Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

Happy birthday to pants, happy birthday to pants..

For the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking, ‘nearly a year now, it’s nearly a year since I started on pants full time. Then a few minutes ago I realised it’s today! Today is the first birthday of me working full time on this mad idea for ethical pants.

Birthdays and anniversaries are useful times to recap and to measure progress for me. I find it all too easy to sit in the middle of my to do lists and think I’ve achieved nothing. So, what’s happened since July 1st last year?

One Industrial and Provident Society has been registered.
Two trademarks have been awarded.
Around 80 women have engaged with the project.
Around 25 women are enrolled on training ( I say ‘around’ as one is suffering horrible domestic violence and has had to take a bit of absence, another will start in September as she doesn’t need the English training so much)
Three pants designs have been chosen
Eight fabrics have been sourced and ordered (six for the pants, two for training)
Six sewing machines and a cutting knife thingy have been ordered
One cutting table has been planned and is ordered
One fabric support structure thing is spec’d up and ready to be made
One set of premises has been found and is all planned out ready to be ready for us on the 19th August
One gig has been perfroemed and organised by the spactacular ScarletBlonde
One album has been put together and released – buy here if you haven’t yet (please!) http://dpulse.olm.fm/wp/?p=218
We’ve been awarded just under £45k in money
We’ve received just over £45k in donations and benefits in kind (people’s time as well as 32 office chairs, one sofa, one fridge, one microwave, two tables, two desks, one set of desk drawers, 30 lever arch files, around 40 plastic stacking trays, countless cardboard folders, envelopes, post its, pens…)
One website has been established
One web team has been established, and they are cracking on with the next iteration of the website, including our shop.
One business plan has NEARLY been written (it may well be the death of me to be honest…)
We’ve made great connections with about ten or so organisations in and around Southampton – Solent Mind, West Itchen Community Trust, Wessex Partnerships, CLEAR, Recycle and Sew, Southern Co-operatives, Southampton Womens Forum, Co-operatives Southampton and various community groups.

I’ve worked in the lighting and events industries to earn a tiny bit of money and learned lots of new things.
I’ve had four lodgers.
I’ve incurred a huge tax bill (huge for me) as the 10% tax threshold for low earners was removed and therefore of the £2500 I earned in self employed money, one fifth will go to the taxman. And cos I’m so poor, I’ve had to spend that money on luxuries like my mortgage, so I have no idea how I’ll pay it…
I’ve dealt with the Inland Revenue and HMRC and not cried every time I talk to them (this is a huge achievement, for me, I get so scared of getting numbers wrong)
I’ve had a pretty good tan all year from cycling everywhere and am getting frankly astonishing arm muscles.
I’ve cycled 50 miles in a day and over 70 in a weekend a few times.
I’ve bought almost nothing other than food for a year.
I’ve realised how many friends I really have, people who buy me beers, create business cards, design websites, offer their time and energy, buy me train tickets so we can get together, put me up and put up with me, and let me talk and cry when things are hard, and celebrate with me when things are good.
I am entirely comfortable with saying the word gusset in mixed company.

As you’ll know if you’ve read this, there have been problems and challenges along the way. But I really am happier than I’ve ever been and I *know* that this is the right thing for me to be doing. I can’t say it won’t be easier when I get a regular and reasonable wage, but even without it, I do love this.

Roll on next year – wonder what I’ll be reporting then?

Oh, and if anyone wants to provide a cake in the shape of some pants, I’ll provide the candles.

LATE ADDITION – It;’s been poiinted out to me that we have also beeen featured in New Sector http://www.newsector.co.uk/PDFs/ns83.pdf. We’ve also been in the Southampton Echo and are due to feature in a Solent Mind newsletter too.

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7 Responses

  1. almagill says:

    Happy Birthday Pants! And well done Becky on your first year 🙂

  2. Nina Lambert says:

    Many, many happy returns of the auspicious day – we are all very proud of our new pants.

    But still waiting for T-shirts?

    Co-op congratulations from

    Nina and all at Sacda

  3. David Parker says:

    You can add an article in NS magazine to your list
    http://www.newsector.co.uk/PDFs/ns83.pdf

    Well done Becky and all your co-operators

  4. john225 says:

    Happy Birthday Becky’s pants!! Well done Becky – keep up the good work.

  5. Nigel says:

    Happy Birthday to Pants.

    I promise I’ll do the numbers so we can get that merch online as soon as my day job gets out of the way and lets me do something a little more worthwhile.

  6. Allegra says:

    Happy birthday Pants! – sorry, was ill yesterday so didn’t see this till today.
    Congratulations and celebrations! Fizz chilling round my place, just say when!

  7. Cath says:

    Well done sweetheart – Belated Birthday grats to pants!
    See you in just over two weeks :o)

    xxx

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