See, the thing is that with Voler, the chicken is, in fact, local and free range and grass fed, etc. And if our kits had names, they'd be called Colin and they'd be well-liked among the other kits at the factory--just like in the video.
OK. So let me explain it outside of the metaphor for everyone not in Portlandia. The Voler factory is NOT like what you might think of when you think of a clothing factory. You might think sweat shop-like conditions with foremans and hard hats, billions of sewing machines, low wages, anonymous employees, stereotype, etc. But in fact it was nothing like that. And, yes, Voler is a sponsor, but a damn good sponsor with damn good business practices. So today I'm interrupting my blogging routine of monologues about food, surgeries, and Toddlers in Tiaras to write a prose sonnet, if you will, about Voler.
On our tour, we started in the design department, which was filled with samples of each jersey they've every produced--several Tibco jerseys as well. The Macs were lined up in a U-shape and there were the typical funny posters and trinkets you might find in a design room. They showed the intricacies put into creating a design that could fit a jersey from a size x-small an XX-large. Turns out I'm a small. I've never been a small. I love Voler--just like all the other gals who thought they were mediums in the world.
|The print process|
Then we moved to the print room, the cutting room, and the sewing room. It seemed they had about 50 employees tops in all the departments total. The president and vice president walked around and talked to the employees in Spanish, knew EVERYONE's names, and introduced us to the heads of the departments. Turns out most of the employees had worked at Voler for 10+ years, some even 20. They had incentive programs, benefits, bonuses, etc. Gerardo showed us how he sews chamois into each pair of shorts and how they sew their signature flat seams on their shorts. Another employee showed us zippers, and another elastic cuffs. They were so fast and efficient and smiling and making jokes. They liked their jobs, their coworkers, and were proud of their products. That was cool because as a half-time corporate world person who walks fast to appear busy--I understand the importance of morale in producing quality.
I mean, besides the Voler clothes being pimp--or really am I just pimp in those hot pink Rudy shades???? Could it be both?--what really stood out to me was the way they treat their employees and how everything was made in the Grover Beach location we were standing in--not shipped in from China or Taiwan. (Well, the chamois was made in Italy...)
|My model pose|
And how when you buy Voler clothes, you're supporting wholesome business practices, and quality control, and a company that acts like a team rather than a sweat shop.
But maybe I just have a crush on Gerardo. Seriously, you should have seen the love and care he put into each stitch, showing us how he makes sure every seam lines up and there isn't pull/stretch...sigh...I told him he should put labels in the shorts that said, "Sewn with love by Gerardo."
|Gerardo sewing a flat seam|
So, the point is that after taking my tour, next time I buy cycling clothing--just like with my chicken, I'll ask if it is local.