Wicked Rose is a woman-owned manufacturing company located in Vancouver, BC, that creates high-quality, environmentally conscious, and ethically made activewear for women in martial arts. Wicked Rose, which until now has been producing their clothing apparel in Langley, BC, was looking to reduce their manufacturing costs to bring their prices in line with industry standards for martial artists. The company wanted to do research on different foreign manufacturers, to ensure that the safety of the workers, their wages and quality of life were of the utmost importance, and to possibly look for more environmentally friendly alternatives to the fabric they currently use.
Through the Level UP remote internship program, Wicked Rose partnered with Jeremy Marco, a 4th-year Finance Student at Western University, to help them carry out the research on their behalf. Jeremy, who was already highly interested in mixed martial arts, and had prior experience in sourcing clothing, was a great fit for the project.
To get things started, Jeremy was provided with a list of three potential manufacturers in Thailand and Pakistan with whom Wicked Rose had no prior contact, and was tasked with reaching out to them to see if they would be in a position to manufacture what the company was looking for. The conversations Jeremy had with the manufacturers involved discussing fabrics, sublimation, cuts, and everything else needed to make these garments acceptable to Wicked Rose.
Jeremy reached out to 8 different overseas manufactures, two of whom Wicked Rose short-listed as potential suppliers. Through discussions with one Thailand-based manufacturer, Jeremy and Christina Morrow, the founder of Wicked Rose, were able to validate the ethical manner in which the factory's workers are treated. They were also pleased to discover that, like Wicked Rose, this manufacturing facility is primarily made up of women employees.
Although Wicked Rose hasn't made a final manufacturing decision yet, Jeremy's work has given them the information that will ultimately help them choose a manufacturer who is aligned with their needs and values.
Jeremy reflects on the impact of the Level UP remote internship program, and speaks of the importance of getting real world experience, and of a full-time employment opportunity after his studies as a direct result of his experience.
For Jeremy, the experience was extremely valuable. “Being a student and getting this kind of real-world experience, that's worth its weight in gold," he said. His only regret is that he didn't find out about the Level UP program sooner! Through his project with Wicked Rose, Jeremy was able to gain hands-on experience that he would not have been able to get in a classroom setting, earned some money for his work, and obtained the real world professional experience that will help him hit the ground running after he graduates.
Christina Morrow, Founder of Wicked Rose, shares the impact of the Level UP remote internship program from the employer perspective, and how it provides equitable access to resources for employers looking to get their business off the ground.
Thank you to Jeremy for sharing his experience on Riipen. To learn more about how you can get started with the Level UP remote internship program as a student or employer, visit the website here. Stay up to date with the latest in higher education, experiential learning, and the future of work, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter, The Riipen Report.
Riipen Level UP program is funded by the Government of Canada's Innovative Work-Integrated Learning (I-WIL) Initiatives program. The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.