Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

The work is paying off

This blog has had quite a few posts in the past about how difficult things have been. And you, lovely people, have read them. So it’s only fair that I share the joy now there is some.

At the moment, I am in a brilliant mood. The last two weeks have been great. I had a much needed holiday, and came back refreshed and burning to work, and it’s all going well. The 25 women are all now waiting for their English assessments, which should be complete by the end of next week, and then the English training will begin, and we’ll understand how long it will take to get them all comfortable with the language. There’s a meeting scheduled for next Wednesday with me, the English trainers, and the sewing trainers, and we should, by the end of that, understand when at what level the women’s English needs to be for the sewing training to begin. Once we understand that, we can book the sewing training, and then understand when it will end, and therefore, how long it will be until we can start actually selling. This will mean we’ll know exactly when we can take on the full premises, and will mean I can properly talk to distributors about when we can ship to them.

The sewing trainers, a wonderfully brilliant woman and her excellent daughter, are also going to start work on some designs so we can pick the ones we like and get some samples made up so, again, I can have proper conversations with distributors. A few want to see samples, so I want to get them for them. We’re talking about going to see a supplier to actually choose the fabrics – exciting! For an underwear lover like me, a warehouse full of laces and pretty things will be a dream come true.

There’s a possibility of more funding on the horizon too, to cover training, which I am busy on today and will finish the first draft paperwork this afternoon. This is through a Sector Skills Council Women and Work pathway, which sounds great – and I’m arranging a meeting with me, them, and Rob Bentley from Wessex Partnerships, who has been brilliantly, generously supportive at no cost so far. There’s still not a great deal (that’s a slight overstatement) of funding to pay me, but I am somehow managing to get by, just! (I hate to beg, but if you want to donate and keep me in work, you can do so here http://whomadeyourpants.co.uk/support.html I do love this job and I’d hate to have to stop doing it and get another job just to pay the silly old bills). I’m looking into getting a volunteer in to help with fundraising – chairty work is a hard sector to get into, so if anyone wants any voluntary work to show as experience, I hoep we can help each other.

The immensely talented and generous Helen and Allegra are keeping the books ticking over, and we now (almost) have proper financial controls and reporting in place. I’ve a meeting with an accountant who knows Industrial and Provident Societies quite well next week. He’ll be able to tell me how much he’d charge us for getting our Annual returns sorted, which means I can add that into the funding bids – I’m struggling to put them together as I’m missing a whole lot of raw data at the moment. And I’ve a meeting with Coffin Mew coming up who will be our legal support, should we need them.

The music activity is going well – the fab ScarletBLONDE are playing on the 23rd May at the Half Moon, Putney (come along! should be a fun night) in support of pants, and the album looks great – cover artwork done, and a frankly stunning selection of contributors. Nigel, John – thank you.

We’re on twitter now and facebook too https://twitter.com/beckypants

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/WhoMadeYourPants/8353454178?ref=ts so if you want more news, that’s where you’ll find it.

We’ve been donated a huge amount of filing stuff, and a sofa, and no technology has broken (fingers crossed) in a while. Add in the facts that the sun is shining, my bike ride to work gets longer and prettier every day, we’ve a photo shoot tomorrow with Southern Co-ops who have awarded us money for machines, and the generosity of friends who are supporting me through my poverty, life couldn’t be much better.

*contents*

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2 Responses

  1. Jay says:

    It all sounds brilliant and so positive at the moment, well done you!

    With regards to the designs, have you thought about approaching any colleges to see if they would like to produce some designs for you. Or a great marketing plan would be to have a competition for students; adding a ‘live’ design to a portfolio would be a great first, second and third prize for a student. It will raise your profile too.

    Best wishes

    • beckypants says:

      Thanks for that lovely comment Jay!

      Yes, I have thught of that, tried it once with limited success, but do intend to do it again. It’s amazingly time consuming though, trying to work out who the right people are, find their contacts, get hold of them – and right now we need quick results.

      Any more ideas, keep ’em coming!

      Thanks 🙂

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