Walking the path of Ugg Boots from sheepskin to foot

May 21, 2014

I bought a pair of Ugg boots a few years back at Big 5 for less than $30 to keep my feet warm.

I didn’t consider where the boots were made, and I never intended wearing them to go shopping or outside. Since I work at home and save money by leaving the heat off on cold days, my feet get cold so it made sense to wear a pair.

Uggs don’t appear designed for outdoors, yet I see many young American women looking sharp shopping in Ugg boots. It seems to be a fad that isn’t going away, and I wanted to know where Ugg boots came from and what it cost to make a pair.

I discovered the previous video on YouTube of a factory in China where the material and labor come together to make Uggs. The conclusion of the description below the video says, “These boots are the most cheap and excellent quality boots in the world.”

The New York Times recently reported “The salaries of factory workers in China are still low compared to those in the United States and Europe: the hourly wage in southern China is only about $1.19 (15.2 RMB) per hour.” Chinese factory workers often work overtime as long as sixteen hours a day six days a week—and many Chinese are not complaining because they work long hours. Why? They want those extra hours to earn more.

For a comparison, the US federal minimum hourly wage is $7.25, which pays about $15,000 a year for a full time job not counting overtime or hidden benefits if there are any.

By the way, Numbeo.com reports that consumer prices in the United States are more than 46% higher than in China. In fact, restaurant prices in the US are more than 75% higher than in China.

In China, the Ugg factory workers in that video are probably earning less than $3,700 (US) annually and working twice the hours to keep those Ugg prices down so American women and men could buy a cheap pair to look stylish while shopping.


This is a video explaining how to detect fake Ugg boots

After I watched this video, I checked the Ugg boots I bought from Big 5, and discovered they were fake. Does that mean they weren’t made in China?

Who makes a profit from the real Ugg boots? Deckers Outdoor Corporation holds the Ugg trademark in more than 100 countries worldwide and reported sales of $689 million US dollars under the Ugg brand in 2008 and sales were up in 2009. Source: Source: Wiki.Ugg Boots

How many Americans would be willing to pay four or five times the price for a pair of Ugg boots so those low paying minimum wage jobs could come to the US?

Then, how many Americans are willing to work for the federal minimum wage without benefits? Not many since there are more than eleven million illegal aliens in the US working those jobs.

So, if you live in the US, next time you hear political ads or someone bashing China for stealing jobs from Americans, look in a mirror.

The Walking Company sent me an e-mail advertising “Zealand” slippers (another “Ugg” style product) on sale at 70% off.  Instead of paying almost $65 a pair (not counting the sales tax), I paid less than $20, bought four pair and discovered when the shipment arrived that the “Zealand” product line was made in China instead of New Zealand.  But that shouldn’t surprise anyone because even most Ugg shoes are produced in China.

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Lloyd Lofthouseis the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Working in China

October 1, 2013

The China Law Blog compared China’s employment laws to those of the United States. Reading this post was a revelation, because I did not know that Chinese workers had more job protection—if not higher pay—than most U.S. workers, and I was curious how this came about.

I discovered the reason was due to the transition from state controlled to private owned businesses.  Since 1978—when China implemented its open-door policy—the country went from no privately owned small businesses to more than 10 million small to medium-sized private enterprises that represent about 90 percent of all businesses.

In addition, The Diplomat.com reports, “China’s private sector now comprises some 70% or more of China’s economy …”

And before anyone criticizes China for paying low wages to migrant factory workers who moved to the cities from rural China, Bloomberg says, “Rural spending power has been lifted by wages earned by peasants working in cities. “

“Wage levels in China [while low compared to the United States] have increased continually over the last two decades as the economy has developed and the private sector has created new employment opportunities. … In 2012, a total of 25 provinces increased their minimum wage by an average of 20.2 percent.”  Source: China Labour Bulletin

Prior to this transition, state workers didn’t have to worry about a job. Once the transition began, significant numbers of workers started losing jobs. Since China’s constitution says the government’s role is to serve the people, the government changed the laws to make it more difficult to fire a worker offering better job protection.

In fact, the Library of Economics and Liberty says, “China appears to have come through the world economic crises better than many countries. … As Europe and the United States slump, the CPC can speedily launch infrastructure projects or shift millions of migrant workers from one locality to another.”

“China’s employment law system is quite different from the U.S. The main difference is that the U.S. is an employment at will system, which means you can terminate employees at any time for pretty much any reason. China’s system is the opposite. The Chinese system is a contract employment system. … An employee can only be terminated for cause and cause must be clearly proved. … This whole situation makes the employment relationship and the employment documents much more adversarial than is customary in the U.S.” Source: China Law Blog

Discover China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline