May has been a month of real highs and lows. We were delighted to receive the first batch of dresses from the factory but disappointed to find that some of them had faults. It’s always a challenge to balance robust quality checking against meeting a deadline and nearly unheard of to get a production run that goes without a hitch.
Nevertheless, our promise to the customer is that every dress will be to the highest standard so we needed to put the faults right. That lead us to the next question… At whose cost?
Who benefits, who pays, who decides?
In the world of big business, it’s common practice for retail brands to put the cost of any errors onto the supplier. Factories can be faced with fines, penalties or thousands of items of rejected, unpaid-for stock if the goods they make don’t meet the standard that’s been agreed.
Many would argue that if the factory hasn’t followed the instructions or checked the production and stock properly then this is entirely fair, but I’ve been considering the ramifications of this ugly status quo.
As we think about money and power, John A Powell encourages us to ask “Who benefits, who pays, who decides?” These are powerful questions and since one of the goals of the Dorcas Dress Project is to show a better and more humane approach to making garments, we wanted to include the factory in asking how to put the faults right. We want to empower them to help make decisions when things don’t go according to plan, rather than dictate what happens while we withhold the purse strings.
Everyone, both customer (in this case, DDP), supplier (the factory), the garment worker and the end customer need to win. That requires us to work together and this is what we’re working on right now to make sure we fix the faults, learn for next time and send out a beautiful run of dresses.
See the Leiceseter line of DDP dresses here.
English classes begin
Our second English class took place last night with a small group of students, five people, garment workers along with one spouse. We are delighted with this initial interest and hope interest grows as we continue to publicise the event. This is a great start to our new initiative and we’re looking forward to bringing you more news about it in the coming weeks.