“You should go on Shark Tank“!
When people hear how MAJAMAS EARTH started they relate my tale to one they’ve heard on that show.
My response? “None of those sharks would bite.” We believe in making our garments the right way, not the cheapest way and for the most part, most investors care more about big margins than the human cost of doing business.
Lessons Learned the Hard Way
People assume that when something is made in the USA, it’s made in bright, beautiful shops and all the employees are happy and paid well. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Years ago, I was working with a contractor who assured me her shop was clean and well run, but when I went to inspect it, I found a complete mess. Bundles of junk and un-sewn goods were everywhere and the room was dark and hot. The workers were sweating (literally a sweat shop) and no one was happy.
I realized that even though I thought I was doing the right thing by sewing in a U.S.A. shop, supporting this woman’s business was wrong. She didn’t care about her employees and if she didn’t care about the people she spent most her time with, she wouldn’t care about my work.
I immediately pulled my production from this shop. Cut fabric, thread, trims and half-sewn garments. Overwhelmed and awkwardly lugging these armfuls to a rental car, I stumbled and watched half of them fall to the ground. As I stood looking at my production clumped in a pile on a dirty, city street, a man approached me and asked if I could use some help. Through tears, I answered, “Yes, thank you!” and as we walked to the car, he told me he had a sewing shop up the block. Through all this chaos, I had a stroke of luck; this man is now one of our most treasured contractors and his work is not only beautiful, but his shop is too.
He runs a family business. His brother, sister and mother all work with him and their employees work in a clean, well lit environment. They are paid a fair, living wage and their work shows it. They are respected by their employer and in return, they respect him.
Running your own business is a continuous “learning experience”. No one told me to inspect a shop before contracting with it, but that day I learned to never hire a contractor without seeing their business first.
ME, on Shark Tank?
Not going to happen unless I’m one of the Sharks on the panel. Then, I would be the one investing in those fellow businesses doing things the right way, not the cheapest way. I’d insist the contractors take good care of their employees by paying fair wages and giving them clean, bright working conditions.
Let’s face it, there are lots of investors out there who only care about the money they can make, but at Majamas Earth, we care about everyone involved in our business. It’s the right way to operate. So no Shark Tank for MAJAMAS EARTH but I do hope to meet Barbara someday. She seems to get it.
– Germaine Caprio, MAJAMAS EARTH Company Owner & Designer