Gilly and Sandy Ord, owners of Emthunzini Hats, recently returned from their first visit to the factory where Emthunzini Hats are made. The factory is located in the city of Ningbo in China, slightly south of Shanghai. It is considered to be a small to medium sized city with a population of 7 million!

The Ords were immediately struck by the extremely friendly customs and Chinese way of life. They were also impressed by the amazing green wonderland of lush vegetation, the many of waterways and canals, the wide roads and modern freeways. It belied anything they had ever imagined.

Skyscrapers and tall building are in abundance but they are decorated with fun murals and interspersed with with tall trees, lush vegetation and waterways so they don't feel remotely overpowering.

Within this beautiful city is the factory of Sunflower. This is where Emthunzini hats are manufactured by approximately 100 employees from all over China, happily working away at their jobs.

Handmade Hat Processes and Work Philosophy

As the company name implies there is an aura of bright smiling folk, some of whom have been with the company for more than 20 years. In fact, many employees encourage their family from the urban districts to come to the factory as they are extremely well provided for with good meals and many have accommodation on the premises. The company also refer to their employees as colleagues rather than workers.

The factory is owned by the third generation of the Yu family who have a vast amount of experience and knowledge of hat making.

There is a commitment to using renewable natural resources in the creation of products. Raffia fibre and other natural materials, are renewably harvested so that trees are unharmed. Production processes are also regularly evaluated to minimise waste. 

All hats are made by hand - weaving, crocheting and sewing. The weaving is outsourced to rural areas and then collected and finished at the factory. This means that work is also given to those outside of the factory where they can work from home.

Gilly and Sandy felt 100% reassured that the manufacturing processes and conditions under which Emthunzini Hats are made exceeded their expectations.

For further enquires about the trip and hat making processes please email gilly@sunhats.co.za.

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