Durham apparel company moves manufacturing out of Sri Lanka
School House, a collegiate apparel company in based in Durham, North Carolina, moved its manufacturing from Sri Lanka to North Carolina earlier this year to make its items for the 2012 line at a local Durham-based manufacturer, local papers said. The company which supplies apparel to more than 100 campus bookstores, including Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill, Harvard University and Yale University, said the expenses incurred with manufacturing abroad, the shipping costs and the time lag between design and production, convinced School House to move manufacturing back to the United States.
School House which started in 2008, originally contracted with a factory in Sri Lanka to manufacture its clothing, and emphasized paying workers a living wage – three times the industry average there.
Rachel Weeks, CEO of School House, projected that sales will continue to rise and will hit hit the $1 million mark in 2011 and climb to $1.8 million in 2012. The company is trying to complete a $300,000 round of financing from private investors.
Heath Shuler, a Democratic Congressman from North Carolina, is a regular visitor to Sri Lanka, and recently went to Sri Lanka on a ‘fact-finding mission’ paid by Sri Lanka and coordinated by the US State Department under the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange programme.