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Sealand was founded on two core principles: First, to do good for the environment and, second, to do good for our community. As a business operating out of South Africa, we have acknowledged and accepted the responsibility we owe to our own community. To show our commitment, in all our bags, we proudly include the personal stamp of the individual person who made it. While this provides a desirable handmade touch to our products, there is more behind each stamp than personalisation.
We took the decision early on our business journey to keep our processes as manual as possible. As of 2019, the official unemployment rate in South Africa is a staggering 29%, and we realised that, by starting a manufacturing business, we could play an employment creating role. Today, Sealand is 30 employees strong and growing. We will continue to create jobs wherever we can, and to steer clear of technologies that would take them away.
While employment is vital to individuals and communities alike, it is as important that employees earn enough money. There is a clear difference between a minimum wage and a living wage. In many countries, particularly in the third world, minimum wage does not empower people to live well. We have taken a decision to pay our employees what we believe they deserve. This has equated to near double the going wage compared to those in similar positions in Cape Town. We have further implemented incentive programs which allow employees to earn additional income. We are confident that, by the end of each month, Sealanders are walking away with a living wage.
We believe there is more to work than work. We have always tried to establish an environment that creates meaningful relationships which go beyond simply being co-workers. One of the most consistent comments by our Studio Crew is that they love working at Sealand because we are all family. This may be a cliché but we firmly believe it to be true. We are lucky enough to work in an environment with people of different ages, cultures, and religions, and we are constantly endeavoring to make Sealand feel like a common home to everyone.
The personal stamp in every bag we produce does not simply represent the name of a random person. It represents our continued effort to accept our social responsibility, and to better the lives of our employees. The stamp allows our machinists to take full ownership of what they are making, and to feel pride that people around the world know who they are and are blown away by what they do.
See bio's of our full Studio Crew here