I asked you to send me questions and this week I got a doozy. Bev, a customer of mine, asked about the working conditions in the factory where I get my Indian glass beads. Excellent question! One I avoided asking myself in the beginning for fear of the answer.
In my last post, I told you how my supplier from India came for a visit quite a few years ago. While he was here, he asked Allen and I if we wanted to see pictures of his factory. Why? Well, he was very proud of the working conditions! Now don't get me wrong, the conditions are not what we're used to in the United States, but they certainly were NOT the horrors you might read about on the net. Lampworkers sat on the floor in front of a torch. They had eye protection and tons of ventilation from open windows. I asked long ago if he employed children and he was rather insulted by the question...the answer was "Absolutely not!".
While I realize the working conditions are not as good as ours, it's just reality that I could never afford to buy my lampwork beads from the United States. I've contacted numerous lampworkers and the usual discount is about 20% off their retail prices. I can't run a business on that low a discount.
It's certainly up to you if you want to buy beads from India, but I hope this post will reassure you that the conditions in the factory where I buy my beads from in India are pretty good and no child labor is used. If I pulled my contract and discontinued our Indian glass, I'd be putting a lot of people out of work as well.
Keep those questions (even the challenging ones) coming!