Those of you who have followed Alabama Chanin for years know that this company was built around the concepts of expert craftsmanship, beauty, function, and utility. Focusing on using sustainable, organic, and local materials and labor, we have committed ourselves to producing quality products made in the USA.
As we grew, the company developed a life of its own that emerged as a multi-fold organization—while staying true to the original mission and business model. We encouraged organic growth, without forcing ourselves to fit into a traditional mold. We recently began referring to what has emerged as the “Alabama Chanin Family of Businesses”—a heartfelt nod to the Zingerman’s approach and their Community of Businesses. Each of our divisions has individual specialties, yet all fall under the same mission established for Alabama Chanin. Our philosophy guides each arm and we all work together toward the same goal: creating beautiful products in sustainable ways that enrich our customers, community, and co-workers.
From our mission statement:
At Alabama Chanin, we preserve traditions of community, design, producing, and living arts by examining work and life through the act of storytelling, photography, education, and making.
Thoughtful design. Responsible production. Good business. Quality that lasts.
A guide to our growing family of businesses:
Alabama Chanin—the heart and head of our family of businesses—began early in 2000 with the creation of hand-sewn garments made from cotton jersey fabric—and retains the same intention and integrity today. Heirloom pieces are made from 100% organic cotton, sewn by hand through a group of talented artisans who each run their own business, in their own time, and in their own way. The company strives to maintain sustainable practices—across its disciplines—and create sustainable products, holding ourselves to the highest standards for quality.
We are committed to making with a “good, clean, and fair” philosophy—inspired by the Slow Food movement and rooted in Slow Design.
The School of Making was a natural outgrowth of our Studio Book Series and desire to maintain a sustainable, multi-faceted business. Choosing to open source our methods and patterns aided in our efforts to make our products more accessible to a wider audience. The Alabama Studio Series books are comprehensive guides to our processes and techniques for hand-making garments and home goods. The School of Making DIY Kits provide the individual maker with fully prepared packages with all materials necessary to make their own hand-sewn garment.
After learning that organic cotton fabric and other sustainable materials can be difficult to source, we began offering the same 100% organic cotton jersey fabric and all of the same supplies used to make The School of Making products for sale directly to our customers. Workshops are also offered throughout the year and across the country that bring our methods, materials, and techniques directly to those who want to make for themselves.
The studio space that we have called home since 2008 now not only houses our design and production studios, but also includes a full-service café, the flagship Alabama Chanin store, and a designated Workshop space.
Our café is open from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm each weekday and features seasonal menus with foods sourced from local and/or organic ingredients. The Alabama Chanin store is open from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm each weekday. Guided Factory tours are offered at 2:00 pm each day.
The Factory also hosts an event space that can be used by the community, with the ability to cater small lunches, host local or traveling art exhibits, music events, and other exciting happenings.
The A. Chanin label is a machine-made line of clothing that is both an integral part of Alabama Chanin and a stand-alone entity. This line embraces our company’s commitment to sustainability and local, hometown manufacturing.
A. Chanin offers a wide range of organic cotton products at an accessible price point, allowing us to offer sustainable garments to a wider range of customers. The materials and strict production standards are the same with A. Chanin as with our Alabama Chanin line. This machine line allows us to utilize our region’s long history and wealth of experience with textile production to the benefit of our customers and our community.
The Factory is housed in Florence’s Industrial Park, in a building once home to textile producer Tee Jays Manufacturing Company. Under Tee Jay’s management, this 1982-built facility was called Building 14. We have honored that history by naming our machine-made design and manufacturing division Building 14. It is a callback to the rich history of our building and our region within the history American textile manufacturing.
Building 14 Design + Manufacturing Services was created to facilitate production for other companies who wish to produce responsibly, using organic cotton. The A. Chanin line is made within Building 14. The facility also has the resources to source materials and physically produce goods for other companies that otherwise would not have the ability to produce using organic materials.
With an emphasis on sustainable culture, education, and quality goods, the Alabama Chanin family of businesses is working to create a community of sharing and idea exchange, healthy growth, and a love of things that last. We look forward to nurturing each branch of our “family tree” and potentially adding new branches, as the opportunities arise. Thanks to each of you for growing with us and supporting each new effort.
Always enjoy reading your journal!!! An organic , sustainable philosophy… I love it!
I have been waiting for this post! I am a huge fan of everything Alabama Chanin. I am so interested in your designs, philosophies and business model. We need more businesses like yours in America. Thank you for being a trailblazer and for all the hard work that happens behind the scenes. Have you ever considered consulting and educating more people (like me) and businesses that want to get involved, be more sustainable and share in your values? I mean on a large scale, all over the country and outside of the journal. There has to be room for an educational arm of AC right?!? Just a thought for you 😉
Keep up the great work…it’s working!
We have done some consulting in the past, through our media services. Our workshops are also a great place for people to learn more about our business model and immerse themselves in the Alabama Chanin atmosphere.
Please, please, please, don’t ever compromise your wonderful way of doing things….