When will my T-shirts arrive?
Somewhere in the middle of October!! We thank you for your patience and understanding in receiving your beautiful t-shirt (which is not a t-shirt) in a flexible time frame. Given that this is a brand new startup we needed some time to get everything fully operational.
What is it made off?
For the T-shirts we use organic cotton from India. Our initial goal was to use organic cotton from Greece, but we have been told by everybody in the industry that this doesn’t exist at the moment. We keep looking!!
Where is it made?
The yarn is knitted into fabric in Greece by Yarntex, after that it is dyed at Fieratex. The cutting of the fabric is done by George Asvestas and his family company. While Polystamp takes care of the printing. The last step is the sewing and this is done by our awesome team at Not a Factory in collaboration with Naomi in Thessaloniki, Greece.
What is the situation like for refugees in Greece?
Unfortunately the situation for refugees in Greece continues to be extremely difficult, and without a longterm solution. Many people do not know that there are an estimated 60.000 refugees still in Greece – many of whom still live in camps. These camps are extremely isolated, often far from any major city, or work. And while living in camp is far from ideal, it does provide some short term security as refugees are given living space, food, and 120 euro per month. However, this is not permanent. Refugees in camp must eventually file for permanent residency, and once that paperwork has been established they have a maximum of 6 months to live in camp before they must leave and the economic support stops. Then refugees are in the same situation as so many unemployed Greeks in a country with a 20% unemployment rate. And, unlike other Northern European countries, there is no state welfare, job assistance etc. to turn to for assistance – and refugees have the further disadvantage of the language barrier. This is why it is crucial to find innovative ways to provide employment to refugees in Greece.
What are the challenges you see to make this project successful?
Given that Greece is still in a severe economic crisis, there are many challenges in getting “Not a Factory” established there. Greece is honestly a bit of a bureaucratic maze of taxes, and laws, which are constantly changing. This is why many companies do not want to operate in Greece, but we still feel it is possible to create a sustainable business there by relying primarily on online sales to other parts of the world, and we are finding resources to help us navigate the bureaucracy. The uncertain, and unpredictable nature of the lives of the refugees we are hiring could potentially be a challenge too, as it’s possible they will need to change location, or country at any time. This is the reality of the lives of refugees. We also understand that past the crowdfunding phase, “Not a Factory” will need to become a self sufficient business. This will need to happen by the 4th month of production as our crowdfunding goal will only take us through the first 3 months. This is indeed a challenge, but we believe this is possible if we continue to grow our network of online, and in-store sales, and we thank you for your support in sharing and connecting this project.
How can I help?
By buying one of our tshirts you are enabling us to hire refugees and provide a salary in a country where this is extremely difficult. We also appreciate any creative ways of sharing this project, new ideas, or connections that will enable us to get “Not a Factory’s” name and message out there. If you are interested in working with us, or helping out in any way, please get in touch with us. We’d also encourage you to stay informed in your own country as there are many refugees in need of assistance in so many parts of the world. And there are still many opportunities to volunteer with many different organisations in Greece. As the refugee crisis has been less and less in the news, the number of volunteers has also fallen, but there is still great need for willing hands to help.