Fashion-Enter hires 77 former Laura Ashley workers for new Welsh factory
British clothing manufacturer and social enterprise Fashion-Enter Ltd is set to open a new site in Powys, Wales after securing support from the Welsh Government and a new contract from ASOS.
The site, based in Newtown, has received support from the Welsh Government's Economy Futures Fund as well as from the ReAct wage subsidy programme.
Some 77 skilled former employees of Laura Ashley will initially help to produce 10,000 garments a week for the ASOS contract which is expected to grow to 20,000 a week within a month.
The factory will be based in the Royal Welsh Warehouse, known locally as the Pryce Jones Building. The landmark building is owned by the Potter Group of Welshpool, who have also invested in the building to facilitate its use by Fashion-Enter and whose project team of contractors, solicitors and surveyors were able to deliver the accommodation for occupation in a very short time frame.
As well as producing clothing for ASOS it will also make for Manchester's Private White V.C. The workers were recruited from the former Laura Ashley factory in Powys, the closure of which was announced in June.
Fashion-Enter CEO Jenny Holloway said: “Many of the stitchers we have hired had loyally worked at Laura Ashley for more than 35 years. I couldn’t rest knowing they were going to lose their jobs. You also don’t find experienced stitchers of that number anywhere anymore, they are like gold dust.
“We are absolutely delighted with the support and guidance we have received from the Welsh Government which has resulted in Fashion-Enter being able to employ staff and we still want to recruit a further 30 stitchers. Our order book is currently full, and the sky is the limit.”
Fashion-Enter is already operating in line with the many aspects of the Welsh Government’s Economic Contract which is designed to promote fair work and help companies to future proof. The company employs trained psychologists to support staff and has significantly increased staff earnings by introducing a performance related pay system.
It also plans to increase local employment and invest in local skills levels by establishing a textile academy in Newtown over the comping months, and is committed to promoting good sustainability practice, and reducing its own environmental impacts along with that of its partners and clients. It has also signed up to the Code of Practice on ethical employment in supply chains.
Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates, said: “Powys, and the Newtown area in particular, has a rich manufacturing history, with highly skilled and experienced individuals. I am delighted Fashion-Enter Ltd has seized the opportunity to put their valuable expertise to work with this important investment in Mid Wales, which will continue that rich tradition for years to come."
Fashion-Enter was initially started in London in 2010 with support from ASOS along with Marks & Spencer and John Lewis. It is a not for profit, social enterprise, which strives to be a centre of excellence for sampling, grading, production and for learning and development of skills within the fashion and textiles industry and was established by Holloway who formerly held buying roles at Arcadia and M&S.