What Are You Paying For When You Buy Ethical Biji Biji Bags?
By Supriya Sivabalan
To understand the price tags behind our products, it is very important to get the gist of what “ethical fashion” is all about.
Easing into this, let’s just say that ethical fashion is what you DON’T see at most of your popularly shopped at clothing stores. Have you ever stopped to wonder - How do these big, popular brands get their “in-season”  products out on the line so quickly? 
Well, it’s through the use of the ever-famous sweatshop model - with its practices of child labour, poor working conditions and long work-hours alongside inadequate wages.
Children ripped of their childhood for the sake of… fashion? Ladies in less developed countries pushed to their limits, for clothes that are tossed to the wasteland in a matter of months, and sometimes weeks!
Workers taken advantage of by unethical fashion corporations who take on almost 100% of the profits earned  

Sustainable and Ethical Manufacturing 

Here at Biji Biji, our products are ethically made and ethically sourced. 
Now, what exactly does that mean? Essentially, all the sweat and time dedicated to creating the beautiful Biji Biji bags you see at our HQ at Publika and on our online store are considered measurable data. This data helps to accurately compensate our tailors and makers for their effort in production. 
The Biji Biji bags are highly labour intensive. According to Ashfaq, our in-house tailor who has been with us for 5 years, a single Biji Biji bag takes roughly up to 1 working day to create with his team! It takes precision, patience and meticulousness to produce each bag with intricate stitching methods performed for every item. There are certain parts of the bag that can be tricky to make like the bag handle, zip, and bag pockets. The fashion team works diligently to ensure each handmade good meets the Biji Biji standard and that all bags produced are as close as we can get to perfection. 
All this work that is put into producing each bag is appreciated and celebrated through adequate wages, appropriate work hours and of course, a safe, welcoming and well-equipped environment for the team to work in. 

Ashfaq hard at work on seat belt materials
With all this considered, it really puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
The people behind your gorgeous Biji Biji pieces each have lives to lead and mouths to feed as well! By observing ethical practices, it ensures that everyone behind-the-scenes is well taken care of. A good portion of the bag’s price goes into this, which justifies the prices you see on our bags. 

All ethically produced - the stunning Biji Biji seat belt collection!
In terms of material source, Biji Biji is committed to sustainable and ethical standards by embarking on a refreshing take on up-cycled materials - like our seat belt collection, kimono collection, felt collection and banner collection. Instead of using materials that are normalized industry-wide due to its low cost, Biji Biji places sustainability at the forefront and prioritizes minimizing the negative impact of manufacturing and production on our environment.

WFTO Membership 

Being a member of WFTO means to be part of a global Fair Trade association that represents the entire Fair Trade chain from production to sale. Fair trade is all about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for producers. 
Biji Biji  has been a WFTO member since 2017! We are the first company in Malaysia to receive a World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) membership for what we do. With this official stamp of approval, you can rest assured that your money is flowing ethically through Biji Biji after your purchases.  
Putting all these puzzle pieces together - it really gets your thinking gears moving and those “high prices” don’t seem so unreasonable anymore, don’t you think? 
Image sources:
GMB Akash, Eco Warrior Princess, NSS Magazine, Leia Solo, Confessions of a Refashionista, WFTO

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