Brooklyn Industries—a New York-based design company with 16 retail stores in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Chicago, and Portland, Ore.—recently launched its “Made in Africa” line produced by Kad Manufacturing, a Trade Hub-supported apparel manufacturer in Ghana. Kad first received inquiries from Brooklyn in late 2015 and worked closely with the Trade Hub’s apparel partner, Ethical Apparel Africa (EAA) to prepare the order of skirts and dresses.
“Brooklyn was very happy with the product, and it has been selling well,” said EAA’s co-founder, Paloma Pineda. “Brooklyn is now interested in doing a larger follow-on collection, so we are working through options with them now for this.”
In July, Brooklyn’s blog featured Kad’s approach to business as a force for good, spearheaded by its founder, Linda Ampah: “Currently Linda employs 50 individuals, and aims to expand this to 450 within the next 5 years. All KAD employees receive at least 80% above Ghanaian minimum wage. Linda has opened savings accounts for all employees, enrolled her workforce in pension schemes, and implemented ILO [International Labour Organisation] workplace programs on health education and risk prevention.”
Ms. Ampah has worked with USAID trade development projects for more than a decade as she expanded her small custom design boutique to a mass production factory. In February 2016, she exhibited at the Sourcing at MAGIC show in Las Vegas as part of the Trade Hub/EAA’s West African delegation. “Working on the Brooklyn order has been an eye opener regarding expectations of an international order and managing our own expectations,” Ampah said. “Lessons have been learned which would be extremely useful for future orders, and the employees are gaining new skills with orders such as this.”
EAA works with apparel companies in Ghana and Benin to establish ethical production practices, improve production standards, and successfully establish linkages with international brands like Brooklyn Industries.