We started West Path with the idea that we can make great products in a responsible way.
On a surf trip to Mexico, we noticed there was a lot of people who wanted to work, but who couldn’t find anyone to employ them. We started knocking on church doors in Rosarito to see if there were any people in the congregation who knew how to sew and wanted to work, but who couldn’t find a job. To our surprise, there were many people in this situation. Most of whom were not employed because they had children or elderly family to take care of at home. We went back the next week and gave the church sewing machines, raw material, and sewing patterns and showed them how to make our surfboard bags. The result was our first Baja Bag.
The gratitude of these women and the community of people we have interacted with in Mexico inspired us to continue with a business that not only sells great products but has a mind for people who create them.
As we have grown, we continue with this focus on responsible sourcing: our second line of board bags come from family artisans in a small town in Portugal, and we even source handbags from a local seamstress here in California. When there is no other option but to use a factory to produce our products, we have used only factories that are audited by independent third parties for safe working conditions. Additionally, we are incorporating more recycled or environmentally friendly materials into our products (such as vegan leather).
As we plan for the future, we have big ideas in the works: from creating a network of local independent seamstresses to working with a Free Trade Certified factory that gives back to their workers. We're excited about what’s next.
We care about the environment and we care about the people who make our products. This will never change, as our commitment to responsible sourcing is the founding bedrock of our company.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for shopping for great products, made by people who care.
Sep 27, 2021
Our site doesn't enable us to post replies to each comment, but we're happy to answer any and all questions via email. To answer a few from the comments below: we pay the workers for our board bags directly ourselves :). We provided the machinery and fabric, patterns, etc. ourselves and they work in their own homes or the Church. We pay them per bag, and if someone was to sew 8 hours/day making bags, they would be making something like 4x-5x minimum wage for the northern Mexico region (5x-7x mainland minimum wage). We also bring over a thousand dollars worth of Christmas presents to them and their families during the holidays (they need it more than we do). We also do certified, third party inspections of any factory we use to ensure safe and fair working conditions. We have also seen pictures and videos of independent artisans working to ensure they are legitimate. We have landed 2 fair trade factories since this article has been posted as well.
If you have more questions, please put them below or email us, we’re happy to help and are happy you guys are engaged and doing due diligence :)