Monthly Archives: April 2010

Christian Aid

Christian Aid

Another new customer to be proud of.  We have been working with Christian Aid and supplied them with Fairtrade cotton hoodies and Fairtrade and organic T shirts.

  All in bright red.

If you click on their logo above and look at their web site you will see all the wonderful work that they do.

The great thing about the organisations we work with, they may have different faiths, or live with slightly different approaches, but they all strive to care for others and our planet.  I have also found another reason to love building this business……..the customers are a pleasure to deal with.  They are interested, patient and warm.  Oh happy days.

Wearing our Fairtrade & organic polo shirt

Here we have a Christian Aid worker wearing one of the polo shirts which we have embroidered with their logo.

Natutally Dyed T Shirts and Aprons

Pomegranate

Well the order for the Eden Project, aprons dyed with tea and coffee, have all been safely delivered.  I am genuinely proud of them.  The are of great quality, the weight of fabric and the construction and the colour……I love the strong but somehow, still soft colour.

We decided to have some made to hold in stock for potential new customers.  It is this type of judgement  that we have to make – to hold stock or not?   Do we take the risk of buying garments without having confirmed customers or do we wait for customers and then manufacture to order for them?

I have made a few mistakes – and although I realise that this is the only way to learn – my mistakes are not my most favourite thing. For example I have lots of organic bar aprons in both unbleached and black fabric, but I have found that we have had sold far more of our Fairtrade and organic bibbed aprons – the bar aprons wait patiently (but not me).

Naturally dyed garments in our industry (company clothing, uniforms) are a step ahead. It will take us a while to find the customers who are committed and leaders themselves to take this route with us.

We have had t shirt fabric manufactured and dyed so that we can show potential customers. Currently we have pomegranate, madder, coffee,  tea plus swatches of a huge range of other colours we can supply using less familiar plants found in India.  My favourite colour at the moment is the beautiful orange dye made with the skin of pomegranate.

My current idea (as I am writing this) is to ask Jenny and Ros to come up with a print design for the front of  naturally dyed T shirts. A design that gets across the message of “Dyeing for change”.  We will then print it, or embroider it and see if we can find a committed organisation who would like to use it for their uniform or to sell in their shops to promote the idea of dyeing naturally.

Maybe there is a museum out there whose theme will be dyeing,  or textiles, or sustainability and the idea will fit perfectly

……Well it’s Sunday and I am expecting a visitor so I have to stop thinking about business and start 1. to tidy the house 2. to think about preparing food (maybe a picnic).  But before I go,  if you are interested in “the perfect t shirt”  take a look at  http://www.betterthinking.co.uk/perfect/ I found this article sometime ago and found it useful and interesting.

Fairtrade Samples from India

Well hurrah!  They arrived today from Morses in India.

Our new, hot of the press, Fairtrade Polo shirt sizing sets. 

In our business before our order is manufactured in bulk Morses sends us a set of garments so that we can check that the sizing is just as we expect it – and today our set of children’s t shirt and children’s polo shirts were delivered.  They are perfect!  We also received our “lab dips”.  These are small swatches (pieces of fabric)  dyed to show us that the colour will also be perfect. 

Morses has been a real help to help.  He is thorough, gives me confidence and is looking after the manufacture of our garments.  I met up with Morses when I visited India last year.  It really makes a difference to talk face to face.

Morses at work

Blasting the Company Horn

  

Company HORN

Here we are again. Another busy week.  We have lots of orders coming through and I am really pleased with how our Fairtrade company is doing. 

When things go well we have a “company horn”.  It is an old brass antique horn and if someone in the company has something to celebrate then they honk the horn!  This week it got honked twice.  

The first time Karen and Ros finished embroidering around 1000 fleece jackets. Whew! A real time for celebration and a good old honking of the horn.   

Ros and Karen honking!

The second time was was Ros received her Fire Marshall certificate.  Ros had been on a workshop to learn all about fires, how to stop them happening, how to put them out, and how to get everyone out of the building.  Everyone who has been on the course finds it very interesting.  So we are looking forward to Ros teaching us all she knows.

I am looking forward to the next time someone wants to “honk our horn!”

Salvation Army New Customer

Salvation Army Fairtrade T shirts

More great news. It just seems to keep coming at the moment!  Lisa has been working away with the Salvation Army on a project they have and they placed their order yesterday.  We are supplying them with Fairtrade cotton t shirts and I am really pleased, of course,  that they decided to use Cotton Roots.

Offering Fairtrade garments is a niche business but one I find really fascinating and fulfilling.  The Salvation Army are a growing band of new customers from the charity sector that are keen to use ethically sourced clothing.  On a personal note my grandmother Maud Smith who ran the public houses “The Lion” and “The Royal Oak” in Abertillery from around 1925 – 1965 would have been pleased.  The Salvation Army often came to the pubs and she made them very welcome.  It was tough times for the miners and their families in the valleys of South Wales and the Salvation Army did lots of supportive work.  So my Grandmother, although  a publican, really respected them and especially asked for them at her own funeral, a fitting tribute of mutual respect.  She was a business woman, family woman, strong woman and I think she would have been proud of us supplying the Salvation Army – so it gives me an added thrill.  Fairtrade T shirts, my Gran, and the Sally Army, a good combination.

Our Customer – English National Opera – Idomeneo

 

Idomeneo the Opera

English National Opera – Idomeneo by Mozart

We have a new customer and that excites me.  Their clothing could not be Fairtrade due to their very specific requirements which is a shame – but it’s just not possible yet.

The English National Opera are performing “Idomeneo” at London Coliseum and we are supplying the costumes. A new one for us – costumes.  It is a very contemporary opera so the performers will be wearing suits, shirts, and blouses which we have supplied.  I have had very little involvement in this order Jenny has worked hard sending samples, and exchanging goods until the opera company was happy with everything.

I am excited about this. I have never been to the opera and I feel a trip to the Coliseum coming on for all of us at Cotton Roots.  I am hoping to get some photographs from the trip and will post them on our blog!  We are of course still using manufacturers who ethically make our garments.

So if you go along to “Idomeneo” in the summer look out for our uniforms. We will be there!

This link will let you listen to osme of the music and an interview with the conductor. Take a look.

http://www.eno.org/see-whats-on/productions/production-page.php?&itemid=26#music

City Eco Hotel – Naturally Dyed Uniforms

Fairtrade organic aprons embroidered

The grand open of the new, swish, really, really green, City Eco Hotel takes place on Friday 9th of April in Bournemouth.

We have supplied the hotel with  their catering staff aprons which are not only organic, made with fairtrade cotton, but also dyed organically using plants.  The shipment from India arrived today so we are burning the midnight oil to embroider  the aprons with “The green room” or  The green house”  and make sure we deliver them on time.

Burning the midnight oil is part of running a company and the enjoyment comes when customers are pleased with us and the garments.

We opened the parcels excitedly – as this was the first batch of aprons that we have made especially for our customers – City Eco Hotel and the Eden Project.  It was a nervous few days as the aprons were “Stuck in customs”.  “Stuck in customs” is a phrase that always gives me the collywobbles. It could mean weeks waiting………. I was worried.  But lots of phone calls later and helpful assistance and they were “unstuck” and arrived today.  Hooray!

The hotel staff will also be wearing Fairtrade polo shirts which are unbleached.  This means that the colour is a beautiful oatmeal hue.  We have embroidered the polo shirts with the hotel emblem, a leaf.   They polo shirts are organic and very soft to touch – so of course scrummy to wear.

I am excited and proud that the director of the hotel Sarah Burrows decided to use our uniforms.  We are trying to expand Fairtrade and organic options for customers all the time.  Their hotel motto is “Luxury doesn’t have to cost the earth”. I like it.

So look out for the hotel  if you stay in Bournemouth www.cityecohotel.com.

MUST get back work embroidering their aprons…….off I go.

Embroidery machine showing "The Green Room" embroidery