Getting Ready for Production to Begin
During the last few weeks, we’ve been working closely with our partner factory in Leicester to get ready for production to start. At this point, it’s really important to think ahead and make sure that we’ve thought through everything in advance.
We need to make sure that labels are ready, that we can produce as planned to the right timescale and that we have a robust system for checking quality. To make sure that the dresses are consistent across production we work to a ‘sealed sample’. This is like a benchmark of quality for the entire production run and we’re currently waiting to see and sign our final sample off with the factory. Once we do, it will be all systems go!
A key meeting in Leicester
Another significant milestone for us this past month was being invited to an industry meeting to discuss textile production in Leicester. There were lots of key players present including high street brands Very, Asos and MissGuided who all manufacture in the city. These brands are all involved in the Fast Forward campaign, an initiative designed to build sustainable supply chains and make sure that garment workers are fairly treated.
The city council, trade unions, Labour Behind the Label and Hope for Justice were also represented. It was really interesting to hear how the brands wanted to work with these organisations for a better supply chain and we discussed some great ideas and strategies.
Find out more about the Fast Forward initiative here.
Asking the right questions
One thing that did surprise me was that there were no factory owners present at the meeting. Getting different parties together to talk through the challenges and opportunities of UK clothing manufacturing definitely feels like the right way forward. I raised this openly when the right moment came because factory owners are crucial in raising standards for everyone.
I also questioned whether buyers were really aware of how much the products sketched up by their designers truly cost to manufacture. Pricing products correctly and fairly is a simple process, not a dark art, as long as you understand the manufacturing process properly. Again, better knowledge and co-operation will help to improve the situation going forwards.
And in other news…
We’ve just met as a board of trustees having recently welcomed a few new members and restructured how we work. With our growth since the Crowdfunder project, it feels more important than ever to move into this new chapter with a strong structure of governance in place for the future.
We’ve also had meetings in Uganda and the ladies there are getting themselves set up on our training platform. We’ve been arranging for a new batch of dresses to be made in Nigeria too – please do watch out for these coming soon in the shop!
Explore the shop here.