Da-ai Sewing Workshop Creating a Better Tomorrow
【◎Written by Chen Ting-fang ◎Photos by Zeng Sin-yao ◎English translation by Hou Ya-ting】
After Namasia, Jiasian, Taoyuan, Maolin and Liouguei were devastated in the 2009 Typhoon Morakot, Kaohsiung City Government and Tzu Chi Foundation worked together to create Shanlin Da-ai Village, so survivors could have new and safer homes. After they were relocated, they found themselves in need of stable incomes.
Da-ai Sewing Workshop was established in 2011 in hopes that it would create stable jobs for local women. In 2017, they launched the brand name SUNNY BUBA (BUBA meaning fabric handbags). This year, SUNNY BUBA's products will get the opportunity to participate in Taiwan's OTOP (One Town One Product) competition. The annual competition is hosted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, R.O.C. Having the opportunity to participate in this competition illustrates how much the company has been making great strides and developing steadily.
Mr. Wu Fong-jhih is SUNNY BUBA's manager and is proud to announce that for the first time, the company has achieved financial independence and no longer needs to apply for government subsidies. He explains part of the reason for this is that they operate differently than other fabric companies. The technicians carry out the whole sewing process, whereas most companies only assign specific sewing tasks to their technicians. SUNNY BUBA's workers are also a little older than other factories with an average age of 50 and use a piece-rate pay system.
Mr. Wu is also very happy to announce that this year Da-ai Sewing Workshop was also granted a licensed fabric that was developed in partnership with inBloom (a Taiwanese printed fabric company). Da-ai Sewing Workshop named the fabric “Glimmering Shanlin” as it presents images of local forests, plants and wildlife combined with small bright patterns that are set on a dark background. The dark background is symbolic of Typhoon Morakot, which had previously annihilated their native homeland. The small bright patterns are symbolic of the company's gradual progress and the hope for a better future.
Last year, Da-ai Sewing Workshop was recognized for its OEM (original equipment manufacturing) products. It created custom-made coffee sleeves and handbags for McDonald's and inBloom. Due to its high quality and advanced manufacturing techniques, SUNNY BUBA's OEM orders continue to increase steadily. They hope that more multinational corporations will continue to come to them for OEM products. By the middle of next year, SUNNY BUBA will roll-out its standardized job training program so that sewing technicians will be able train the next generation of employees. Earlier this year, Da-ai Sewing Workshop received 38 industrial sewing machines. They now have more sewing machines than technicians, so they plan to allow residents from Cishan and Meinong to use them in training programs.
SUNNY BUBA's sewing technicians have been given the opportunity to develop new careers. Each bag is designed and tailored with its signature patterns and fabrics. The company has brought a new pride and provide a better livelihood for the employees. Today, Shanlin District and its sewing technicians have a great future that they can believe in.