Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

We showed the Green Party leader our pants :)

Howdy doody pants fans!

How are you all this week? Well and happy we hope.

We had a very exciting week here at Pants Central last week – the new leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett came to see us! We were really pleased to show her around and every one of us made delicious food to welcome her. It was really interesting to see through an outsider’s eyes how we are perceived, as even though is what we do every day it’s easy to get caught up in the details sometimes. We’ve no affiliation with any political party – we’ve previously shown local MP Dr Alan Whitehead around too and have regular open days too, to which anyone (including you!) is welcome to come. Next one, December 4th.

Our team are still learning how to make our new Rosalind design of pants, and the precision that we are seeking to teach is coming through. We’re not setting any production targets for them yet but we’re looking forward to doing so, as we’ve been doing that for a while with our lacey Aimee shorts. There’s a whiteboard in our corridor where we report back to the team on how many they made against target and whether they were up or down, in percentages. We finish it off with a smile (or unsmiley!) face for a quick, at a glance, ‘are we happy’ report. They love looking there, and we’re building this board up as being a central store of knowledge. It’s one way of connecting the team to the rest of the business, so that, in time, they really understand how their work contributes to our ongoing existence.

Speaking of contributing to our ongoing existence…. We’re doing what we do to build a better world for women, and not just right here in Southampton. We believe that business can be good, that jobs are important and that earning wages is empowering. By buying from us, you are voting for a world where things are better. We’re glad to be heading there with you – and if you can help this happen faster by telling your friends about us, well, we’d be thrilled. If you’re on twitter, we’re using the hashtag #buildabetterworld and we’d love it if you did too.

Big love and best wishes

Becky and the Who Made Your Pants? Team

@whomadeyour #buildabetterworld

News in brief…

Becky went to a fantastic Space Weekend at local science centre Intech and held moon rock, Della’s been to a family wedding, Amy stewarded a twilight run for a cancer charity, Zuhra is being nagged by us all to give us the recipe for her delicious rice, Sacdiyo’s children’s hamster died :-(, Samia is attending extra classes, Batol has perfected making Turkish Delight, Yasmein is still missed, Nisha and Jackie is planning to put her decorative writing skills to good use

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Our team are back today!

Howdy pants fans!

How was your Bank Holiday? We all had a great time – I went bike riding, and got rained on, built sandcastles, and got rained on, Della went camping, and got rained on, Amy went dogwalking, and got rained on, but we all had fun.

It’s a very exciting day today – our team are back in TODAY and well, have we missed them. The place is just not the same without them being here. We’re going to be introducing our Rosalind style to them very soon – our designer Emma and superviser Nisha made up the first batch to iron out any niggles in what’s called ‘the order of construction’ – basically how you do it, which steps and which order, and now we are going to be teaching the team to make them next. This will teach them new technical skills but it will also teach them that they are versatile – we talked about the word and concept recently.

Last week was also pretty exciting. I went on a very exciting trip to our suppliers with our brilliant designer Emma. We found some gorgeous new fabrics and Emma is now working out some exciting new things with them. We’re hoping to be able to roll out some pretty pants incorporating gorgeous printed fabrics very soon!

Our crowdfunding initiative is still going steadily but with just about eleven days to go we still need to raise the remaining 54% – £3240. If you could spread the word, we’d be so grateful! Some great people promoted it for us over the weekend – Dr Alice Roberts (BBC Coast; Incredible Human Journey), Dr Helen Czerski (BBC Orbit; Horizon, Transit of Venus), author Alom Shaha and Guardian columnist Martin Robbins. If you’ve not heard about it, we’re aiming to raise £6000 in pledges by mid September to fund a new machine (which can be used to make man pants as well as woman pants!) It’s live online here http://buzzbnk.org/wmyp Pledges go from £0 to £300 and every single one helps us grow.

I’m going to run off now, the team are due any minute and I forsee lots of hugs and kisses. Don’t want to miss those

Big love to you all and sincere thanks for your support

Becky and the Who Made Your Pants? Team

https://beckypants.wordpress.com http://www.facebook.com/whomadeyourpants @whomadeyour

News in brief…
Becky is recovered enough from her accident to cycle more than 3 miles at a time, Della slept well in her tent in the New Forest but was glad to get back to the football on telly, Nisha had a great time in Poland and is back talking about pickled vegetables, Amy’s been visiting family and is spending slightly less of her time reading tax books, and, Jackie has made us some smashing gift bags.

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Bubble gum sauce and a pants world tour

Hey pants fans!

Just a short newsletter this week as I was away last week and haven’t quite caught up with the news. I could tell you about my holidays in York, about the glorious Minster, the cute wiggly Shambles, the lovely friendly people, the taxi driver who was very angry about Pussy Riot being imprisoned, the fantastic afternoon tea at Bettys (no apostrophe for trademark reasons) the Medieval Mystery Plays… but that’s probably not what you’re after.

So, what happened while I was away. Well… There was a day or two of heaving and huffing as Della and Amy tried to rearrange furniture to create a training area. Our space wasn’t obliging though, and they decided in the end that it’s just too small. Moving a wall might well be a option and fortunately, in this building, that’s relatively straightforward.

There are new pants on our Global Pants map – more pants have gone to France and Germany, and we’ve sent our first ever pants to Canada. We’re hoping to sell enough to fund a pants world tour one day, and spread the pants news globally – Della has suggested we get a sort of ice cream van for me to drive around it. Only if it has sprinkles and bubblegum flavour sauce!

We launched 13 new gift sets last week – now that we have a white we’ve been able to add new ones and they are lovely. Some were suggested by people on our facebook page, and we’re always keen to hear what you’d like from us – do let us know.

Our Year of Pants is still proving to be popular, which is great. I do love the idea of people getting crinkly wrapped packages from us every month for a whole year.

Our crowdfunding initiative is going well. We’re around three weeks away from it ending and we’re at 41% pledges – if you’ve not heard about it, we’re aiming to raise £6000 in pledges by mid September to fund a new machine (which can be used to make man pants as well as woman pants!) It’s live online here http://buzzbnk.org/wmyp Pledges go from £0 to £300 and every single one helps us grow.

Last but not least we are gearing up for our lovely team to come back next week. Ramadan is now over and we cannot wait to see them again. Exciting times.

News in brief…
Becky had a LOVELY holiday, Della is happy the football season has started again, Nisha is still away in Poland-land, Amy is on the lookout for some waterproof shoes for this winter and Jackie has reached new heights in her penguin game.

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Of crowdfunding, Mo Farah, sample sales and our Rosalind pants

Hello pants fans!

Hope you’ve managed to get out into some of this elusive sun! It’s teasing us, we think.

It’s been another busy week at Pants Central. Our gorgeous and so comfortable new Rosalind design is now on sale and was named in a public vote via facebook and twitter – lots of votes too for Ada Lovelace and Amelia (Earhart) so we’ve plenty choices to come for our next styles. It was great fun watching people nominating names and then commenting on each others suggestions.

As our team are off for Ramadan, we’re having a seasonal sort out and tidy up. We were very excited to find some samples from way back when we started our Aimee shorts. There are about 30 pairs, in a couple of core colours – Black, Red, Purple – but have different arrangements and colours of bows. Some are a very patriotic – red pants with red, white and blue bows on! As beautiful as they are, they never made it into production so we’re selling these off at half the usual price through August, and when they’re gone they’re gone!

Our crowdfunding initiative is going from strength to strength. We’re raising money to buy a new sewing machine and training materials, to teach new skills. Fundamentally though what we are teaching is versatility, precision and attention to detail – core employability skills. We’re just doing it, as we do with everything, through the power of pants.

We need to raise just £6000, have raised £2160 already – and we think that just 45 more people will make it happen.

The campaign is live here http://buzzbnk.org/wmyp Pledges start from £0 to be a cheerleader to £15 for which the kind person gets a thank you card and discount code with various intermediate levels all the way up to £300 for which the kind person gets hand delivery of pants to London, tea at the Royal Society for the Arts, a limited edition shirt, new pants, current pants, a thank you card…

One of the things that we love about working with our team is the connections we start to feel. I think every single one of us cheered when Mo Farah won the 10,000m race the other day. A number of our team are from Somalia, we eat Somali food here and love it. One of the Somali women we’ve worked with in the past described abuse directed at her and her children right here in Southampton – I really hope that Mo’s win will give those people who think ‘refugee’ is a pejorative term pause for thought and that they’ll be proud of his achievement.

Anyway. Thanks a million for supporting us with your purchase. We love what we do, and we simply couldn’t do it without you.

Becky and the Who Made Your Pants? Team

News in brief…
Becky is getting excited about her week off exploring York, Della is getting on well with her new ukelele, Nisha is off to Poland for three weeks, Amy is learning about tax law and seems to be enjoying it, and Jackie has been enjoying prettying up our gift wrapping

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In the summertime….

Hello there pants fans!

It’s been another wet and windy week here in Southampton… we’re cheering ourselves up by planning exciting things but we need all the help we can get, eh – summer, where ARE you?

This week, commencing the 16th, is going to be our last week of production for a few weeks. It’s Ramadan, and this means our team will be fasting. As we use machinery and knives, and it’s warm, we’ve agreed that the production area will shut down briefly. They’ve told us about how it is in different countries -in Dubai, everywhere is air conditioned, and in many countries, people sleep in the afternoon and then break their fast with dates, and work in the evenings, after dark. For us, the management in the office, the time our team take off at Ramadan gives us a time to plan and review. The work we do around employability is not done quickly and so we’re always looking for ways to add more and teach better.

One exciting thing that we are setting up is a crowd funding project around buying machinery and training for our upcoming new style. As some of you may have read before, we work with women who were not lingerie makers when they came to us and so we develop skills gently and carefully. Our next style will introduce new skills and techniques. We’ll be crowdfunding with Buzzbnk (pronounced Buzzbank) http://www.buzzbnk.org. The corwd funding model is really interesting – if you’ve not heard of it it’s basically us saying what we want to do, how much it will cost, and then people who want to see that happen, people commuting funds to it in exchange for the promise of something. So, we’ll say, for example, if you commit £15, you get one of the first pairs of pants that rolls off the line. It’s an investment in developing an idea you like. We like it!

This coming weekend – the 20th – 22nd, we will have a stall at the first every Winchester Science Festival. We’re very excited to be part of this – we are official supporters – as it has a stated commitment to supporting and promoting women in science. The 21st July is the anniversary of the last ever shuttle landing back on Earth, in 2011 – we think that every little girl should be able to dream of being an astronaut, with as much chance as her brother of that becoming real. If you’re local, see you there?

Until next time – thanks as ever for supporting us

Big love,

Becky and the Who Made Your Pants? Team

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We’re all going on a summer holiday…

Howdy pants fans!

We don’t know about you, but we’re getting a bit tired of summer. Bring back spring, when we had sunshine and outdoors sitting and fun! Hope you are all safe and dry, wherever you are.

Last week was our first week in ages without our Head of Operations, Della. She’s on a very overdue holiday and it’s a good test for us to see how we get on without the person that makes everything inside the factory and offices work. So far so good – the value of having proper procedures, even in a tiny organisation like ours, is clear. It helped that we welcomed back Nisha, our wonderful sewing supervisor. Nisha has been away working on an exciting contract, but we’re pleased as punch that she’s back. And not just because she bought bakewell tarts!

In very exciting news, we have a brand new printer! Our current ones are wombled/upcycled and are as reliable as that implies. A brand new one is a treat beyond imagination! And in exciting product news, we have found some more of a lace we used a while back, a gorgeous bright vibrant purple. Limited numbers back on sale in two weeks. We’re having some new photography done, too, of that purple and our new white lace pants and some new gift sets. Adding white to our range means we’re able to make some gorgeous new colour combinations – look out for Eton Mess, Mint Choc Chip and Oceans 3, among others, coming soon.

We’ve been getting some lovely feedback and reviews from people who have bought from us recently – we’re always pleased that people like our pants. And as I’ve been asked to put myself forward for an award (more if it comes off!) we’ve been talking to some of our more well known supporters about what they think of us and what they’ll say publicly about us – we’re proud to be supported by scientist and TV presenter Dr Alice Roberts, stand up comedian and activist Mark Thomas and the BBC’s Cherry Healey.

Professor Alice Roberts, Anatomist, author & broadcaster

“Who made your pants? I discovered this company a few years ago: a small co-operative, working to support women from a range of backgrounds, using offcuts from the lingerie industry to create beautiful and comfortable underwear. It’s the antithesis of a sweatshop, and proves that the clothing industry, rather than perpetuating exploitation, can be a force for good.

Cherry Healey, Broadcaster

I adore my WMYP pants. My bottom has never felt so happy and the rest of me loves that they’re made ethically. That is having your cake and eating it. But for pants.

Mark Thomas, Activist and Stand Up comedian
Becky’s ethical business is practical, local, helps those most vulnerable and makes lovely pants at nice price. What’s not to like! She simply gets on with the job of helping the people at the bottom of the ladder without asking for medals. All she wants is orders.

Thanks to all of them!

And thanks to you, too, for supporting us and the work we do. Every single purchase goes towards us doing what we do – providing training, a safe place, creating and sustaining jobs. We couldn’t do it without you. To, er, borrow a misused phrase, we are in this together – and we love that you believe in what we do.

Big love,

Becky and the Who Made Your Pants? Team

News in brief…

Becky’s been up at the Royal Society for the Arts in London, where she is a featured ‘social entrepreneur’ in one of their programmes; Della is, we hope, having a LOT of fun on holiday; Amy K is back in (hooray!) after her operation; Nisha is happy to be back and impressed with the team’s progress, Samia has been teaching us how to greet friends in her language, Farsi, Sacdiyo has been teasing (veggie) Becky about some of the meaty things she likes to eat, Hawa has had her pre holiday inoculations, Yasmein is waiting for some exam results, Batol made delicious falafel, and Zuhra some gorgeous vegetarian rice and chickpeas for lunch, and Jackie, our resident purple wearing person, is helping pack our orders.

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Nice weather for ducks. And Holidays.

Hello there pants fans!

Hope you’re keeping dry and cheery in this lovely *cough* summer weather?

Things are going well for us here at Pants Central. The impact of our mention in the Guardian Weekend magazine in continuing, happily. So much so that we’ve had a phone call from the Royal Mail….They rang up saying, er, you’ve been filling up all our post boxes…

During the week after our mention in the Guardian Weekend magazine we took an unprecedented amount of orders – we liked it, please feel free to continue! – but we’ve been growing slowly so we didn’t have a system on place to cope with posting so many. So, you’ve got to love this, our smashing volunteer Amy (who recently got a first in her maths degree!) was loading up our Giant Blue Wheely Suitcase with orders and trekking out each day to do a little walking tour of the area, taking in all the local post boxes… The fact that, as you have seen, our boxes have our name on meant we were easy to track down! It’s been a good thing – the nice man from Royal Mail is going to come to see us and we’re hoping to get something a little bit more formal set up!

We’re also delighted that we’ve been able to put more pins into our ‘pants map’ including one in the island of Tiree. Our team love knowing where their hard work gets sent to.

With summer in full swing, and with Ramadan, an important time for our team approaching, it’s holiday season. Della, our Head of Operations (a grand title meaning ‘the person that makes it all work) is off on a long awaited holiday for the next two weeks. Hawa is looking forward to her trip back to Somalia, and her children to their trip to Sweden where they have family. Samia has visitors from Afghanistan and there are excited conversations about it all. We don’t ask too many questions of our team about ‘before UK’ as we don’t want to stir up difficult memories – the reality is, people don’t leave their home country and flee if they’re safe and well there. So to hear our team being excited about seeing their families again is a real pleasure.

That’s about it for this week. Hope you have a good week and thanks so much for ordering these smashing pants – we hope you love them as much as we do.

Big love,

Becky and the team

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So proud

In January this year we received an email from Julia Wilber, a Thomas J. Watson Fellow

http://www.watsonfellowship.org/site/what/what.html

studying fair trade clothing and ethical fashion. She was keen to come and see us – her travels include a global list of excitement, Cambodia, Bangladesh… Southampton…

Julia spent a day with us and I was so proud to get this email afterwards, which Julia has kindly let me share…

“I wanted to reiterate what a wonderful time I had at Who Made Your Pants? It was so exciting to visit with and get to know the whole team for even just a little while. I was impressed with the care and compassion that is tangible in everything you do, as well as the quality of your garments (I’ve worn the ones I bought and loved them). I’ve already recommended you to several people who were interested!”
I hope you’re doing well!
Cheers,
Julia
I’m *so* proud 🙂
Becky
x

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Calling size 6 women!

Hello!

We’ve had a good old sort out of our stock room and we’ve found a surprise! A stack of size 6 pants! We don’t make 6s generally but someone picked up the wrong pattern ( we use different patterns for different laces as some stretch and srping more than others) and so we have this little bounty!

They are absolutely perfect but as we don’t generally sell 6’s they’ve not been advertised. They are in gorgeous basic black

http://whomadeyourpants.co.uk/buyourpants/pants.php?colour=12001

and our supremely comfy strawberry

http://whomadeyourpants.co.uk/buyourpants/pants.php?colour=13005

There aren’t many so if you’d like some, get ’em while they’re hot so to speak) and head over to our shop! http://whomadeyourpants.co.uk/buyourpants/pants.php

Becky

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Come and meet the people who made your pants!

Howdy folks!

For absolutely ages, we’ve had an open invitation on our website and a comesee email address to go with it. This has been a big part of my personal ‘we’ve got nothing to hide’ approach to manufacturing.

Well. You’ve been taking it up. A LOT. And I’m a bit worried that our team are starting to feel a bit more like filmstars or exhibits than workers. We could have, easily, had two visitors to every single shift we’ve run in 2012. Imagine if that was your work – and imagine how that impacts on us training in employability.

So, we’re going to have an open day! It will be, very likely, the 17th July, from 10 – 4pm. There will be a small charge to cover lunch, which we will provide. You’ll be able to come and see us, chat to the workers, meet the volunteers, buy some pants, see some being made, ask me questions – all sorts of things!

If you’d like to come please just email hello@whomadeyourpants.co.uk with your the subject line ‘Open Day July 2012’ and we’ll add you to our list and get back to you to confirm it all by the end of May.

Look forward to hearing from you, and meeting some of you – the list is already filling up!

Becky

EDIT APRIL 18th 2012 – Travel tips! Check out http://uk.megabus.com – a train to and from London Waterloo, for example, can cost just £1 each way, plus booking fee. The catch is that you MUST get on the right train, at the right station, and get off at the right one too – but it’s a huge money saver!

EDIT NUMBER 2 May 2nd 2012

We’re going to be offering you the chance to order your pants and then watch them get made right in front of your eyes on the 17th! We’ll likely do a load of colours that use the same colour threads (else we’ll have to be rethreading machines all the time) so start thinking about what colour you’d like!

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