Notes From the Janery Studio
Behind the scenes
We are thrilled to announce the healthy arrival of our newest family member! Baby Imogen joined our family in February, and the whole family is doing well - especially our 4 year old, who is nearly exploding with joy.
After days of soaking it all in, the Poodle is ready to resume family hikes; the cats, on the other hand, are, well, cats. (I’m sure they have lots opinions on the small, wailing addition to our little herd.)
The best thing about being a small, family-owned business is that I get to share these personal moments with folks who (I hope) understand our need to suspend order shipment while I’m on maternity leave. Shipping will resume on March 25th, and we’ll get the orders out as fast as possible in the order they were placed.
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Find out why ethical manufacturing is good for business—and for you.
From the first day I opened Janery’s virtual doors, I was committed to creating sophisticated pet beds with an unapologetic commitment to quality. Some of this quality you can see and feel—the double-stitched seams, the deep-dyed patterns, the channel-sewn cushion, the impressive waterproof liner—and some of this quality is inherent in the ethical manufacturing, which includes the quality of life for the people who help pull it all together.
Not all ethical manufacturing occurs in America, and not all American manufacturing is ethical.
Picturing unethical manufacturing is unfortunately easy to do. We’ve all seen the pictures in the media of the sweatshops in foreign countries. It might surprise you, however, to learn that “American-made” isn’t a guarantee of ethical manufacturing, and popular stores, like Los-Angeles-based, fashion giant Forever21, have a long history of exploiting workers and state law. As recently as last fall, companies were found paying as little as $4/hour to workers who put in 11-hour days.
Conversely, not all overseas factories are unethical. Companies like Cambodia-based Tonlé focus on improved quality of life and safety for their workforce. Per Tonlé’s website:“We're a zero waste, ethical fashion brand on a big mission, to reduce waste generated by larger factories and change the way business is done in the fashion industry. Our process starts with scrap waste sourced from mass clothing manufacturers. Using every last thread, we create handmade clothing and accessories signed by their Cambodian makers. Our family of employees is made up of individuals with spirit, drive and dreams. Together, we’ve built a supportive environment where everyone expresses themselves freely, learns new skills, and gains confidence in what they do. We believe style is more than what you wear – it’s what you choose to be a part of.”
Everlane is another example. Their tagline, “Modern Basics, Radical Transparency” makes it easy to see where their priorities lay. I am so inspired by their transparency and their mission to improve the lives of the people who make the products they sell. They have factories from LA to Vietnam, spread across four continents. The best part? They encourage you to #KnowYourFactories, and in each product listing, you can click a link to see the actual factory where that product was produced.
On a global scale, ethical manufacturing focuses on the good health, safety, and fair compensation of the workforce. These best practices often include a commitment to minimizing waste, thorough product testing, and proper labeling. When you can source your favorite products ethically, you know you’re voting for companies that respect the time, energy, and talent that goes into each and every product. Wouldn’t this be great if it were the norm - instead of the exception?
Yes, ethical manufacturing will always cost more than sweatshop labor, because it reflects the true value of what you are purchasing. It’s a small investment to ensure the best dog beds and the best cat beds on the market.
What does ethical manufacturing mean to us at Janery?
When I bring in more hands to work on our luxury pet beds, I consider several factors before placing an order with a sewing factory:
- Employees of all levels are treated with respect.
- Employees are paid a fair, legal wage - and ideally, a living wage.
- Employees work reasonable hours and are working at-will: no bonded labor, no underage employment, the doors are unlocked, and they are free to leave at any time.
- A safe work environment where repairs are made and safety equipment is available.
- Ideally, all employees receive benefits and healthcare - though our country has a ways to go with this one.
Because of these benchmarks, I’ve been able to form amazing partnerships with manufacturers across the country, from Michigan to North Carolina and Maine.
I sleep better at night knowing we aren’t cutting corners—on style, on comfort, or on human rights, and you can rest easy knowing that your pup’s favorite waterproof dog bed has both chic, effortless style—and a higher purpose.
From the day I first imagined Janery’s existence, I knew I wouldn’t compromise: I’d hire factories employing ethical manufacturing practices, paying living wages, and providing manufacturing jobs, right here at home in the USA. It hasn’t always been the easiest commitment, and certainly not the cheapest option, but I couldn’t sleep at night if there was a chance my products were made in overseas sweatshops.
That focus has led to other efforts in my life - from ethical shopping to donating responsibly - so that my donations don’t go to a landfill or line the pockets of a “charity” CEO.
In general, I want to be a more responsible global citizen - both personally and as CEO of Janery.
With that in mind, I’m always trying to reduce the amount of scrap fabric created by Janery. Fabric waste is a huge problem in the textile and fashion industry - and there’s currently no recycling option in my area!
Here are 3 of the ways I reduce the amount of Janery fabric scrap going to landfills.
(Sidenote: turning scrap into smaller products also means I don’t have to roll the cost of scrap into the cost of a large product. It’s a win-win for any environmentally-minded business.)
1. Bigger, Better, and More Beautiful Cat Toys!
Have you seen our “new and improved” 18” long Catnip Kicker released in October 2017? This extra-large catnip kicking toy lets me eliminate all fabric that would be “wasted” in the creation of our popular Catnip Cuddler cat mats.
I thought an 18” long cat toy was a crazy idea - but when I tested it on my models, they were wild with excitement!
2. We make the best coasters ever
Did you even know we make a Mug Mat? They’re one of my favorite products, and one customer actually called them “the best coaster ever made” - but I always forget to talk about them!
Smaller strips of fabrics are combined with larger fabrics to make our Mug Mats - reversible, waterproof oversized coasters that provide the perfect landing spot for a mug of coffee and a snack. Can you spot the one I use in my office, below? ;)
3. We offer Free Fabric Swatches
Smaller squares of fabric are perfect for offering you free Fabric Swatches. I would offer this regardless because I want you to painlessly choose a pattern and color that’s just right for your space. Bonus points for the fact that it helps me squeeze every little use out of fabric!
Despite these efforts to use every fabric scrap created by Janery, I still have bags and bags and bags of fabric scrap in my attic that I refuse to send to landfills. I’ve tested several options for turning them into washable, waterproof dog beds for animal shelters - but haven’t hit on just the right design for comfort and durability. . . . yet.
In the meantime, my attic is getting more insulated by the month. :)
PS: If getting scrap happy gives your heart the warm fuzzies, you’ll love this wedding dress designer’s effort to turn fabric trash into wedding gown bliss. Seeing facts about waste, and how cities and other retail companies and designers are trying to combat the problem was a real eye-opener. (And if I’m honest, totally inspirational.)
I know it’s already February, but it took time to find the words to thank you for last year - for your business, for your enthusiasm, and for being you.
I learned quite a bit in 2017, and I’m most grateful for Janery customers. Not just because we had our best year on record, not just because we got great press, but because of who you are and what we were able to do together.
You bring out the best in everyone.
If last year taught me anything, it’s that anything is possible. Thanks to your support - and your patience - I closed the year with an amazing partnership: I hired a local, ethical factory to help create my products, like my waterproof dog beds. This means more skilled labor jobs for Americans. It means more opportunities for those living in rural North Carolina and Detroit. (And this year in Maine, if all goes well.)
These are some of the most underemployed parts of the country. Sharing this part of the business was difficult for me, but it was made easier knowing that other people would benefit from it. This doesn’t mean I’m more hands-off. I’ve just brought more hands in. And that means big things for Janery, for working families here at home, and for you.
We donated over $1500 to local animal rescues and homeless outreach. By supporting Janery, you helped homeless veterans, comforted a sheltered pet, supported ethical manufacturing, and showed pride in American-made products and materials. You did it with style and without a second thought.
You really love pictures of cute pets.
I can always count on pictures of adorable animals to make me smile, and I’m glad you feel the same way. Thanks for tagging us on Instagram and chiming in on Facebook - our pack keeps growing, and it’s so much fun. (Have you entered our #JaneryStyle contest?)
You love a good deal.
Well, this one kind of applies to everyone. The reason I singled you out, though, is because I have some great news.
I did a bunch of nerdy data analysis, and I’ve lowered the price on throw pillows and covers. Want to add flair to a bedroom or your living room couch in mere minutes? Save even more time and money with our new Pillow Collections, now available in chic sets of two and three - priced at 10% less than individual pillows.
You aren’t afraid of real life.
I know this because Janery makes a dedicated, thoughtful effort to give everyone a soft place to land - and to make sure that place can be easily washed on occasion. You know you don’t need to sacrifice form for function, and you don’t sweat handprints or muddy paws or . . . anything else. That’s what I love about our products, and what I like about you.
Janery is a small business with a big heart, and I’m keenly aware that making great products and doing great things take more than just one person. Thanks for being such a vital part of the adventure last year.
What adventures will this year bring? Stay tuned, and stay cozy! :)
Here at Janery, I’m serious about using ethical manufacturing for our pet beds and home decor. Yes, it costs more, but I can’t ignore the working conditions of the people manufacturing my supplies and finished products.
Ever have one of those weeks that feels like a Charles Dickens novel?
The ones that open up by saying, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” and end 341 pages later leaving you wondering what happened?
Welcome to my world.
Last month I was beside myself for the mention in Southern Living, which featured our Charlie Cushion in the bright and beautiful Ginkgo fabric - as if that yellow wasn’t happy enough!
And the good news kept coming. Our Charlie Cushions were selling like hot cakes, and, judging by how busy I’ve been, you all love the style and direction we are going with our pet beds.
Then came some unexpected news: We sold out of our Large and Extra Large waterproof dog bed liners!
While this puts a damper (literally) on our waterproof Charlie Cushions, it has presented us with an opportunity to keep improving our flagship dog bed.
It’s just a matter now of finding a new American manufacturer who can match us value for value. And, since we’re already at the drawing board, we’re upgrading all product sizes and dimensions to create an even better bed.
We aren’t shedding tears about this, and you shouldn’t either - and this isn’t just because we’re out of most things waterproof.
It means you’re awesome, we’re growing, and better things are coming around the corner, including…
A huge sale on our remaining Large and Extra Large Charlie Cushions. While these dog beds are not waterproof, their designer covers are still completely washable, 100% fabulous, and only available for a limited time.
We’re organizing our inventory as we speak, but stay tuned; Janery VIPs will be given early access a week before the general public.
We’re all about making the most of it at Janery, which is why we save our scraps, drink lots of coffee, and refuse to sit down for long (even if our pillows are ridiculously comfortable).
If you only remember three things from this post, let it be these:
- You have excellent taste.
- We appreciate your bearing with us.
- If you aren't already a Janery VIP, you're missing out on the super-fabulous-but-super-secret sale. (But you can fix that by joining right here, right now!)