They are headquartered in Chicago, Illinois and their production center is located in Delhi, India. Despite the distance, WORK+SHELTER operates as ONE internationally diverse team.
SWEATSHOP FREE LABOR
WORK+SHELTER employees are paid fairly, regularly, and given the opportunity to earn raises and promotions. Unfortunately, this is rare throughout most of India. Sweatshops are all too common, and 85-90% of sweatshop employees are women. As such, in 2013 women still only earned 62 percent of a men’s salary for equal work. WORK+SHELTER is working to change that!
WORK+SHELTER focuses on women’s empowerment and poverty alleviation by providing Indian women with fair-trade work. At W+S New Delhi, women are entered into their paid training program where they teach them the skills to create high-quality products for the export market. The only entry prerequisite they have is demonstrated economic need. When the woman completes training and begins to produce, WORK+SHELTER increases her pay. Because many of the women that work with them never finished school, their job training in sewing and production management provides them with the means to find dignified work they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
WORK+SHELTER takes great care to minimize their impact on the Earth by reusing fabric scraps to reduce waste, consolidating shipments when possible to minimize their carbon footprint, and sourcing organic materials from providers who are equally eco-conscious in running their businesses. The level of how “green” a business is highly depends on how it’s managed — everything from materials, energy and workflow. DID YOU KNOW? The U.S. alone produces 11 million tons of textile waste per year. That’s 400% more than just 20 years ago! Thus, mass production of goods needs to be done carefully, which is why they take an eco-friendly approach to offering wholesale quantities.
The women WORK+SHELTER employs work a maximum of 8 hours per day, work in a comfortable environment, and take delicious chai breaks twice daily. WORK+SHELTER provides regular wellness check ups and dental screenings for all of their employees. They encourage their employees and trainees to pursue health, prosperity, and their dreams.
WORK+SHELTER combines the power of community, positivity, and inspiration to create a truly supportive + inviting workplace. But their reach isn’t limited to the workplace; they are often instrumental in supporting our employees in various ways. For example, they may ensure that an employee’s children are enrolled in school and are receiving proper health care, or support their employees towards pursuing their own entrepreneurial venture.
OPPORTUNITY TO GROW
They're using their expertise to create a new workforce of empowered women by building on their leadership team’s diverse backgrounds in technology, manufacturing, design, finance, and operations. These women are independent, constantly learning, digitally adept, and financially savvy.
In an effort to make a positive impact on our planet, over 95% of the fabrics sourced at WORK+SHELTER have an environmental qualifier— meaning that they are either recycled, upcycled, or organic. They believe manufacturing can be simultaneously efficient, environmentally friendly, and ethically fair. They know that they are operating within a broader global context and an ecological environment that is precariously placed, so they do our best to limit our impact in running our business – whether it be through reducing waste or using more eco-friendly materials. In accordance with their beliefs, we apply Lean manufacturing principles to their workplace, and think critically about how we manage our material scraps. Their high-end production equipment and quality control process ensure that their end products meet strict quality standards.