Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

Welcome back Samia!

Hey hey pants fans!

I totally failed to get a newsletter written last week – I came straight back from my holiday and into a couple of days work in London so item just ran away with me. So I have lots to tell you today!

I had a lovely time away but it is always great to come back. News that happens during absence seems to feel more momentous, and two bits of it were. In utterly, utterly joyous news, our gorgeous Samia is back from Afghanistan. She brought us all (all!) presents, including beautiful hand embroidered tops in perfectly chosen colours for me, Della and Zuhra. She also *drools* made a lovely coriander filled potato and cauliflower dish for us, which lasted all of about ten seconds.

As is often the way, though, as one door opens, another closes – or something – and our cheery chatty Rhama has had to leave us. We’ll miss her and hope that we can find a way to work with her again.

In the workshop, we’ve been both making up our gorgeous new black lace into our Aimee shorts, and training has been going well on the new Rosalind pants. Our volunteer Amy has told us that she thinks the quality of the pants made in training is higher than the high street. Who are we to disagree πŸ™‚

In other parts of the building, we’re now partnering with a local college and have English lessons here one morning a week. These aren’t for our team, but are part of our softly softly strategy to get local women to know who we are – they learn fast, two have already asked for a job! Sacdiyo has joined the class, as well. The classes are noisy and fun, which is A Good Thing for learning to be.

Speaking of learning, we’ve had a number of discussions about upcoming exam changes and the difficulties with writing in English. Imagine doing a maths exam in a language that’s not your first language. You might get the maths wrong because of your English, which – though clearly unavoidable – must be really frustrating.

Anyhow. It’s good to be back – and not just because I love the hugs and kisses I get after I’ve been away πŸ™‚ Thanks for your support of us and what we do – every pair of pants YOU buy helps build a better world for our team. We couldn’t do it without you.

Big love

Becky and the Who Made Your Pants? Team

News in brief…
Becky is brown but happy to be home, Della has a new gadget (iphone5), Amy has joined the gym and is going regularly, Zuhra and Sacdiyo have been teaching Samia to make our new pants, Batol is missing Yasmein, Nisha has some more theatre sewing work, and Jackie is enjoying working on her brother’s boat.

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Back to the Future

Hey hey pants fans!

I’m writing this on the 12th September so it can be sent out while I am away on leave. It’s always bit nervewracking to do that – you never know what might change or happen in the intervening time. So if by the time you get this, the media is full of dinosaurs resurging, or a lottery winner giving their winnings to charity or some other huge news… well, you’ll know why I’m not talking about it.

So, anyway – last week was an exciting week here. Our team are doing really well learning to make our gorgeous Black and Caramel Rosalind style. It’s lovely to see them progress, and be able to laugh at their early mistakes – it takes a level of confidence to be able to do that, and it’s great to see that growing. We’re not just about technical skills here – there is no sewing industry locally into which our team can transfer their practical skills. But the skills we are able to teach around team work, versatility, problem solving, team work, attention to detail, practising, quality – all of these skills are transferable across the board.

Our team has shifted a bit recently – Asma had a baby and so while she was insistent she’d be back, the busyness and tiredness that we predicted has kept her away, Yasmein has gone to the Sudan for a while – and the dynamic has changed. Often, our colleagues who share a language stick together at lunch – now that some of the ‘lynch pin’ members of those groups have gone, there is more mixing. There is more English being spoken as it is becoming the common language. We were sad to see colleagues go – even though we know they will be back – but it is actually working out really well.

We had a lovely little discussion last Tuesday about Battersea Dogs Home. Some of us Brits were talking about Paul O Grady’s current TV show and our team were looking a bit blank, so I explained about what Battersea Dogs Home is – and I also explained the word ‘soppy’ saying us Brits can get very soppy about our dogs and cats. The Brits in the office are fairly evenly split between having dogs or cats at home, and it was interesting to learn about the ways different cultures see certain animals. This then led onto a conversation about black cats, good and bad luck, walking under ladders and other superstitions. I find learning about these little things about cultures, that we all just know about our own, fascinating.

Time to go. Hope you are all having a smashing week and thanks for supporting our work. Every pair of pants you buy, every penny you spend with us, goes towards building a better world and a brighter future for real women. Love it πŸ™‚

Β News in brief…

Becky is away in Spain for her holiday, Della is keeping her bike in our office after a theft from the LOCKED work bike shed, Amy has visited sailing club. Nisha has been planning new training exercises for new recruits, Sacdiyo and Zuhra are enjoying training on the Rosalind style, Batol has started a class and Jackie is continuing to make 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 Β£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 Β£0 to Β£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 Β£6000, have raised Β£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 Β£0 to be a cheerleader to Β£15 for which the kind person gets a thank you card and discount code with various intermediate levels all the way up to Β£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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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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