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  • Rachel Kan

Been there, done that got the t-shirt.


For many years I have been a designer/ design manager from within the industry. So long in the supply base working with factories and mills in India, China, Turkey & Hungary. My first walk into the factory environment was here in the UK - a place called Masons of Leek in my home town. I remember doing a summer of putting on labels and ironing old ladies dressing gowns for BHS and Little woods. The next year they had disappeared, all the Manufacturing moved to India & the skilled work force left to work in retail, as the industry moved into a faster cheaper way of working.

From then it was visiting mills and factories in other countries, I was sent at age 20 to Turkey on my own, I had barely travelled abroad at that age (I was from a working class family and the most exotic holiday we had was Anglesea) so going alone was a huge thing for me. I learn't so much about printing and the technical aspects of fabrics especially jersey from my time in that position. I have always been interested in knowing every aspect of what I do, it informed how I created. In between the factory got more removed from the designers, I saw it happening, we might know the factory name and the people there - but we wouldn't ''Know'' the factory.


Fast forward to now and ironically we are looking for factories closer to home again and a closer link with our supply chains once more is paramount for transparency. As a designer it was most beneficial to understand how the factories and mills worked it meant that you could design for the capabilities of the supply chain that you are using.


In terms of sustainability, you don't have to just switch to a ready to go green solar powered factory. I think that working with your existing chain and transforming it as you go along is a more ethical way to be with it. Don't let your supply chain be left without a job like Masons were in the last recession - look after your workforce, connect with them, collaborate with them.


At Circular Earth, I like to teach and coach your teams how to create effective transparent sustainable supply chains, how to implement and how to share that effectively. The reason I prefer teaching and coaching rather than just coming in and doing to for you - is that once your team is skilled up and has the knowledge and understanding of implementing sustainable and regenerative practice, they are armed to continue the mission long after you have finished paying for me to consult. It pays you back & Its been proven that companies that are going towards sustainable futures in this way retain staff and are more interesting to the younger work force.


So its a no brainer, get on the journey to your sustainable future and have Circular Earth aid your transition.




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