Made in Mauritius?
Where is Mauritius? is the first question through everyone’s mind when we mention that we produce apparel there. For those who are bold enough to verbalize the question, we explain that Mauritius is in the south Indian Ocean approximately 2,100 miles east of Johannesburg and 3,100 miles south of Dubai. Suffice it to say, it’s a long flight from anywhere.
“Why Mauritius?” is more interesting. It is a sovereign nation of 1.2 million people that is technically part of Africa. That gives it favorable trade status with the United States, which is why we first went there 15 years ago. That is not why we stayed.
Let’s face it, getting materials into and production out of a beautiful, but albeit remote, vacation island is not for the faint of heart. Logistics are challenging. Materials and trims need to be sourced in other, distant markets. Managing production from 12,000 miles away is not exactly line-of-sight. Duty savings are eroded quickly. The reason we invested and grew there is the people.
Mauritian culture is a truly wonderful amalgamation of French, Indian, English, Chinese, and South African heritages and have some of the nicest people you will meet anywhere in the world. The culture is great, but the people who have kept us there are the ones we work with.
We have had the same gentleman running our office in Mauritius since 2008. He has developed and managed our business relationships, coordinated logistics, and overseen our quality spectacularly well. While he has been instrumental to our success, the factory owners and workers are the ones who have made the real difference.
When we first came to Mauritius, there were many factories, but few who were able to produce the more complicated products we sought – especially at the smaller quantities that our business necessitated. While it took years of investment for our production partners and us to develop these capabilities, the result has been a huge success for both of us. We are proud to provide the majority of business for a number of our of core suppliers and appreciate the support of all our partners immensely.
As we develop M4, there are business reasons why Mauritius is a good production market for some of our products. But, there is more to it than that. We love the independent, cross-cultural, work hard/play hard nature of the country and its people. We would like to think that those qualities make Mauritius a kindred spirit to M4, which is why we are choosing to produce virtually all of our apparel there.
Thank you to all our friends 200S, 580E!