Have to say I like Mary and her knickers are very comfortable. I appreciate that working in a factory may not be everyone or indeed anyone's idea of fun but, hey ... these people didn't have jobs and appeared to have no prospect of getting jobs. If this opportunity gives them some confidence and makes them feel part of a productive team isn't that good?
I am astonished at the negativity of the posts on this website!
Ann, I don't know much about business, but I know that the pants are now completely sold out everywhere in the UK, and that seven people in Middleton are still employed. I cannot help but think that around 20,000,000 females in the UK must buy around ten pairs of pants per year, making the market worth 200,000,000 pairs per year. It doesn't seem impossible to me that the UK brand could take 20% of this market and achieve the economies of scale necessary for enduring success. If they started making other lines too....well, I'm only an economist, not a business person, so perhaps I shouldn't speculate further.
I do feel that it is very, very easy to knock and undermine stories / shows such as these. Another way to look at the situation might be to assume that most of the audience knows that it is just watching light entertainment, and that if it prompts people to think a little more seriously about the impact of their purchasing decisions, then it has merit. If it takes a celebrity to get that message across, then so be it.
I think your point about factory work not being seen as a noble pursuit has some merit, but I believe that a lot of people would see it as much more noble than being long term unemployed in a small town and not having enough money to buy your son a pair of football boots.
I take my hat off to Mary Portas. I am glad that she is using her celebrity status not just to trouser a few hundred grand, but to have a go at making a real difference. If she leads, perhaps the "ordinary Jo" might be inspired to follow, and perhaps his or her path to do so may be slightly easier. Tomorrow I'm going to put on my rose coloured spectacles, go out and order ten pairs of Kinky Knickers for my wife.
@Hall Thanks for taking the time to share your point of view Hal.
I agree I am very cynical about TV shows based around business and maybe that's because I work with owners of small businesses who are often faced with trying to explain what they do to people whose only experience of business is through shows like this.
I, too, hope the factory continues and expands and leads to other jobs being created and I think there are some real heroes and heroines already running manufacturing businesses in this country that deserve support and publicity and accolades too. Maybe Channel 4 will put its next tranche of money into celebrating them instead of encouraging the celebrity obsession we seem to have fallen into.
the major problem in the program for me is. The business it self. She set on selling them at £10 pounds. But can she make a profit at selling them at this price. The £10 pound cost has to include 20% vat margin for the retailer. At least 50% and it was her cost price was over £4 pounds. She, the factory must be take a loss on the project. The retails are not going to stock the product on a low margin long term. She keep saying she trying to make a sustainable business but it seem to be more of a vanity project for Mary Portas. I hope i am wrong and every one make money so keep the guys in jobs and the buniness can grow.
Thanks for your comment Stuart - I used the theme of profit for the next post: http://annhawkins.com/2012/04/is-mary-portas-bottom-line-in-the-red/ It would be great to get your opinion there too.
I'm afraid I can't take my hat off to Mary about this programme. The whole thing is built on a false premise. If it can't be duplicated by someone without celebrity status and Channel 4's budget, it has no place holding itself up as an example of what can be done. There's also a lot of rose tinted glasses being worn, I fear. Factory work was never seen a noble pursuit, it was something people tried very hard to make sure their kids didn't have to do.
I agree with everthing you say Ann. My first job was working for the contract clothing division of Coats Viyella. At that time [early 90's] Coats Viyella had about 40 factories producing own label clothing for the high street - the factories were dotted throughout Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. I stayed with Coats for 5 years and in that time the industry was decimated by foreign imports. I doubt any of those factories remain. My own company - Byford Hosiery closed and the site was turned into a David Lloyd gym [a sign of the times?]. Hats off to Mary for trying, but its about 15 years too late and all those wonderfully skilled textile workers have had to find work elsewhere.
Well, you're selling it to me now! I haven't watched it but was going to tonight. What strikes me about these types of programmes is that they are not realistic in the slightest - even though they are portrayed as fly on the wall type stuff. We all know that the Lace Maker *so* wouldn't move heaven and earth to help an Ordinary Joe, so it's not realistic in that sense and that's a shame. But it's also a shame that people are sharing their emotional journeys to help them get a job - because frankly, that's the last thing I want to hear when I'm interviewing someone. Now I'm going to *have* to watch tonight's episode, not least because I was listening to Mary this PM on the radio and she'd made it sound like a brilliant thing she'd done. Which she would. Does she not at least get house points for trying?