Whilst transparency and underwear don’t always seem like a good idea together (looking at you, Iggy Pop), we gotta say; we’re really into it. Most apparel brands will tell you that supply chains are a complex beast with a gajillion moving parts and that it’s way too hard to explain the ins and outs of where exactly everything comes from etc. etc.… and to be fair, there is some truth to that.
When you’re working with supply chains, especially on a global level, you do have to surrender a bit of trust to the partners you choose to work with. The thing is though, if you genuinely give a shit about earning that same trust from your own customers, we think you should at least want to be honest about how and where your products are produced. You should be confident enough in the due diligence you did when choosing your manufacturing partners that you can’t use “it’s just ssooo complicated, I didn’t know” as an excuse if it turns out that there are bad agents in your supply chain.
We worked extremely hard to find the people that we wanted to partner with - there aren’t many manufacturers and suppliers in the world that can deliver the balance of quality and sustainability that we demanded for our product. Most importantly though, we found partners to work with that meet our high standards of working conditions and comply with our social responsibility principles.
Now grab a pen and paper as it can get a bit tricky to follow when we’re talking about complex corporate funding models and… just kidding! It’s super straightforward actually; We’re a privately owned and operated Australian company. That’s it. We’re self funded so there are no outside investors dictating any of the decisions we make or pushing profits over principles.
We live and work on the Gold Coast. So we told the ATO that that’s where we live and work. Because we do. We really like travelling overseas, but we think it’s a bit of a stretch when companies pretend they’re from somewhere they’re not just so they can skimp on taxes. So we don’t do that.
We don’t use overseas call centres or design hubs either. Again, we’re big fans of travel adventures around the world, big big fans. But we reckon an overseas adventure is not what you’re after when you just want to jump on a call or chat with us. If you’ve decided to reach out to us, you’re probably just after a quick resolution from someone who genuinely works at nat’v and has knowledge of the products and authority to actually help you out. At least that’s what we like when we get in touch with other businesses, so it would be pretty hypocritical if we did it any differently, right?
Our Supply Chain
The first place we started our search for supply chain partners was here in our own backyard. It would have been the best outcome for us if we could use a manufacturer here in Australia - think of the travel miles we could have avoided!
But alas, it wasn’t to be (at least not yet). After extensive research by our founder, Sandy, into which fabric was going to bring the nat’v concept to life, she decided it had to be TENCEL™ Modal fiber over bamboo or any of the other options she considered.
This fabric originates in Austria, the producers of the highest quality beech trees in the world. Their lenzing technique (super clever and efficient method for producing fibers from wood) is superior to anywhere else, too.
Once she had decided on the perfect fabric, she had to find the perfect partner to team up with who could cut and stitch her designs. Now, this fabric is not your average run of the mill poly-cotton-blend, my friend. This is an ultra modern type of material that most manufacturers have never worked with. She had to find a team that was experienced enough to do right by this futuristic fabric! And she found that team in Hefei, China. The manufacturer is a world leader in efficiency and production capabilities, making them an ideal fit to pick up the baton from the Austrian team producing the fabric in an environmentally responsible and highly resource efficient way. All other processes are completed in Australia, including all of our underwear designs, sales and marketing, graphic design and brand management, storage, picking and packing, stock handling, shipping and distribution and most importantly, customer service.
Now, it should go without saying that we have painstakingly ensured to the absolute best of our abilities that our supply chain partners are accredited/audited/certified to ensure zero exploitation of its people... but unfortunately, in the garment game, it usually doesn’t go without saying; so we’re going to say it:
Regardless of where our materials and products are manufactured and sourced, we require rigorous trading terms to ensure our supply chain is free from all forms of worker exploitation. All of our suppliers are hand selected and meticulously tested to ensure they comply with our social responsibility principles. We meet with our suppliers prior to doing business and maintain regular contact through the delivery cycle. We also rely upon the assessment of Third Party International Auditors of Social Performance In Global Supply Chains (Amfori BSCI). Some of the key benchmarks we have for auditing our suppliers include zero tolerance for child labour, discrimination, corruption, bribery, animal cruelty, and ensuring safe working conditions and fair pay.
A Word From our Founder
“I started this business with the vision to do better and create a sustainable company that cares about the planet and its people. At the centre of every decision I make, is a word that gets thrown around a lot, sustainability. When starting this journey, I was under no assumptions that this would be easy, but it turns out that being a sustainable company has its challenges even beyond what I originally thought. There are so many challenges when it comes to sustainable business that it often feels overwhelming. So, I try to make change every day no matter the size. Measuring our impact allows nat’v to continually make changes from the bottom up that are better for our planet and its people.
We Are Not Afraid of Change
We are always open to suggestions on how to improve our products. This commitment is not only directed at physical adjustments to the final garment. If a supplier can offer a comparable or higher quality output with improved sustainability through its own unique production techniques, we would love to know about it.
If you send us your suggestions, we will promise to review them. We are all in this together.