ROWIE started out small, making all the clothes herself but after a few years she realised this was not sustainable and so she outsourced the sewing to a local factory in Mullumbimby – a town about 15 minutes from Byron Bay where we are based. She worked with this family run factory for around 5 years but eventually she also outgrew its capacity. It was then she decided to investigate an old contact she had previously used in Bali and that was the start of a very special relationship.
Meet Riza, a warm, caring and kind man, who remembered Rowie from years before. When Rowie first met her production team in Bali, it was a very small-scale outfit with a husband and wife team and their young son who lived in a small room behind the sewing room. Now more than six years on, they own their own land where they have built their home and are able to afford to send both their sons to good schools. One son is hoping to study as a Medical Doctor at university in the near future. Riza owns and manages a small factory of local workers where he implements high standards of care for all the staff – as he says “they are like my family, I look after them and they look after me”. Rowie has always been impressed by the high quality of work being produced from the team.
The relationship is based on mutual respect and trust between Riza and Rowie. At production meetings in Bali, she and Riza often engage in deep conversations about maintaining good practices, ethical and environmental approaches and not only resolve their production challenges but contribute to better understanding of each other’s values and ethics. This business partnership has been been mutually beneficial. Rowie never bargains on the price, respecting the honesty and integrity of Riza and in turn Riza works hard to fulfil the orders and needs of the business.
Rowie’s background has helped form her approach to working with an international production team. She grew up on an intentional community and was raised by a single mother, who went on to work for NGOs in developing countries supporting individuals, families and communities as well as local organisations in areas of health, disaster response and building resilience. Rowie has visited many of the locations her Mum has worked in and has been well educated in working respectfully to create better lives for all. It’s a subject that she is quite passionate about!