    Using local market suppliers supports the local economy. We especially love when we get to use the beautiful, traditional, hand-woven  Nepali fabric,  ‘dhaka’. However, many of the materials we need are imported to the local markets from India and China and stock is not well-maintained locally. This can make it difficult to find large quantities, especially if a lot of time has passed between a customer’s sampling and production stages.

    We are delighted to have Sustainability Fellow, Hannah Badminton of Wales, heading up our international side of sourcing. She frequently communicates with mills and suppliers in China and India as Nepal cannot manufacture many of the materials that we require. International sourcing requires a lot of fabric knowledge and endless emails, through which we try to ensure that the suppliers we use have the correct certifications and adhere to their local labour laws.


    With dedicated research and perseverance, Hannah has helped to find innovative material alternatives to offer our customers.  There are new options constantly evolving in the global market.  Some of the ones we have found interesting and inspiring recently include:

    – pineapple leather

    – bamboo silk

    – water-free dyeing processes

    – soya bean and banana fabric as cotton alternatives

    – chromium-free tanned leather


    Purnaa’s long term goals include improving our use of sustainable materials and we will continue to offer unique and innovative options to our clients for their production needs.


    Our shipping manager, Bikash, oversees all of the imports and exports at Purnaa.  The paperwork required in Nepal can be quadruple the amount needed in the US for simple banking and shipping processes. We are lucky to have a dedicated member of staff who coordinates effectively to ensure shipments are on time!


    Our wonderful customers are equally dedicated to ethical fashion and are open to suggestions, making it possible for us to experiment with new and exciting materials.

    Purnaa Store
  • Oct152016

    A Living Wage in Nepal

    Purnaa conducts an annual survey (download here) with each of our Nepali team members to measure how well we are accomplishing our social objective of creating good jobs that empower marginalized people to transformed lives. We publish this social impact report because of our commitment to transparency. The survey gauges quality of life in the above five areas.


    Today we want to share our calculations for ‘A Living Wage in Nepal’ based off of our findings in the 2015 Social Impact Report. When we established Purnaa, despite many, many hours of digging online, meeting with government officials and INGO workers who work in economic development, we could not find any reports on what Nepal’s living wage (not to be confused with the minimum wage*) ought to be.  After running a company for 3 years that employs many who have little-to-no formal education and who begin as the lowest earners, we wanted to share what we are learning from their responses to our survey questions.


    *The new minimum wage in Nepal is 9700NPR/mo. The World Fair Trade Organization defines “living wage” as 110% the minimum wage. 110% of 9700NPR/mo is 10,670NPR/mo. All Purnaa employee wages are higher than this.


    Employee Demographics

    Purnaa employed 35 Nepalis at the time of the survey:

    A Living Wage

    During their interview, each employee recorded an estimate of their monthly expenditures. Their responses allowed us to calculate a baseline living wage for our employees. We base our salaries on the approximate living wage for a single parent with children, though some of our employees have spouses who contribute income to their families. The wages indicated in the survey results include medical reimbursement and children’s school scholarships. They do not include the 15% profit-sharing bonus our employees receive annually.

    * Expenses are in Nepali Rupees/month.
    ** See and for more on what a living wage looks like.


    Although last year we believed we were providing a living wage to even the lowest earners at Purnaa, we saw that our employees continued to have difficulty providing for their basic needs, especially those who joined our team with pre-existing debt.  

    We recognize the need for some team members to grow in budgeting and responsible financial management. To assist in this area we continue to run trainings during work hours on how to develop these skills.


    We have also chosen to respond with an increase of our wages and benefits. We raised our salaries by an average of 11% this fiscal year. We have increased our health care reimbursements to provide more for the dependents of employees.  And we have raised the amount we offer towards school scholarships for the dependents of our team members. Purnaa works hard to offer wages that promote holistic, lasting well-being.


    We continue to research to ensure we are paying living wages.  Recently, the President of WFTO Asia told us that a study funded by the World Bank (to be published) found that the living wage in Nepal for a family of 4 should be 24,000NPR.  He also said the Nepal government’s official number is 31,000NPR for a family of 4. If that’s true, our 15,000 for a family of 2 is a little low. We are considering adding 500 rps more for each child.


    In an effort to continue the needed dialogue around this issue, we share our findings publicly to serve as a data point.

    Purnaa Store
  • Sep092016

    How It’s Made

    This is Purnaa’s Saru Messenger Bag. The Saru features eco-friendly genuine leather, water resistant canvas, hand woven Nepali ‘dhaka’ fabric, and the silhouette of Mt. Everest. You can contact us at to purchase it at wholesale rates.


    We thought we’d give you a “behind the scenes” look at the making of this product.


    Step 1: Design

    This is where it starts. We create a vision for the upcoming line and experiment with different fabric and construction options.

    Step 2: Sourcing

    Once we are happy with the design, we order all the materials and bring them to Purnaa. We try to source as much locally as we can, and for the materials we cannot find locally we import from India or China. For this bag, the water resistant canvas comes from a local supplier that sells to the Nepali Army for tents, and the leather comes from an eco-supplier in India. The zippers come from YKK India, and the hand woven Nepali Dakha was sourced from a women’s group.


    Step 3: Layering

    After all the supplies are gathered, we layer the canvas material on our cutting tables and then mark out each piece of the bag using our design patterns. We have to make sure we get the right number of each piece and also maximize the use of the fabric.


    Step 4: Cutting

    We cut out all of the pieces, making sure they are labeled correctly. We have to cut carefully; if we make a mistake cutting one piece, it affects all of the layers!

    Step 5: Screen Printing

    We then have the screen print of the silhouette of Mt. Everest done on the front of the bag.

    Step 6: Sewing!

    The sewing operations are divided into equal steps and each step is sewn by one of our talented employees. This bag had 18 different sewing operations from start to finish. Below Laxmi is sewing on the leather on the bottom back piece of the bag.

    Step 7: Quality Check

    After all of the sewing steps are complete, each bag is checked at our QC station. We look for any sewing or measurement mistakes and constantly improve how we are sewing.

    Step 8: Tagging and Packing

    After a bag is QC passed, we add our Purnaa Hangtag and individually package each bag. Since this bag was going to Amazon, it also needed a bar code sticker so all the robots can do their work

    Step 9: Shipping

    The bags are put into boxes and properly marked for easy receiving at at warehouses in the West. After a call to DHL, they are picked up and sent on their way!

    Purnaa Store
  • Aug112016

    In Tune With Their Craft: Ongoing Sewing Skills Development

    Ongoing skills development trainings are integral to Purnaa and our achievement of excellence in garment manufacturing. Our Team Sewing System (TSS) emphasizes skill diversification to foster cohesive, efficient production teams. Rather than acting simply as cogs in a standard factory line, Purnaa employees are pushed to develop the breadth and depth of their abilities every day. Continuing training programs not only build Purnaa’s collective expertise, they also instill the dignity of a valued artisan in our team members.


    After sixteen years of teaching garment manufacturing in her native Australia, Suzanne Allibone decided it was time for a change.  For years she traveled the globe, volunteering in industries far different from her initial garment manufacturing background.  One of her jobs brought her to Nepal. While visiting a Kathmandu flower market, Suzanne met Purnaa co-owners Richard and Mary Faber. Prior to their meeting, Mary had heard from a friend about Suzanne’s background in sewing training, and so invited Suzanne up to Purnaa to conduct several sessions focused on ongoing sewing skills development. It was a great fit! We were all delighted when Suzanne agreed to return to Nepal this year and spend the month of June with us to run a more in depth training with our sewing staff.

    Working with Purnaa team members on everything from how to sit properly at their machines to choosing the appropriate stitch length for a given piece, Suzanne wants to make every sewer an expert. One benefit of Purnaa’s TSS is the time and space created to spend on troubleshooting complicated projects. As our sewers improve the speed and accuracy of their sewing, they also develop the situational awareness needed to analyze issues in the manufacturing process and find targeted solutions. Building this expertise not only ensures the quality of Purnaa products, it improves production efficiency at every stage.


    Skills training at Purnaa is not limited to developing technical competence. Suzanne aims to expand each team’s capacity for further improvement. These efforts start with the team leaders, the individuals responsible for implementing Suzanne’s lessons every work day. Suzanne helps supervisors apply sensitive and supportive leadership strategies for correcting mistakes and inspiring sustained commitment to Purnaa’s high standards. Because some Purnaa team members lacked education opportunities as children, Suzanne’s training programs also focused on improving critical thinking skills. Suzanne has helped many staff members better understand the math behind their measuring. For some, her lessons were the first time they had encountered the concept of fractions in a practical and meaningful way.


    Describing her approach to educating, Suzanne stresses, “You just need a lot of patience and you bring it down so that they still maintain their dignity and they don’t feel that they’re stupid.” Years of teaching have taught Suzanne creative ways to help her students achieve, but ultimately she thinks her personality is a natural fit for education. By staying genuine, keeping the mood light, and emphasizing a mutual desire for excellent products, Suzanne has earned the respect of everyone at Purnaa.


    When we ask her about her experience here with us, she laughs. She never imagined she would return to teaching sewing textiles, but she grins as she tells us, “I love teaching. I really love it.”

    Purnaa Store
  • Jun272016

    Meet Team Indira

    Meet Team Indira, one of our three sewing teams here at Purnaa. The team is lead by Indira, who has been the team leader for about two years. Indira was one of the first employees at Purnaa over three years ago.


    Team Indira, along with our two other sewing teams, works together to sew and package products for our customers. The type of products they make ranges from bags to shorts to shirts, but their favorite thing they have made is t-shirts, because everyone on the team knows how to make them so they don’t have to go through the teaching process to get started on the product.


    The team is full of fun and laughter, and sometimes even dancing while switching machines. You often find their team with smiles on their faces and laughing about something. Their team likes to keep their work fun and enjoyable by playing music, telling jokes or just chatting with each other when they have a free moment.


    The team includes, Urmila from western Nepal, Maya from Kathmandu, Laxmi from western Nepal, Indira from western Nepal, Abina, Anu from Kathmandu and Bina from Kathmandu.

    Purnaa Store
  • May202016

    Meet Team Gopi

    Meet Team Gopi, one of our three sewing teams here at Purnaa. The team is led by Gopi, who has been the team leader for about one year. When Gopi was hired at Purnaa, he started out as a sewer and he has worked his way up to a team leader.


    Team Gopi, along with our two other sewing teams, works together to sew and package products for our customers. The type of products they make range from bags to shorts to shirts, but their favorite thing they have made is ponchos, because they are fun and easy.


    The team is full of joy and positive energy. They like to make their work fun and funny by joking and laughing with each other. You can usually find their work area full of the vibrant and upbeat sounds of Hindi music, which is their favorite type of music to listen to while working. Even with all of their fun, they still know how to work hard to reach their production goals.


    The team includes, Gopi from middle eastern Nepal, Chamalay from the Pokhara area, Nirmala from Kathmandu, Shobha from western Nepal, Punam from western Nepal, Anita from Pokhara, and Kopila from the Pokhara area.


    Purnaa Store
  • May192016

    A Day in the Life of Indira

    Recently, I had the privilege of going to Indira’s home to meet her family and learn more about her life. I was nervous and excited. I’ve known her for about three months from my time interning at Purnaa. She is always quick with a smile and a greeting. I was looking forward to getting to know her more.


    When  we arrived, Indira invited us in right away and was full of smiles as she introduced her two children, Suburna, 13 years old and Sushmita, 11 years old. She was excited for us to meet her family and learn more about her life.

    Indira and her children live in a one-bedroom apartment. They have a kitchen and bathroom that they share with the other tenants on their floor. Their room is full of bright colors and feels like a home.


    Indira starts her day by waking up at 5am. Her son, Suburna, leaves for school at 6 am, so she wakes up that early to get things ready for him before he leaves. The first things Indira does every morning are pray and read her Bible. She has passed this routine on to her children, as they also start their days by praying and reading their Bibles.

    After that she makes breakfast. Their breakfast is usually “dal bhat”, a traditional Nepali dish consisting of rice and lentils. When breakfast is finished, she prepares lunches for her children that they take with them to school. For lunch she usually makes roti or chapatti, which are both types of flat bread.


    When all the cooking is done, Indira helps her daughter get ready for school. She brushes and styles her hair and it is a good time of bonding for them. Once her daughter is ready, she cleans up their room and the kitchen by putting things away, making the beds, washing the dishes and sweeping.


    After the children and their home are ready, Indira gets herself ready for work. She does her hair, which she pulls back for work safety at the sewing machines and changes into work clothes, wearing a “kurta,”  a tunic which usually falls just above the knees.


    Suburna leaves first for an early morning class, walking 30 mins to school.  A little later, Indira and Sushmita leave together. Sushmita joins Suburna at school and Indira comes to Purnaa, which is about a 15-minute walk from their home. She starts work at 8:30am.

    At Purnaa, Indira is the leader of her sewing team of 7 women.  As the team leader, she organizes which station each member works at that day and encourages and assists the women on her team when they need extra help or training.


    Indira has worked at Purnaa since it opened over three years ago. She really enjoys her job and is so thankful for the stability it provides for her and her children. Before working at Purnaa, her employer was not consistent with her paychecks and some months did not get paid at all, causing her to not be able to pay rent. But now working at Purnaa, she gets a consistent salary and gets paid at the same time every month so she knows for sure when and how much money she will receive.


    She has made many friends while working at Purnaa. I often hear laughter coming from Indira’s team. They like to joke and have fun while they are working. Also during breaks and lunchtime I always see her chatting with other employees.


    After work is finished at 5:30 pm, Indira walks home. Once there, she freshens up and changes out of her work kurta. She prepares dinner for her family, usually chapatti or chow mein. After they have finished dinner and cleaned up, they have a devotion time together as a family when they read the Bible and pray. During their devotion time they all share about their day and the things they did.

    They spend the rest of their evening together reading, watching TV or playing games. Their favorite game to play is Uno. I was able to play a few games of Uno with them during my visit and they are definitely very skilled. I was lucky to win one game against them. Indira also likes to knit during her free time. Her favorite thing to knit is sweaters.


    The love Indira has for her children and for God is very evident. They are major parts of her life. She has taught her children to love God as well and she works very hard to take care of them. I was honored to be able to see this small glimpse of her life.

    Purnaa Store
  • Apr272016

    Meet the Sampling/Cutting Team

    Meet our Sampling/Cutting team, led by team leader Dadhi (far left). He was one of Purnaa’s first employees and brings over 25+ years of tailoring experience to our company. The Sampling/Cutting team is a central part of Purnaa’s business.  Together, they are responsible for taking a client’s design ideas and bringing them to life.  This involves the highly skilled work of pattern making, sewing sample products, bulk cutting of fabric, and helping our sewing teams understand how best to make new products. Their work also provides much needed data for product pricing and quality control.


    As the sampling team, they get to make a lot of different items and styles but their favorite thing to make is casual wear clothing.


    The team has a fun and energetic atmosphere. They like to joke around and tease each other, but they also know when it’s time to buckle down and get to work. You will usually find them listening to Hindi music; it is a favorite of quite a few of the members.


    The team includes (from left to right), Dadhi, from middle eastern Nepal, Binod, from eastern Nepal, Gunga, from Kathmandu, Sabina, from Kathmandu, Rama, from middle eastern Nepal, and Jitendra, from Kathmandu.

    Purnaa Store