Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

Something Blue, and Elephant Free Ivory

Welll helllooooo hellloooo hellloooooo!

It’s a frantic busy day here at whomadeyourpants? and I’ve run out of steam to rush for a bit so I thought I’d sit and write a blog, as it;s been a while. How are you all? Well I hope?

Things here are really good at the moment. That’s not to say perfect, far from it, and that’s not to say there are no problems, but things are ticking along and that’s A Good Thing.

So, since I last wrote – other than to tell you about our smashing ‘Something Blue’ pants (perfect for weddings!) we’ve been busy as bees. I was out and about at what felt like a non stop events through March. It was a LOT of fun. Hard work, and we all learned loads. We now have forms and paperwork and lists of how to do events and what e need to take so we can prepare much more easily next time. The phrase ‘baptisms of fire’ has been used a lot! We had some really great successes, sold a load of pants, and I was privileged enough to meet an enormous number of really lovely people who said lovely kind things about me personally as well as this business. If one of those people was you – thank you. I’m in the process of following up on all the contacts I made, so if you are one of them, I will be in touch, honest! I’ve just barely touched the ground in a while.

I’m now back in the office for a whole two weeks! Apart from two days.. and I’m glad to be here. It’s brilliant to be part of the hustle of it. I get a bit envious when I’m out and about on my ownsome that there’s lunch being shared and laughs being had! Not to mention I miss the cakes..

But now I’m back in, I’m getting stuck in where I can and carrying on with my work too. I’ve half an eye on the middle and long future -we’ve been asked about replicating or licensing the business model to Africa and other countries. This is always been part of the plan and I’m glad that my instinct for what this could do is being proved right. In the shorter term though, there are photos to take, and policies to write and this business itself to get right.

One of our brilliant volunteers has been taking some gorgeous photographs for us. Our mannequin, Chardonnay (named by another volunteer), models our pants beautifully and we are well on the way to having shots of every 2011 product that we can use for both publicity and our own website. This is hugely important in terms of publicity and showing lots of lovely folk our lovely pants – magazines have a six month lead time. This means that if we want to have our December products in their December magazines, we need to have publicity ready photos taken and sent out, ideally, by the end of May. This, in turn, means that we have bought all the fabric we will use for all our 2011 ‘pants of the month’ up front. As we buy end of line stuff, our supplier can’t send us a bit for samples to be photographed and then store the rest for us for months without us paying for it. We need to buy as soon as we decide what we want to make else it might be sold on to someone else. In terms of cashflow – managing money in and out of the business – this is the exact opposite of how businesses are advised to operate but its the way we have to do things. It’s a bit crazy but that’s the way it works. So we are working to it and hoping to turn up on a glossy page or two later in the year. We’ve also built a huge plan of how far in advance the photos for everything, ever, need to be taken so this should be that start of us having a solid marketing base. I hope!

Technology is coming to the fore a bit for us at the moment. We’ve a new web developer who is doing all kinds of clever things and we are looking our actual IT hardware. All of our computers except one are made from left overs from other computers – people donated old ones and our crack team of IT folk built a smaller number of faster ones. We run Linux (we like open source), one machine has Windows, Della uses her own Mac, I use an Android phone – it’s all a bit chaotic, so we’re having a meeting today ( I have offered pizza) with all the people that help with IT and we’re going to try to come up with a proper plan for making the office easier to work. I’m proud to say we equipped our office from upcyled and donated goods, really- but there are times that it would be brilliant to have something fast and that just worked, out of the box.

In other news, we have had waved goodbye to two brilliant women recently. One of our volunteers the wonderful JG, has moved on. She’s studying for a Masters and has a big dissertation to write and so we reluctantly let her go – we wish her all the very best, miss her already (in the sincere and not rubbish sense) and have told her that her name is always going to be on our list of people to invite to parties and picnics, high days and holidays. And one of our workers has left us as well. She has moved to London with her husband and may be heading home to her home country – her husband said, ‘It is better there now, we want to go home’. That really touched me – there are so many rubbish stories about immigration, asylum and refugees. The reality really is that people who are refugees have fled places that are not safe, places where they are frightened. There’s a clue in the name: refuge – and they very often want to go home. Who wouldn’t? I’m no huge patriot, but if I had to leave the UK (if you did) because I (you) were scared, in fear that I (you) might be killed – wouldn’t I(you) want to go home when it got safer?

Anyhow, anyhoo. If you’ve not seen them yet, our pants of the month are ‘Something Blue’, a gorgeous electric blue with an iridescent shimmer in contrast thread. We think they are a perfect wedding present, or bridesmaid present – they’re old, new and blue – and borrowed too if you imagine the atoms being borrowed from the earth and just our for a moment in the long history of our planet. Next month’s are ‘Elephant Free Ivory’ – they’re exactly the same pattern and style of lace as this months but in an Ivory with a pale blue contrast where this months’ has the iridescence. And guess what.. we’ll be launching a gift set, perfect for blushing brides, including them both. Watch this space, mid May

TTFN!

Becky

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