Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

Purple Pants, for Dignity

It’s International Women’s Day tomorrow, a day for women all around the world to celebrate womanhood, and day for all those of us who have a special woman in their lives to celebrate her. That sounds like pretty much everyone on the planet should be celebrating really, doesn’t it?

We’ll be part of the brilliant WOW Festival  market at the Southbank Centre in London all weekend, and to mark the occasion, we have been saving up two new colours in our Cecilia pants. Both are edged in a sumptuous deep purple – purple being the colour the suffragettes wore as it represented dignity.

WMYP 0015WMYP 0017

Say hello to the absolutely gorgeous Magic Roundabout and Through the Grapevine. As usual, we are running a launch offer and there is £5 off each pair of pants and £10 off each of the packs they are in all weekend.

Shop the offer here until 23.59 on Sunday 9th March – or  in person at the Southbank centre 9-6 Friday 7, Saturday 8 or Sunday 9th March – and bag yourself some perfect purple pants!

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WOW! It’s almost time for the WOW festival (and you could get some free pants)

The WOW – Women of the World – Festival at the Southbank Centre has been a firm fixture in our calendar for a few years now. It’s a great weekend event of talks, debates, liveliness and exploration covering everything from politics, science and sex to fashion, war and power – even vajazzling – and we just love it. It’s not uncommon to see fabulous women like Sue Perkins. Jenni Eclair Bidisha Shami Chakrabati and the Vagenda team around the place and it just feels brilliant, positive and fun.

I genuinely love going and feel proud that we get asked back every year. It’s a fabulous place to meet women who are trying to make positive changes and opportunities, and to learn about new things that are going on.

This year we will be taking our massive blue suitcase of travelling pants back to the marketplace there – and we’d love it if you came and said hello.

And here’s where the free pants come in!

If you buy one of our lovely lovely logo T shirts from us on the 24th, 25th or 26th of February, and wear it to meet us at the WOW Festival, we will bring you some free pants!

All you have to do is write FREE PANTS and your pants size/style/colour in the text box that asks for a gift card message/alternate address as you checkout with your T shirt – we will bring those pants in your size to the WOW festival, and when you turn up in your T shirt, we will hand them over!

Here’s hoping to see you there!

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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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Pants – and science!

We just sent this press release… Exciting, yes?! We’ll be there every day, too!

WHO MADE YOUR PANTS? SOUTHAMPTON’S VERY OWN KNICKER BUSINESS, IS DELIGHTED TO ANNOUNCE IT’S SUPPORT FOR THE FIRST EVER WINCHESTER SCIENCE FESTIVAL.

 

Gorgeous pants and Science might seem an unlikely combination but the connection lies in the commitment both organisations have for supporting and promoting women.

 

Managing Director Becky John said, ‘Who Made Your Pants? is all about empowering women, and science is still an area that is often thought to be ‘men only’. Many of us were put off science at school and it can remain a closed book, something that someone else does. As someone who has, as an adult, grown to love the way that science helps us to understand our world, I’m passionate about enthusing women and girls with the curiosity to poke things and ask what makes this work?

 

Winchester Science Festival’s aim to promote women in science, and the fact that over half of the speakers in this inaugural year are women, is a delightful testament to the fact that this is not ‘men only’ – we just need to show it off.’

 

Festival Director James Thomas agrees, ”The fantastic rise in public interest in science has started to chip away at the traditional ‘old men in white coats’ image of scientists but Winchester Science Festival also aims to try and dispel the ‘men’ part of that misconception. From Hypatia in ancient Greece to Rosalind Franklin’s pivotal role in the discovery of the structure of DNA, women have always played a crucial role in the advancement of science and I want to celebrate this at the festival’.

 

The Festival programme has been carefully planned to include a broad range of subjects and a full young person’s programme will run alongside the adults’ events.

 

Talks range from Dr. Tori Herridge discussing her latest discovery of Dwarf Mammoths on Crete to

Professor Jim Al-Khalili sharing his love of paradoxes found at the cutting edge of physics.

 

 


 

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New Pants! Coming soon!

Hello there!

The bonanza Bank Holiday is over and it’s back to earth with a bump. Hope you enjoyed your time off, whatever you did with it. We’re back in to some exciting new developments….

A lot of thought goes into our pants. We’re an empowerment project using work to support and nurture women, so our designs reflect what our team can do well, quickly, to build confidence, and then how we can best develop their skills by incorporating new designs, stitches etc. Our current pants use three different machines and stitch types, and so to develop skills, we need to move onto a new design. Conversely, until the skills develop, we can only make one design…

Emma came to visit us last week and brought with her a variety of patterns and examples and we have settled on what will be our next design. I’m not saying much yet as I want it to be a grand new thing, but I have been fortunate enough to have to wear test (I know, my job is tough at times…) an example and it’s lovely. It will introduce a new type of fabric, and will introduce new cutting techniques, new stitches and – in many ways – a level of flexible thinking that is critical to empowerment. Confidence is a fragile thing at times and while we know that our team are, and have been for a while, confident in their abilities with our lovely lace shorts, it’s quite a thing to move onto something different. We don’t want them to feel ‘can’t do’ so the transition into a new product will take a bit of support and management by us. Watch this space for more…

In other very happy news, Emma also approved a gorgeous white lace. We have rejected over 20 so far as not being good enough but we’ve wanted to offer a basic white short and so are really pleased. This will be at the same price as our basic black £12.50 and you can pre order them now, along with a White Working Week gift set including 5 pairs of white, and a Your Basic Week including three white, three black and one of our gorgeous shocking pink. Find them all here http://whomadeyourpants.co.uk/shop/pants.php

That’s all for this week. Hope you have a good, summery one!

Becky and the team

News in brief…

Della has definitely booked a holiday, Becky got a perfect view of the sun SECONDS after the Transit of Venus finished, Samia has mastered a new edging stitch on our baby overlocker machine, Sacdiya has been learning to pick and pack pants, our volunteer Amy has finished her Maths degree and is no longer a student, Hawa and Batol are learning a new stitching technique, and Yasmein and Zuhra are studying for exams.

Our open day is coming up! Read all about it here

https://beckypants.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/come-and-meet-the-people-who-made-your-pants/

and book here http://whomadeyourpants.co.uk/shop/misc_products.php?misc_id=21

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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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Who Made Your Pants? responds to Mary Portas’ ‘Kinky Knickers’ launch

On the 9th February 2012, Mary Portas launched her ‘Kinky Knickers’ range at Liberty, London, and ‘turned the lights back on’ for Great British Manufacturing, after four months in development and training apprentices.

It’s fantastic to see someone with the media presence and impact of Mary Portas tackling an issue that so many of us have been involved with for years. UK Manufacture is a hugely important issue, for all kinds of reasons. It’s important to keep skills alive and to have jobs for the crop of talented and creative graduates coming through courses like Contour Design at Leicester De Montford every year. I’ve had a personal concern about labour rights and standards overseas, as well as unnecessary ‘clothes miles’ and waste in the lingerie industry and it was this led me to set up Who Made Your Pants? In 2008. Based in Southampton we create jobs for vulnerable women who need them by turning end of line fabrics into new knickers and training, and then jobs, whilst also challenging the bigger brands to be open about their supply chain. It’s been a tough four years but we are incredibly proud, not just to be supporting traditional industry in Britain, but to be able to provide women with valuable skills and rewarding work making gorgeous, comfortable, quality underwear.

And we are not alone. Despite headlines to the contrary, the lights haven’t quite gone out on British Industry. In fact it’s quite a thriving scene Mary is joining. There are scores of independent brands out there, struggling to compete with the multinationals yes, but together making a significant contribution to British manufacturing, British brands and the British economy. Brands like Ayten Gasson and Kiss Me Deadly have been steadily doing their thing for years, building a loyal following and producing gorgeous, wonderful things.

Saying that, it’s true that there’s almost no-one who can shine as big a light on the scene as Queen of Shops, Queen of Frocks, Retail Tsar Mary Portas. She is the ‘go to’ person for this stuff because she is good at it. And now Mary is bringing the story of UK made underwear to our TV screens. Speaking in the Guardian on Friday 24th February 2012, regarding the programme that will hit our screens soon, she said,

“Should we compete with the sweatshops who can make knickers more cheaply? No. That’s not what we should do morally as a nation…. But we can compete with the Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Boots [market]. That’s where I believe we can genuinely compete.”

I spoke to Mary about just this subject, price and competition, in June 2011. Mary was the keynote speaker at the Co-operative Congress, and we, the audience, were asked to put forward questions for her. I asked ‘How can small producers with higher costs make it onto the high street? There are certain mark ups demanded by retailers which might be hard to achieve without compromising the business model’. And my question was selected and answered by Mary herself. ‘You have something they don’t have. Your story. Tell it loud and unashamedly’ she said directly to me. It was good advice. Independent brands in Britain indeed have our own unique and individual stories to tell. But we also have to tell our story collectively. We have strength in our numbers and we must support each other.

Mary’s skill in drawing attention to British industry in the lingerie category is an opportunity for those of us already in the industry to share the spotlight. We need to celebrate our combined efforts and show the public that they already have lots of opportunity to ‘Buy British’ every day. Whether high end or everyday, lace or cotton, ethical or just plain pretty there is a lot of choice being produced by people who would love to come out of the shadows and share their stories of UK manufacture with the public at large. We are many small voices but if we sing together we will be heard.

I really do hope that Mary Portas, champion of the independent and the underdog in retail, uses her formidable strength and enviable media presence to celebrate all UK manufacturers. I’m sure I speak for many of us when I say that if her TV crew want to visit other UK manufacturers they would be most welcome. I’m sure that all of us, who are keeping UK manufacturing alive, would appreciate a little of that light.

Responses to Kinky Knickers Launch

http://www.thefullfiguredchest.com/2012/02/why-we-should-support-indie-lingerie-brands-and-accept-no-imitators/

http://www.aytengasson.com/news/Lates_News/British_Designer_Supporting_UK_Manufacturing_43.html

http://franticaboutfrances.co.uk/2012/02/05/mary-portas-turning-the-lights-back-on-for-uk-manufacturing/

Use of training

http://www.lingerieinsight.com/article-1875-lawyers-help-recruit-mary-portas-apprentices/

Press re Kinky Knickers Launch, some with comments

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/24/mary-portas-big-plan-smalls

http://www.lingerieinsight.com/pics-1830-mary-portas-launches-kinky-knickers-at-liberty/

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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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WOW – what a great day. What GREAT women.

Hello again everyone

Look at this, it’s a Sunday evening and I’m writing a blog. I’ve had such an amazing time recently that I’ve just got to get it out of my head and onto , well, not exactly paper but you know what I mean

This is all about my day at the WOW Festival – if I try to cover anything else as well it will be pages! http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/women-of-the-world

Yesterday was a truly magnificent day, though long. The itinerary was…

6.15 Up to get the 7.40 train to London (the alarm was set for 6.30 but my darling cats woke me up at 6.15.. sweet, eh?)
7.40 – train, on which I read about Invisible Cows and telescopes
10-11 set up a stall in Royal Festival Hall
11 Head to Artists Entrance of Queen Elizabeth Hall
12-1.15 WOW Bites talks, 15 minute slot for me to talk
1.15 – 7pm SELL SELL SELL

I don’t quite have the words for how I feel about the day. I really had a lovely lovely day and a day like that has been a long time coming – it felt like my reward for the long slog (back to that on Tuesday). It was amazing. Astonishing. Hugely powerful, inspiring, supportive and validating. The longer I work in the women’s sector (that I had no real idea I had moved into when I started this whole thing) the more I love it, the more I want to be part of it, the more I get angry at the rubbish status quo that accepts objectification of women and abuse of them, and the more determined I get to yell and shout and do everything I can, with every sinew, to Make Things Better. Being surrounded by women yesterday, engaged, conscious women, was a delight and a treat. Selling £840 worth of pants was pretty good too, and running out of gift bags and tissue paper the same! I’m enormously proud that I, and we, are part of this and that we are making changes.

So, I got to London and to the RFH and at ten o’clock we got going with set up.. HUGE thanks to the awesome Laura and Clair who gave up most of their Saturday to help me set up, and sell – payment in Welsh Cakes is unusual but seemed to be appreciated! After a minor incident with a bashed hanging rail pole that needed pliers to fix, we were away and the stall looked lovely, pants and bunting hanging up and doing their job of attracting attention. At 11 I rushed over to the Artists entrance, in such a hurry as it turned out that I had to go back and get pants to show off..

But oh me oh my – Artists entrance! Green Room! Bidisha who’s column I do LOVE from the Guardian! Finn Mackay of Reclaim the Night*, Jess Search of BRITdoc, Harriet Boatemaa of the co-op that OWNS Divine Chocolate, Radharani Mitra, the women behind the condom normalisation programme in India, and Brigid McConville talking about maternal mortality and the bizarreness of hospital units being donated and built in areas with no electricity.. and left to rust… I was sharing a stage with women who I felt frankly, dwarfed by.

I did what I do and talked about me and pants and why I do it and I talked, more than I usually do, abut being raped. That’s not to say I described it but I actually said ‘I was raped’ instead of saying ‘I had counselling with Rape Crisis’. The talks were supposed to be inspiring and I really wanted women to see the proof that there really is life after rape and that it doesn’t have to be the end. The whole talk seemed very well received and even before I’d got back to our stall afterwards, people had been there and said they’d come to support because of my talk. So that was good.

The day was pretty non stop after that. We sold out of a few sizes and had some great offers – a woman who is a lawyer has offered remote legal support, a woman who set up a women’s network in the City has offered to introduce me to it and other groups that would like to hear me talk, and I was asked by a number of people for interviews and the like. I was personally chuffed to bits to put a face to the name Esme, to see the Olivia who loves our pants, to have a huge Tamsin Omond hug and to bump into Emma from Pink Stinks. Very happy fun times.

We were sell sell selling all day long and even when we were packing up the boxes to leave we sold more. And then a friend dropped by and bought me a restorative gin and tonic, before another friend arrived with a car to take me and all our kit the 82 miles back to Southampton.

If yesterday is characterised by anything for me, it’s that friendship and women are powerful forces. The whole event was about women and not just the things that so often get discussed – rape, violence, discrimination. It celebrated success and joy and delight and achievement and strength. Friendships bring those things and women have them by the bucket load.

Women of the world – WOW. What a GREAT day.

x

*If you think a march against male violence against women isn’t important or relevant, ask yourself if you’d happily walk home alone, anywhere, at anytime of day or night if you’re a woman. Or if you’d be happy to hear about your sister or partner or daughter or mother or niece doing so. If the answer is no, ask yourself this next – who do we, societally, expect to change their behaviour. The woman? Should she stay home to be safe? Impose a curfew on herself? Or should we expect people, men, to not attack women? With whom does the responsibility for violence lie?)

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Right here, right now, right here, right now..

Good morning all! How are you today? It’s sunny and bright out there and don’t I feel better for it.

Things here at pants HQ are still pressurised and we are very much doing what we call firefighting – just the urgent stuff, nothing else. Della has been reduced to packing my kit for events rather than, oh, managing staff or writing management plans and reports, as we’ve been massively short on woman power. But today feels a brighter day. We’ve a great atmosphere here today – lots of women in the production area,a good number of volunteers, and that elusive sunshine filtering in through the windows.

So, what’s happened since I last wrote? I’ve done a few tiny posts but my last proper entry was the 8th Feb – my desperate oh oh woe post. Thanks so much to everyone who got in touch afterwards – real support and help are invaluable. Thank you. Since then, plenty has happened. We’ve finalised our colour plans for the year and sorted out what colour bows, threads and gussets we need. I’ve started my mammoth events calendar. Through March I have eight separate things to be at, and am working some nights until eleven pm (sob) so there has been a scheduling task to make sure I take the time back and don’t conk out, but then also catch up with Della. If I’m out at events, then out taking time in lieu, I’m not here and it’s amazing how fast Della and I can get disconnected and lose track of what each other is doing.

Our new press assistant April is doing really well, she’s keen and competent and comes to me with lists of questions and also suggested solutions – bliss! We’re putting some press out, hopefully today, as a call for BUMS – we need bum models! We’ve had some good press too – I was very proud to be featured in the South Wales Echo, a newspaper from my childhood! Have a look at these links if you’ve not seen them yet.

http://www.ogunte.com/innovation/featured-women-socinn/324-becky-john-who-made-your-pants
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/03/01/becky-unveils-her-patriotic-pants-91466-28252876/

We’ve also had out first photos from our new photography assistant. Looking good. I’m excited about getting photos of our new gift sets soon too. They make me so happy! Another volunteer, Aga, has been rifling through the boxes of ribbons we’ve been sent from Lush – they are extras from their gift department and we’re going to turn them into gift wrap for our sets. I want to play…!

We’re starting to get more applications for voluntary work in response to the calls I’ve been putting out. I’ve had a great meeting with Southampton Voluntary Services (long may they continue – I’m personally terrified for them that they will be cut. How the hell are we supposed to have this ‘Big Society’ run by volunteers if there is no support and training for volunteers? My mind boggles…) We’re getting clearer about what we need – we need a minimum of 6 hours a week and a commitment of at least ten weeks. It takes four week for someone to learn where things are and how to do things and it can be a huge drain on Della’s time if she has to constantly support people. We’ve agreed that, in future, we’ll be happy to open up more volunteer roles to people who need us, but right now, we need people who can help us. The reality is, BIg Society watchers, that it is A Very Hard thing to find experienced, competent people who will do the work, unpaid for enough hours to *run* an organisation or activity – they tend to, erm, have jobs, and be busy. Mr Cameron, take note!

What else? Oh! we’ve launched some super smashing splendid pants for St Davids Day and ran a competition about it too – see previous posts – and we’ll announce the winner soon. They are gorgeous and the lace is great quality – it feels nice and strong and supportive without being too weighty. I’m quite demanding about the lace that we take on – it;s easy to get carried away with all the pretty colours but we need it to have certain stretch qualities and it;s best if it’s a certain width as it means less tweaking of patterns.

I’ve been to my very first RSA event and had a lovely time. I’m looking forward to getting more plugged in to their networks and events programmes. The library blew me away – I’m a complete bibliophile and had purposely taken no bag so I could not take loads of books home. I limited myself to two and am going through them with delight.

What else.. I’ve been filmed by Midshires Co-op for a film on ‘why co-ops’, applied for bursaries to hold two co-ops events, been to PURE London, a huge fashion trade show – I love the shuttle buses between the two venue. Old Routemasters! Have had a meeting with another local place about a refugee/co-ops event in summer, appointed a new Committee member, been approached by a newswire, done a volunteering fair at the University of Southampton, started the process of moving our website to a new hosting and development solution (thank you to J who hosted, developed and supported for soooo long) written a reference, caught up with local happenings at the City Council,met Ethiopian and Eritrean women, spoken for the University Feminist Society, arranged to be at the University for two International Womens Day events, written template lists of what I need for different sorts of events, played with bows for colour matching. Busy busy. And we now employ ten women part time, and are training one more. I LOVE that.

If you want to come and see me, I’ll be at a bunch of events in March. Highlights are…

3rd March
Evening sales stall at Fashion on the Age of Austerity at V&A Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green.

7th March 2011 TBC
Evening sales stall and Speaking at a Student Union IWD event Uni Southampton

8th March International Women’s Day
Sales stall, Uni of Southampton, 10-4 with University Feminist Society, selling pants on campus and promoting us.

http://www.teapigs.co.uk will be running a discount code promo and competition to their 16000 strong mailing list 7th March ref IWD.

10-13 March WOW festival
Speaking 12-1 on the 12 March, selling stall all day Saturday

17th, 18th March Responsible Business Event.
We’ll have a stall exhibiting both days and I will be speaking at a seminar for 20 mins on Friday 18th.

Maybe see you there? If not, happy March!

Love

Becky
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