Well, here we go again! Having moved from our beloved factory in Hong Kong in 2019 after the riots started impacting our delivery, we moved to Sri Lanka, where once again, socio-economic factors (together with covid impact) see us having to move to maintain product quality and delivery deadlines. It's a tough old world out there right now for so many.
Now are off to the EU and to Portugal in the hope of a bit more political stability. Portugal is well known for the high quality of its clothing manufacture and we will be working with a small, family-owned and run factory, still run by its founder of 44 years. In fact, our head of production and operations has also been there that long, starting in her teens.
I visited in July from Lisbon and had the best time there. The factory is full of natural light and smiling women, with 187 of 196 staff being female, including my management and merchandising team. It runs on recycled energy, is ISO:9001 and working on Social Certificate ISO:14001.
They've also brought over 2 families from Ukraine to work in the factory. These are very fine people who genuinely care about everyone's well being.
I had such fun on my long day there, with the team, myself, and many staff of different sizes ending up trying on nursing bra samples as we ate the most extraordinary Portuguese custard tarts! What's not to love here??
I went for lunch locally with Tania, and I thought it was great, that Laura, our designer and operations manager, kept her engagement for a team lunch for a staff member's birthday. Brilliant, prioritise your staff!
The factory is a specialist in nursing bras (with plenty of nursing mothers on the floor to try out prototypes!), which has long been on my to-do list, but is also now working on some new designs with new materials for us. We are working with unbleached/undyed organic cotton from regenerative farms in Brazil and Turkey, and the EU location of our new factory cuts the carbon footprint of our materials which are all EU made.
The factory has state of the art equipment for plotting and laser cutting and I will be sharing videos of these over time on our socials.
In the meantime, we continue to work on next samples, and although I'm sad to leave our Sri Lanka factory after 3 great years, I'm delighted to be working with this great bunch of women going forward!