Hela Clothing, Sri Lanka’s leading global apparel solutions provider recently produced and shipped their one millionth garment from their factory in Ethiopia, an impressive feat considering the company only commenced operations in the country in June 2017. With 800 workers and 70,000 production hours logged, it is the most efficient factory in Ethiopia representing 66% of the country’s total knit women’s underwear exports.
Commenting on this momentous occasion, Group Board Director Dominic McVey said: “We are proud of achieving this milestone in such a short period of time. It is a testament to our operational expertise and execution. It is also a testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire Ethiopia team who made all this possible.
Following this success, we are looking at increasing our investment in the region and raising our workforce to 2,000 people. This will help us to further reduce lead times, increase output and provide our clients with better customised solutions. We truly believe in Africa as the driver for growth in apparel solutions, we are committed to continue investing and expanding in the region. We are the largest intimates apparel exporter in East Africa and aim to have a workforce of 8,000 people by the end of the year through our plants in Kenya and Ethiopia.”
Keeping to the founding tenets of the company, Hela practices sustainable manufacturing in Ethiopia which ensures that the resources of the company are aligned with the needs of the community. Hela provides their employees with meals, accommodation and transport. In a country where 8.5 million people are facing severe hunger and distance to work can be a substantial barrier to employment, these services can have a widespread positive impact on those who utilise them.
Hela also provides their employees in the country with comprehensive training for their respective jobs, from machine operators to management trainees – vital in a region with no extensive apparel manufacturing background – which gives them valuable transferrable skills that will allow them to earn a living wage.
“Since beginning operations in Ethiopia we have endeavoured to balance profitable growth with caring for people. This latest milestone is further proof that our sustainable approach to apparel manufacturing and ability to adapt strategies to local conditions allows us to better cater to our clients’ needs,” said Hela Ethiopia CEO Keith Harding.
Hela Clothing is a $200 million company focused on apparel manufacturing, design and innovation.
With 12 factories across four countries and a workforce of 15,000 across the globe, Hela leads the industry in ethical and sustainable working environments. Hela works closely with leading brands in the US and Europe and provides design-to-delivery solutions in the intimate, sleep and casual wear product range.