Remember I blog about the Bata Shoe Singapore Spring Summer Preview earlier in March?
I was one of the four top voted bloggers who won a trip to Jakarta, Indonesia to visit one of the Bata factory in the region to see how their shoes are produced. The other three bloggers are William, Regina and Rita:
I was quite excited about this trip because I like visiting factories.
We take many of the things around us for granted. For every little object surrounding us, someone, somewhere has to design, produce and ship them to where we are. Take a pair of Bata shoes for example. They are pretty reasonably priced, usually under S$50 for non leather shoes. Where do they come from? Who made them? How did they arrive here in Singapore?
Like most of my peers, I grew up wearing Bata school shoes. For this trip, I got the rare opportunity to visit one of their factories myself and witness how Bata shoes are produced.
This is not a tourist-oriented showcase factory like the Nissin noodle factory I visited in Japan or the Nestle Caille chocolate factory in Switzerland – it is the real deal. Paying tourists won’t get to do this visit, which makes it all the more special.
I took lots of photos at the factory. You can see all of them in this public facebook album I posted. Here are some selected photo to narrate the shoe production processes:
Despite the low prices of Bata shoes, the factory I visited was not a sweatshop operation. The workers work in safe conditions and the factory managers told us the workers are all union protected.
Nonetheless, the work in the factory is still repetitive, manual labour. I definitely cannot imagine myself wearing a gas mask, working in the plastic shoes moulding section for even a day. I am too pampered in my day job as it is.
What I did takeaway from this trip is a good dose of humility and an appreciation for all the hard work and dedication others have to put in in another part of the world to present me with a pair of reasonably-priced, quality Bata shoes.
Visiting a Bata shoe shop no longer feels the same way for me. I actually feel closer to the brand, after having done the factory tour! 🙂