Brands (us included) love telling stories about the farms where the cashmere came from or solar-powered factories where the denim was spun. However, the last mile of the journey often remains invisible because it’s the unglamorous stretch handled by “third-party logistics” firms, aka 3PLs. If this conjures visions of big blank warehouses and boring stretches of highway, you would not be wrong unless, of course, you’re talking about ours.
Since we began trading almost two years ago, we’ve been working with Raj Services, a 3PL in Paris. They’re located in Bagnolet, considered a “banlieue,” which technically means “suburb” but comes with a political valence lacking in the English term. To understand the banlieue in the political imagination of France, just watch Romain Gravas' recent film, Athena, followed by the legendary La Haine.
However, for a more true-to-life encounter, accompany us to our 3PL, Raj Services, surrounded on three sides by beautiful public parks and a direct subway ride or short bike ride from our headquarters in the 9th. Their storage facilities are located underneath a complex of residential and mixed-use high-rises that are also home to the Federation des Bikers de France, a mosque called Olivier de la Paix (Olive Tree of Peace), and a community rooftop garden.
They were founded in 2002 by Raja Singharajah as a scooter delivery service and now employ 30 folks from the neighborhood and surrounding areas. They’ve aggressively reduced plastic in their operations and are rapidly converting their fleet to being 100% electric. After meticulously packing them with our compostable mailers, they usually hand our beautifully taped boxes to international shippers. However, they still offer same-day personalized delivery to Paris by scooter.
As you would imagine, for a storage facility in an underground urban location, space at Raj is very precious, and that’s just one of the many reasons we're so careful not to overproduce. Eliminating overproduction completely requires radically shifting consumer behavior and global supply chains to a made-to-order model. Until then, we're happy to have a partner like Raj making space for our gear and playing such a vital role in our business.
Photos by Gustave Evrard (@gustavevrard)