Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

Whirlygig pants

Blimey, what a few weeks it’s been

I always feel like my blog entries start off like some tornado whirling through a town somewhere. That’s the way my head feel generally, a big whirly mass of movement, nothing keeping still and lots going on. And today is no different. By one pm I was ready for a little sleep, after to friends kindly delivered another filing cabinet that has been rescued from being dumped. This place is wombletastic in how much stuff has been donated/saved/reclaimed/salvaged. More is coming tonight – a whole bunch of computer bits that have been cluttering up a mates house are coming here.

We’re now in our premises! Our address is whomadeyourpants? Fairways House, Mount Pleasant Industrial Estate, Mount Pleasant Road, Southampton, SO14 OQB. We have seven rooms and the two main work rooms are next to each each other to make the production flow nicely. We start with a cutting room with a bespoke hand built table where the fabric will be laid up and cut. Bundles of pieces will then be moved just through to the machine room, and stacked up on shelves. From there they will be taken to each work station and each machinist can work on her own stuff. Then they finished goods are taken to the other shelves and sit there, hopefully not for too long, to await despatch!

Next to the machine room is our kitchen and then there is a corridor coming away from that which runs down, two rooms either side. There are two offices, one of which is mine, one will be the advice room. And the of other two rooms, one is for social purposes – lunch, chatting, lockers. And the other will be the education suite. If you have any spare computers or tables to kit it out, let me know!

It’s a massive step forward being here, but everything feels like massive steps at the moment. Tomorrow is our first sewing lesson, right here. I’m quite nervous – will the women come back after the summer break? I’ve been calling them but while many of the women now have pockets of great technical English and can talk about notions and ribbons and various styles of undies, some have less English than others and some can’t talk about plans or and say yes they are coming or no they aren’t – so it’s really hard to feel confident that I’ve been clear, and they aren’t just saying yes as that’s what they do when people talk to them. We’ll see tomorrow.

What else has happened? Hmmm.. The new website is coming on in fits and starts – I’ve a smashing project leader who is overseeing the development as she speaks tech and I don;t. It sounds lei there has been some downtime in August, but that’s common, so hopefully we’ll be ready soon.

Now that the machines are in, June and Ria, the production consultants/experts  have been busily getting used to the machines and have been making up practice pairs of pants – they look great! We’re still sourcing elastic and thread – I had no idea how many options there were! – but should be able to make up some proper samples very soon so I can hit the sales trail and start seeing who wants to stock them. I hope someone does! While we get significantly more revenue by selling direct from us (some places add on 400% mark up. 400%!) we’ll get more exposure if we go through other channels. Wait and see who’s interested I suppose.

I’ve had some lovely emails from Vittoria Conn recently. She donated a track to whomadeyourmusic? and is so kind and supportive. I was having a really though day and she sent some lovely words of encouragement, just what I needed to hear. That’s a rare skill. Nigel who set up that album is getting some stuff sorted around T shirts and badges so we really hope to get them on sale soon – we absolutely have to start getting some revenue, no matter how small, as we’re asking for investment now and people look much more favourably on businesses that are trading at some level.

I can’t think of anything else much big that’s happened, and that’s because my head’s a whirl not that there’s no more. My day today has involved things as diverse as writing out a register for tomorrow to talking to potential investors, to lifting the metal bar the fabric rolls will be held on the the cutting table and deciding what colour to paint them – and every day is like this. This job is never boring! I do love it.

Anyway, it’s time to be off to collect this big pile of stuff from my mates house. Tomorrow should be fun – A friend is coming to take photos for us, the Big Issue want to run a feature on us and we’re hoping to get some good pictures in too. Keep your eyes peeled! We really are getting nearer pants o’clock!

Night all

Becky 🙂

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