As an international company Marimekko also has a global supply chain. In China, Marimekko’s clothing, such as knitwear and silks, are produced by five contract manufacturers. Some manufacturers use more than one sewing factory for their production. One of our most significant manufacturers is Newtex, located in Jiaxing near Shanghai. The company specializes in high-quality knitwear and weaved clothing. Newtex owns its own knitwear factory and also sources cut-make-trim work of weaved clothing from local partner factories.
Newtex in brief:
- founded in 1997
- Marimekko’s partner manufacturer since 2008
- employs 100 workers and in addition works with local sub-contractors
- main markets are Italy, France, Spain, and the United States
- knitting and sewing factories used by the company are audited under the SMETA (the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit) social compliance program
- 60 percent of the workforce at the Newtex factory is local
- the company also has its own brand and they cooperate with Italian and American designers
Manufacturing in China continues to cause negative associations, even though in reality the country has already traveled a long way both in quality of the production and working conditions. CEO of Newtex, Mr. Simon Su is confident about the future of the industry from the perspective of business as well as sustainability.
“In addition to compliance requirements from our customers, in recent years also the Chinese government has taken environmental issues, such as energy efficiency and environmental protection and workers’ rights, as an increasingly important part of its agenda. Therefore the textile sector is constantly evolving.”
Personnel satisfaction creates competitive advantage
Simon Su says that the competition in the sector is fierce and in many areas the Chinese industry is suffering from a lack of labor. The strengths of Chinese factories, such as Newtex, are skilled workers, more mature market and good networks enabling better service for customers from the fabric sourcing all the way to the product development.
Simon Su sees personnel satisfaction as one of the key success factors impacting the future of Newtex.
“In the current competitive situation it is important that we are able to offer our employees a competitive salary and enough free-time. In addition, we organize a variety of activities, such as joint trips, to our workers.”
Dreaming of continuous learning
Ms. Lu Jiying works as a production manager at Newtex and is responsible for production scheduling and coordinating the production line workers.
“The best part about my job is when the orders get processed smoothly and we get them completed and delivered on time.”
Lu has worked for the company for five years and she wants to continue to become better in her work.
“I hope the same thing as surely also all other employees. I hope that we are able to grow and evolve as a company well into the future.”
Zhu Yongneng has worked as a fabric cutter at Newtex for 4 years. Zhu has the same kind of hopes as all of us.
“In my work I would like to learn how to use yet more modern electric-powered cutting tools and further develop my expertise. The most important thing outside work life is my family. My son is now 7 years old and goes to local kindergarten. I just hope we all have a happy life.”