Awadallah Diab Abu Zaid studied law at university and has worked in the garment factory industry for almost 15 years. He has been part of the Better Work programme in Jordan since its launch in 2009. He looks forward to exporting the clothes produced by his team to the European Union in the near future.
For its Voices from the Supply Chain series, Better Work spoke to Awadallah in his office in Amman.
1. What does a typical day of work look like for you?
I start my day with the workers at 7.30am. I take a tour of the factory, to make sure that all the production lines are in order and that the workers do not have any issues. I do the rest of my work from the office. I have an open door policy so I am delighted to see any of the employees at any time.
2. What is the best thing about your job?
I like precision in work, and productivity.
3. What is the worst thing about your job?
The thing I dislike the most in the workplace is a lack of seriousness.
4. If you could change one thing in the garment sector, what would that be?
I have already managed to build a number of changes. I am the only Jordanian factory owner of a factory of this size. This is a first.
5. What is the biggest challenge currently facing the garment industry?
Communication with workers is key. This profession relies on dialogue and trust between workers and their employers.
6. How do you think the fashion industry will evolve over the next 10 years?
I think the sector worldwide will improve and develop, but I do not think that this will be the case in Jordan. The country faces a number of challenges, not in the law, but in those who enforce the law. The garment profession is not a static one, it is continuously moving to the countries that can best host it.
7. How do you personally decide what clothing to buy, and has your work with the fashion industry influenced the way you choose and buy clothes?
I buy them from any place where I find good quality items. Of course, now I have a greater eye for detail, and I know how to source quality garments.
8. Of the items you produce in your factory, which is your favourite?
I like jackets, because we are the only factory in Jordan producing this item of clothing. I think what makes the product special is its quality and brand name.
9. If you say something to the person who wears this item of clothing, what would it be?
I would be happy, and I would know that they had good taste.
10. What are your ambitions for the future?
For factories in the garment sector to be managed by Jordanian nationals, or at least 50 per cent of them. I think that if this were to be the case, Jordan could become one of the richest countries in the world.
This interview is part of Better Work’s ‘Ten Questions’ series, capturing views from people along the length of global garment supply chains – from factory floor to high street retailer – for their perspective on the industry, the issues it faces, and its future. Find out more and hear other perspectives here.