Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

Why we don’t always tell you Who Made Your Pants?

We’re called Who Made Your Pants? because we tell you. It’s simple. We believe in transparency (though rarely transparent pants) and openness and being honest about what we do. We think that factories can be places where there’s fun as well as hard work and that business can be a great engine for social change. We’re not ashamed of anything that happens in our factory, we’re proud of our work and how we do it.  So far, so simple.

But sometimes it’s not simple.

The fact that I had an idea and I wanted to know who made my pants doesn’t mean that every single woman sitting at a sewing machine in our little factory wants her five minutes of fame. There are all kinds of reasons why people might want to use a pseudonym on our website – or just not be mentioned at all. I could tell you about the very real risks that can come with being named but the irony is that if I did, I’d put at risk the people we try to help stay safe.

Something that happens quite a lot is that we get asked for details of our team’s pay packets. Now – yes. Of course if you’re checking out whether a business is decent, that’s important information. But would you like it? If your boss told someone on twitter how much you earned?

We’ve talked about that here and what we will – and do – say in answer to that is that everyone here starts on minimum wage. If they complete probation successfully, they receive an increment to that. Every job role’s hourly rate is linked to that base level hourly rate. When minimum wage changes, everyone’s hourly rate changes.

More than that, and more than we have on our team page, we don’t and won’t say. Our team are real women with real complex lives. They’ve family all round the world and the internet can be read anywhere, by anyone, whether friend, curious stranger or foe.  We’ve all got our dignity and our personal information is personal and private.

So. We’re proud to tell you Who Made Your Pants? And we know you’ll understand why some things are for our eyes only.

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To our sisters

IWD2015

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Kittens!

Yes, really – The Lounge Kittens!

LOUNGE KITTENS 9676

We are delighted to announce that our Pants are off on tour TODAY with fabulous Southampton Trio The Lounge Kittens as they accompany Steel Panther on their UK and European tour.

The Lounge Kittens describe themselves as ‘rock chicks in disguise’ and they belt out a selection of popular rock and metal songs with their particular twist – three part harmony and the occasional purr. Their gigs are riotously good fun ‘I think I strained my grinning muscle’ said a friend at the Valentine’s gig in Southampton.

The Kittens love our Rosalind style and we couldn’t be prouder to have sponsored them – if ever there needs to be a good pants day, it’s when you’re on stage!

If you want a great night out do go and see them – and look out for our flyers, with space for autographs!

 

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WOW is here!

Just a quick reminder! If you’re at the WOW Festival in London this weekend do come and say hello!

We’ll be running a Let’s Talk About Pants workshop 12-1 on Saturday 7th in the Green Bar, Level 4, Royal Festival Hall

If you have a WMYP Tshirt wear it, find us and claim FREE PANTS at our stall!

And we’ll have a Pants stall in the market 9-6 Friday, Saaturday and Sunday. Come armed with cash to buy some pants (the internet gets so overloaded we can’t usually take card payments), just say hi or take a pic of the stall and share it online with tag #WOWLND for your chance to win an Aimee Working Week Pack

See you there!

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WIN with Divine Chocolate and Who Made Your Pants? and celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight

We’re delighted to be partnering with our friends over at Divine Chocolate with a super sweet social media Fairtrade giveaway!

Divine had given us a Tasting Kit comprising 14 – yes 14! – bars of delicious Divine chocolate PLUS a pack of their drinking chocolate and we’re topping that up with pair of Aimee shorts in brand new colourway Midnight at the Oasis.

The competition runs our social media this weekend kicking off at 7.30 am on friday 27th February and ending at 23.59 on Sunday March 1st.

How to enter:

On facebook? Share this post

On Instagram? Telling us why #WMYPisDivine on this photo

On twitter? RT any of our #wmypisdivine posts

We’ll pick one lucky winner at random on Monday 2nd March and the hamper of joy will be on it’s way soon after!

Why are we partnering with Divine? Well apart from the fact that their chocolate is irresistible, we love that they are 45% owned by the farmers who grow their cocoa and that they do great great work with those farmers in Ghana – especially with women Eating their chocolate is a life changing thing to do!

Good luck everybody!

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Facebook research

tl;dr – we did facebook research, You see more from us if you like/comment/share posts. Linky – cats on roombas.

A few weeks ago, we asked for volunteers to help us do some research regarding our Facebook page.

As background. we post a minimum of seven times a day, at broadly the same times every day (first thing, 9ish, lunchtime, mid afternoon, end of working day, 8ish and just before bed). We try to share things you’ll find interesting and funny as well as what we’re up to and – of course – pictures of our pants in the hope that you’ll go and buy them.

We know that Facebook has all kind of algorithms determining who sees what but we wanted to get some real data from you on what you see and when.

We thought we’d maybe get ten volunteers. We got 33! And so we set about it. Three groups were set up, and we asked each group to do one of the following things

Group 1 – interact with us as normal; note how many posts you saw every day for a week

Group 2 – consciously like/comment and share every single post that we share; note how many posts you saw every day for a week

Group 3 – interact with us as normal and count the number of posts, and then go back to our page at the end of the week and count up how many posts are visible

In the period, we posted just over 60 posts. On average, you see 4 posts from us a day. Four was the lowest number of posts seen, 56 (hello Liz!) was the highest. 

Other interesting things came along though – it seems that the time we post things doesn’t necessarily tally with when they appear in your timelines. And not one of you sees every single post we share – which is good as it means we can worry less about repeating ourselves and boring you! And who knew there were so many Kates, Catherines, Kathryns and other spellings! No other name was so well represented! And what was genuinely very interesting was how much you all took to this challenge – we got graphs back, and tables and times of posts. It was very warming indeed to feel that you wanted to help us. THANK YOU, wonderwomen!

What was really noticeable – even in just a week – was that everyone in group 2 was reporting seeing more posts per day at the end than at the beginning – up to 50% more!  Proof that the facebook ‘give you want you’ve told it you want’ model is working. And so our job is to make our content more engaging, so you see more of it. What would you like to see – is it the behind the scenes stuff, or the pants, or pictures of cats on roombas? (we like cats on roombas)

If you were involved in this and you’ve not yet pinged your findings back it’s never too late – it’s genuinely very interesting reading them! Thanks everyone for taking part!

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Immigration Street – Information Sheet for Local Residents

We’ve just agreed that a few of us are going to be watching Immigration Street tonight. We’ll be tweeting too.

If you are, you might be interested in this document which came to us this afternoon from our brilliant local keystone, Southampton Voluntary Services 

Information Sheet on filming in Derby Road Final 23 Feb 2015 (1)

and you you may be interested in our recent blog on the show, including the approaches made to us. We declined to be involved.

Please know – we love where we are and this community is not a fractured one. We’re not sure yet what the programme will show but please hold that knowledge if you watch it.

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We turn waste fabric into Pants. But what do we do with our waste fabric?

tl;dr – we generate bags of tiny scraps of fabric waste. Do you want it?

We source every single scrap of fabric that we use from waste. We are too tiny for any of the big factories to even notice let alone talk to so we work with a middle man. He buys – by the shipping container load – *everything* that is left over from big factories. Bra strapping, hooks and eyes, rings (the loops your bra strap goes through where it joins onto the band at the back) as well as fabrics – stretch and rigid lace, swimwear fabrics, microfibres and lycras and printed loveliness.

We love using reclaimed fabrics – just love it. It’s like a trip to a treasure chest going to the warehouse on a sourcing hunt and there’s something deliciously exciting about finding a few metres of this and wondering how best we can turn it into something beautiful. And we – I – really like taking waste and turning it into something new, instead of requiring – demanding – that new fibres be made.

So we source from waste – but we also make waste. Not much but some. And we’re sure it could be useful for something.

We’re using some of it ourselves. We’re excitedly working on what we’re currently calling ‘crazy pants’ – pants made out of the largest bits of what we have left, in random colour combinations and mixtures. They’re so fun (and launching next month). But we’ve bits left we can’t use.

For a while, a local charity shop took our fabric waste. They sold it by the kilo into the rag trade and it made them some extra cash. This felt very nice. But they’ve said that they can’t do that any more so we’re looking for a new use for those scraps.

If you’re interested in this stuff please do let us know and we’d love to pass them on! The scraps rang in size from the tiny – an inch square or less – to the long and thin – an inch wide and maybe a foot long – to the raggedy and everything in between. There’s no rhyme or reason to the bags they’re in – this is our rubbish so it’s not sorted by size or colour or anything.

Do you want some? Some of them have been used in art and we’re sure there are all kinds of uses out there for you creative minded people! Do let us know – we’d love to send this stuff off to new homes!

 

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#LTAPonline

Save the date!

If you wanted to join in our Let’s Talk About Pants conversation and help us find a way of showing our pants on real bodies without sexualising or objectifying women, here’s the info!

8-9pm March 11th 2015

Facebook will have a dedicated thread, on twitter we’ll be using #ltaponline We’ll be sharing images created at LTAP London and you can check them out here beforehand

See you there!

 

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What and who are we for, and how do we know do it? (AKA Social Impact and Recruitment)

We’re a social business. This means that we set up to tackle something we saw as a social issue and we use trade to do that.

The issue that we were set up to address is the impacts of marginalisation on women who are refugees, or who experience the same issues as women who are refugees. By marginalisation we mean women who are, for various reasons, unable to engage in our society. They might not know about doctors, or benefits, or banking, or housing, or laws, or their rights. We also have a small capacity to work with women who are British but who did not go through the British education system – women who were taken out of school by parents complicit in abuse, for example. What underpins this is that we work with women who have had little opportunity in  or who have had opportunity removed from them

We can work with women who have no literacy, no numeracy. We can give someone a useful, valuable job from day one with zero work experience. We like this. We have no entry requirement – though we have to work on that as with a waiting list of 75 it can hard to handle offering any new job fairly. Who do we offer it to? The person who has been on the list longest? The person who has knocked on the door five times? The most recent person who came to our door? The person who needs it most – or the person who can already sew and who could help us get faster, sooner?

We want to measure our social impact because if we can find out what we’re doing well, we can do more of it. And if we find out we’re doing something wildly awful we can stop it. In the words of impact measurement there are, broadly, four kinds of impact

  • intended positive impact
  • unintended positive impact
  • intended negative impact (though no-one ever seems really sure what this means – I wonder if it’s included for symmetry of the argument!)
  • unintended negative impact

We’re looking at ways of measuring all these but it’s *hard*.

We exist to empower marginalised women through work. It sounds very simple – and in some ways it is. We provide an opportunity and a supportive environment and we answer questions on anything – anything – we’re asked about and we believe that this good space, and wages, and training can pretty much only be a good thing. But actually it’s quite a complex thing. What is empowerment? Is it the same for me as you?

We don’t think that we can define what empowerment is. We can do some dry stuff about the Indicees of Multiple Deprivations and we can see what percentage of woman from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic)backgrounds are economically engaged – or not – and compare that to other women in our area, the city, the county the country. We can report on how many hours of wages we pay into deprived communities, as defined by the above Indicees. But in terms of the basic aim – making lives better – we don’t probe and poke and ask intrusive questions about why women are refugees when they come to us so we can’t know, guess or plan what those women might want to get better. We don’t ask the women who come to us to explain what they’ve seen or who they left behind – who they worry may be alive or dead. Sometimes we get told things though.

‘What are those things, inside you, like sausage?’ *gestures at stomach*

‘Do you mean intestines, guts?’

‘Yes- they came down, out of the tree, after the bomb went off. My son, he is scared at night now’

And suddenly we know that a child of one of our team was 10 metres from an explosion, saw a man die and saw his body fall, broken apart, through a tree and to the ground and that child, though living in a different country now, is still scared.

There is no way we would presume – no way we would dare – to image we know what our team want or need. We might be able to ask – but right now we don’t as we don’t want to risk upsetting anyone.

We intend to be a good place to work. Much better than bare minimum legal. We model what UK employers should do – we have contracts, bits of paper about holiday, forms, processes. We respect each other.  And when someone says, ‘ I love it here, it is my favourite place’ Or when we have a long, complex discussion – in English – about various interpretations of Islam; when we see someone smile wider, hear someone laugh louder – we know then what empowerment is. We might not be able to measure it – exactly – but we know that we’re doing it.

 

We’ll be talking more about impact measurement through the year – if you work for a social business and want to measure your impact we suggest you talk to the wonderful Intentionality CIC

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