Our journey began 25 years ago in Bali...
Today, our obsessive attention to finding the best
fit, to creating lasting quality, and to providing
stellar customer service - all combined with our
love for cool, casual-chic style - has brought us
many devoted followers. We are thankful!
But we are more than that - we are also wild
about beautiful meals, spontaneous road trips,
long novels and great music. We like to hike,
bike, explore, and grow.
And we are passionate about family, friends,
community, our planet and giving back.
It’s all connected.
Get to know us.....
We're more than a sweater company.
Meet the Founder & Designer,
"Wooden Ships began with the merging of many of my life-long loves - literature, travel, fashion, and the outdoors."
In 1992, armed with a literature degree from Harvard, a little experience in the non-profit world and almost no money at all, Colombian-born designer Paola Buendía went backpacking to Indonesia to see the rainforest and the orangutans in Borneo. She had just spent a year doing grassroots campaigning for the environment, recycling, and clean water. "People were less receptive to these issues than they are now," recalls Paola. "After a year, I was burned out."
"I set off to see the world, starting in Borneo.. and never left Indonesia. I was blown away by the nature, the sense of freedom, and the possibilities. During that trip, I also realized fashion could be more than a passion. It could be a part of the work of my life. I met so many creative people during my travels, I suddenly saw how it could all come together."
"After backpacking in Borneo and Java, I planned a quick stopover in Bali... I had been expecting a touristy place but it turned out to be the most incredible island. People come to Bali from all over the world to create - to paint, build, write, design. There is something so magically creative here.
And the Balinese are so talented but also very grounded and kind. It's an incredible culture.
Bali has been my home ever since."
Says Buendía, "To me, looking and feeling my best is connected to feeling completely comfortable. Knits have a slouchiness that make them immediately relaxed and casual. I love fashion and I love that within the fashion world, Wooden Ships gets to provide the 'comfort food.' Who doesn’t love a cozy sweater? It’s primal!"
We believe in Lean Production, a no-waste approach. All pieces are made-to-order, producing each piece only as we get an order for it. Rather than build inventory
with stock we “might” sell, the factory we work with only produces exactly what
is ordered by our customers. The result is that we don’t waste time or yarn on inventory that might never sell. All efforts go only into exactly what is ordered
so orders ship super fast...
With minimal returns and no inventory, we never have to “dump” merchandise as many fashion companies have to do. This is important to us. We want to produce
only pieces that will be cherished and worn.
Since we are not in a rush to produce masses of inventory, we have time to make each sweater lovingly and properly. We pay tremendous attention to details and
have a phenomenally low return rate. And less returns means less waste.
We receive many emails and rave reviews from consumers sharing why they love Wooden Ships. It's incredibly gratifying. We want to do a great job for our customers - it is a focus every day, every minute. We think about quality from the design process forward. Good quality is literally knit into each piece.
Wooden Ships gives to causes that are important to us - and there are many!
In 2014, we participated in a brilliant program to help the orangutans and the rainforest in Indonesia. Together with over 90,000 Avaaz members, $1 million
was raised to buy a 389-acre chunk of rainforest in Borneo. By purchasing it,
we helped protect 700 of the world’s last remaining endangered Bornean Orangutans... the reason Paola came to Indonesia in the first place.
Today we continue to support organizations protecting the orangutans of Indonesia. And we are grateful to be able to regularly donate to many others such as EarthJustice, Sea Shepherd International, Avaaz, Organic Consumers Organization, Naral, the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, the Environment Defense Fund, International Rescue Committee, Health in Harmony, Amazon Watch, and WildAid.
We work with a beautiful factory in Bali committed to ethical production. The factory is spacious, breezy and light-filled, creating a pleasant, clean and healthy environment for everyone.
In addition to generous vacation, holiday, and sick day benefits, free health care is provided to all factory employees.
Workers are supported with generous pro-family policies for maternity, bereavement, and time off for religious ceremonies, like the local Balinese custom to celebrate the 90-day milestone of a newborn baby.
The factory provides workers with extensive training and opportunities for growth. While knitting machines are traditionally operated by men, the factory initiated a program to train women and break that culture barrier. Today more than 60% of the knitters are women.
Our Carbon Footprint
Wooden Ships was born from of a love of the outdoors. That still drives us
today and is an important value for the factory that produces our goods.
Solar Power - 85% of the energy used to produce Wooden Ships comes
from the sun!
Recycling - We recycle all paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, and metal at
our factory in Bali, and donate all yarn wastage to be reused locally for
stuffing in pillows and dolls.
Composting - We compost all organic materials.
Waste Water - a German-standard filtration system ensures that all water
that leaves the factory is clean and won't damage the environment.
Air conditioners have been retrofitted to use Hycool, a non-toxic,
non-flammable, biodegradable eco-friendly alternative to freon.
We present our wholesale collection early enough that retailers can order
with enough lead time to allow us to ship by sea, thereby saving the planet from more CO2.
Did you know that by 2018, nearly 30% of all garbage in the USA was made up
of packaging waste? With the increase in online shopping, that number just gets higher every year.
In order to combat this, we use eco-friendly oxo-degradable plastic bags. These bags are produced with an additive (d2w) that makes the plastic decompose far more rapidly than normal plastic. Our plastic bags will not be on the planet for hundreds and thousands of years! Information about this is printed on all our bags (with eco-friendly dyes!)
When applicable, we do bulk packing rather than single-piece packing to minimize the amount of plastic used. This is another advantage of producing by order - we don't put stock on the shelves, so we don’t need to package each piece in plastic.
Additionally, our goods are vacuum packed to minimize the size and number of boxes we ship - this reduces our carbon footprint.