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A sympathetic way to work
Lisen Elmberg is a textile designer and has worked at BabyBjörn for 19 years. She’s a driving force in our product development and is involved in the entire journey from concept to finished product. Here she explains why it’s important to have close relationships with the workers in our factories and why we only have a limited number of products in our range.
Overproduction is a problem
‘One of the major challenges of our current level of consumption is the overproduction of things that we don’t need. I’d like to see more discussions in society about what we produce and why. It’s important that BabyBjörn doesn’t incite consumption by “inventing” needs that don’t exist.’
The products should have a clear purpose, good functionality and a long lifespan.
The products that we develop should have a clear purpose, good functionality and a long lifespan. In practice, this means that we only sell about 20 different products, some of which are updated versions of products that have been around since we started in 1961. I personally think that BabyBjörn’s refusal to compromise is our most important sustainability contribution and one of the reasons why I’ve been working here for so many years.’
Close relationships ensure better quality
One of the reasons that BabyBjörn’s products can maintain such a high standard is the long and close relationships with the factories where the products are sewn. We currently use just four sewing factories located in China, Vietnam, Turkey and the Ukraine. The longest of these working relationships dates back to 2001. Lisen often visits the factory in Turkey, as this is where most of the test products are sewn.
We’ve been working together for 18 years.
‘It’s important to me that we have a close relationship with the people who make our products. It’s an advantage from many perspectives. On the one hand, the sewing workers get a better understanding of what we’re doing, and on the other hand it ensures a better result. But, most importantly, it’s a sympathetic way to work. We’ve been there for 18 years and some of the people who were sewing our products from day one are still working there. We know each other well now and we’re always happy to be reunited in the weeks that we work together. I find this a stimulating way to work.’
Face-to-face contact with sewing workers a must
But it wasn’t easy to find compatible factories and it took many visits before we found the right ones. Being able to have face-to-face contact with the sewing workers was a requirement we had and a crucial factor when we were selecting the factories that we’re now working with. We visit our sewing factories several times a year.
It took many visits before we found the right factories.
‘Without a close working relationship with the factories, there’s no way that we could maintain our current level of quality. Thanks to this closeness, we have completely different possibilities to engage the workforce and enjoy back-and-forth communication. When they have the opportunity to test a baby carrier, they also understand why the details and safety are so important. This allows us to come together to create good end products that everyone involved can feel proud of.’
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