When you see a "made in China" label, it's likely that your mind immediately goes to their notoriously poor labor practices. If you know anything about ABLE, you know that we seek to empower women by giving them job opportunities where they can work in a safe, dignified environment. So how do the two fit together? We're glad you asked because it's quite strategic and involves you as a consumer.

Here's some backstory: ABLE was created as a way to meet the need for fair employment, particularly for women, in Ethiopia, where our founder Barrett was living. He saw manufacturing labor wages as low as ¼ the amount of a living wage. With that type of standard, women, their families, and their communities had limited options. Through partnerships with our manufacturers in Ethiopia, we were able to help bring all of them to a place where their lowest wage meets the living wage. We’re proud to say that because of the ABLE community and your purchase, these women are now able to help support their families and create change in their communities.

As we have continued to grow, the mission to impact communities through the employment of women remains. We hope to get to the point where doing the right thing can’t be ignored and the industry has no choice but to follow suit.

Our strategy is to partner with factories in countries that often have poor labor and environmental practices and work with them to set a new standard in their area.

Poor practices in these countries are a direct result of western brands demanding that manufacturers lower their prices, all the while knowing that it will jeopardize the wages of the people making the products (approximately 75% of whom are women). Our partnerships are designed to empower the manufacturers and their employees and create change in the industry from the inside. You can read more about how we did this with our partner in India last year. With this strategy in mind, we have found our first manufacturer in China that we are excited to partner with and introduce you to.

Here's where you come in: As the consumer, you have the power to demand change from the industry with your purchase. Where you choose to shop communicates the standard you expect. As always, we’re grateful for your support.

Together, through our new partnership and your ABLE purchase, we will be moving fashion forward in China – a country with one of the worst reputations for labor practices.

Let us introduce you to our new sweater partner and share more insight into their labor and sustainability practices. You'll quickly find that our priorities overlap between Nashville, Tennessee and Yantai City, Shandong.

  • As a city, Haiyang is committed to planting more trees each year with government policies to help with the environmental control, and the air quality is increasingly improving!
  • Our partners are creatively working toward more sustainable practices with a gold WRAP certification – an “on the ground” audit process that ensures they’re following compliant practices, including obeying laws, treating workers with dignity and respect, and being conscious of their environmental impact.
An inside look:
In 2020, they shipped 3.7 million pounds of recycled fiber.
That’s approximately 41 million plastic bottles diverted from a landfill.
And approximately 1800 denim shorts diverted from a landfill.

  • The employees work in a clean, safe environment, are provided with affordable childcare, and have fair wage benefits for a better life and family.
An inside look:
While the government maintains a minimum wage standard, the average salary of their employees is almost 2.5 times as much!

  • Most of the women who work in the factory come from rural, poor areas with little knowledge or training, but they are trained to become women who are skilled workers and now do bulk production for ABLE!
An inside look:
Meet two of the factory’s most outstanding workers, Ms. Xiu Yuhong and Ms. Xin Xiaoyan.


Ms. Xiu Yuhong has been working in the sweater business for 26 years. When she graduated from high school at 19, she started working as a production coordinator in the factory. Today, ABLE is one of her clients and she is proud of her contribution! Through the work she does partnering with ABLE, she has gained confidence to be herself and helps to provide for her family.

Ms. Xin Xiaoyan is a mother of two and the quality control manager in the factory. In this role, she leads a critical part of the production process and has shared that she has been able to achieve her goals as both a professional and a mom.

We’re proud to partner with an incredible team in producing the coziest sweaters you’ll find this fall!

August 17, 2021 — sarah squires


Sara said:

Very sorry to hear this – I will not be purchasing items made in China -and will reconsider my purchases from Able. The story of these ladies is wonderful but I thought you were helping women in this country – I think there’s more to be done here.

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