continuing from where i left off.........
Collection complete, (in my opinion) 19 beautiful garments ready to face the world. It has been a challenging 6months, not to mention the previous years of research to get to this stage, but I have enjoyed every minute and feel enthusiastic about the relationships i have formed on the way. After all, that is exactly what sustainable business is about... forming good relationships with your supply chain and all those that contribute towards making things happen.
one of my more recent ventures and most rewarding, is finding the lovely team that is to manufacture my garments. I have a team of 6 seamstresses, cutters and packaging people who are so enthusiastic about the Beau-Couture collection. I have been training them at my local factory for around about a month now. Previously they worked in the textile industry making life jackets,and having had a bit of a hard time with the recession haven't managed to secure new projects for a time. It is so rewarding working within my local community, teaching them new skills and seeing the progression....it isnt easy, hard work in fact. but I can see how this opportunity is to great benefit to all involved.
Also I have learnt alot about valuing people in general, not that I didn't before.. but its about the connection you build with people and actually being there, seeing the work taking place, the environment in which people work and the opportunities everyone should be able to have and seeing people achieve and continue to learn and be challenged and stimulated to get excited about work because some one has bothered to care, bothered to be interested and bothered to be considerate.... is a wonderful thing. I can see why exploitation of worker happens if you never meet them, (out of sight, out of mind) which is why I do believe you should meet your workers, meet the team and see their faces.....if they are not smiling why not.????
I see my team of 6 and their faces light up as i walk through the door of the factory each tuesday and thursday, it is such a lifting feeling, and one i didnt expect.
I thought the manufacturing process was going to be so so daunting. i put it off for as long as possible, not wanting to have someone snatch the fabric from my cradling arms, to knock up a half decent version of my loved and cherished sample.
It took me ages to find a manufacture that would share my vision and that I could feel comfortable working with. But I found them and best of all it will works because I didn't compromise. i didn't take the easy route, i didn't sell out and send if off to a far a way country. I stuck to my values and.....struck lucky...its on my door step, local and within the community!
Each of the 6 all have their strengths and weaknesses-dont we all.!!! arguably some of these things are more challenging, for example the majority of the people who work in this factory have a disability. In my team we have to combat hearing disabilities and one is deaf. I have not worked with anyone deaf before or anyone that is really hard of hearing. what i came to realise is actually once we got going...... i was the odd one out. They had worked together for years and muddled though perfectly well with a mixture of sign language, lip reading and alot of nudging, pulling and demonstrating to one another how to do things. If anyone had to adapt, i think actually ,it was me. I now join in, attempting to learn sign, i making sure i always look at the person im talking to, so they can read my lips, i always carry a scrap of paper and fabric, so at any minute I can visually demonstrate what I require to be done. I really enjoy this way of working. its really personal, its close and the team are hilarious, joking all the time in good gesture....best of all....we are all achieving our goals.