Marimekko launched its Oiva ceramic tableware series, designed by Sami Ruotsalainen, in 2009. The continuously growing series features a selection of iconic Marimekko patterns and has found a large group of admirers. But what is the Oiva items’ journey to stores?
Marimekko’s product range is wide and varied, and the manufacture of the products requires a comprehensive and diverse partner supplier network. Expertise in the manufacture of different types of products exists around the world, and for Marimekko it is essential to find capable partners, with whom cooperation can be developed and planned with a long-term perspective. Products for the Oiva ceramic tableware series are manufactured by two factories in Thailand. The supply chain for the Oiva items is short as the factories both source the raw materials and manufacture the products.
Raw materials for the Oiva ceramics include different types of clay, mostly sourced in Thailand. Kaolin is also sourced from England, India, New Zealand, France and China, and the gypsum needed for manufacturing the clay body comes from Thailand or Germany. The ceramics manufacturing process consists of many phases and involves a lot of handwork.
Decals of Marimekko’s patterns for the Oiva items are made in Thailand. In the factories, the decals are carefully placed on the surface of the products by hand. Colors and glazes for the tableware are sourced from Germany, Japan, Thailand, China and India. The quality inspections both for the decal placement and for the final products are also done by human eye. Finally, the products are packed with care in packaging manufactured in Thailand and shipped to Marimekko’s distribution center.
Marimekko’s Supplier Code of Conduct includes, among other things, principles against child labor and forced labor, and for the right for workers to organize and the right to equal treatment. We select our suppliers carefully, taking human rights and environmental aspects, for example, into account. The Oiva tableware, like 98% of our sourcing outside the EU, comes from audited suppliers. We monitor the realization of human rights in the supply chain both ourselves and through third-party audits. During our factory visits, we discuss not only how the cooperation is developing but also sustainability matters, such as working conditions.
Enhancing sustainability in the supply chain from raw materials to the stores requires patient work. It is important to be able to select suppliers with whom we can together develop sustainability further. For example Crown Ceramics, manufacturer of Oiva tableware, has been Marimekko’s supplier since 2008. The company wants to offer its employees a good workplace and, among other things, regularly organizes a market outside the factory, where the staff can purchase groceries and other daily essentials.
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Manufacturing and sourcing principles