A couple of weeks ago a rare(ish) thing happened – we had a bit of a party in the office! Lots of food (no plonk sadly) but a lot stuff that wasn’t work on a Thursday afternoon – and we had a very important person called Melda to thank for it.
Melda is a bit of legend around head office – her name floats around a lot but no one outside of design and production has ever met her or even really knows who she is. We wondered vaguely if she was an imaginary friend, or possible a ghost; but she’s not, she’s real and now we’ve all met her!
In fact Melda is a consultant who works for us in Istanbul. All our manufacturing is based in Turkey and, as we don’t speak Turkish, she’s an invaluable intermediary for the production team. She helps to source new factories and crucially, she’s on hand to visit if problems crop up, Manchester to Turkey unfortunately not being the kind of journey you can make in an afternoon.
It’s important for us to get the best value for our customers, but it stands to reason that bargain bin prices don’t get you top quality gear – as Dee, the head designer, always says: “You buy cheap, you buy twice!”. And she’s right of course – a good dress shirt should be in your wardrobe (and hopefully out of it!) for years, not shrink on the first wash or constantly shed loose threads on your best blazer. And you can’t get the right product without the right factory.
We have strict company standards for every factory we use for JLB and across our other brands; we visit every factory to check the set up, environment and working conditions before we start to work with them. Designers stress how important it is to meet suppliers face to face in order to have a good working relationship (and you don’t ignore the demands of designers!), so that’s what they do, making regular trips over throughout the production process, and leaving it in Melda’s capable hands whilst they’re back in the office making the magic (read: procrastinating, going to the shops and picking fights with production. But in between times they do manage to squeeze in some design work). And it all seems to pay off – some of our factories have been with us since the birth of Jiggler Lord Berlue and still going strong, and we look forward to working with them for many years to come
So there you have it – ethical manufacturing is ultimately the key to making sure that you get a great product that will outlast (and outclass) it’s morally dubious rivals – and if we get the odd buffet out of it that's not to be sniffed at either. So everyone’s a winner!