What Is My Supply Chain?
A supply chain is defined as 'the sequence of processes involved in the production and distribution of a commodity'. Anything that is made or supplied has one. If something is cheap, you should be questioning its supply chain and confronting companies about where these products come from.
I believe it is the duty of every company to show a clear supply chain and be able to demonstrate where possible, what these are. I want to build a watertight trust between myself and my customers as to what happens behind the scenes and be confident when making claims about my chain. So I've added my own so you can see exactly how things happen here at Falcieri Designs.
Research, design, sourcing, customer care
This is all carried out by me in my studio in Manchester. I work out of a shared building with my own secure studio space where I do everything from social media updates to garment manufacture and adding designs to my online shops. I don't work with any other admin staff or seamstresses. My website hosting is with Create but I keep it updated myself. I use a variety of online sources for my research, have my own library of books and am inspired by the world around me for my designs.
Sourcing of materials, haberdashery and waste fabric
All my fabrics come from unwanted stock, upcycle or resales from British factories.
Most of my fabric comes from a man who has a stall on Leicester market. He sources his stock from the textile factories and clothing manufacturers in and around the Midlands. Many of these fabrics have UK labels on them (including Manchester labels) and the final products end up in UK high street shops. This is part of my effort to upcycle and recycle. By purchasing unwanted stock I am helping to stop overstock fabrics ending up in landfill.
At this time I am unable to prove the origins of all of my fabrics since many of them don't come with manufacturer tickets. However, I primarily work with fine knit and jersey which are more often woven in the UK.
I also source from other makers with overstock and co-ops such as Stitched Up in Chorlton who received fabrics from individuals and companies.
I aim to use as much of the fabric as possible. I design using simple pattern cutting techniques which largely use straight lines and therefore all the fabric. Accessories, ties and belts are made with the offcuts from the fabrics braided into rope. These have become a key feature of many of my designs.
Any scrap fabrics are donated back into industry for crafting. Currently I donate scraps back to Stitched Up for their workshops, crafting and resale. Only the tiniest pieces of scrap fabric end up being thrown away.
My haberdashery items are sourced from companies in the UK, second hand, overstock, vintage and swaps through Etsy meetups.
Wages and hours
Like most small business designer/makers I don't get paid unless someone buys something from me. So theoretically I work for nothing. Also, like designer/makers I work a zero hours contract. I have no set hours and no guarantee of hours. When you buy something from a small business you are truly helping that company stay in business, pay bills and put food on the table.
Product imagery, sales and stockists
I collaborate with photographers, models and other artists for product photography. Currently I collaborate on a TF basis. The aim is that at some point I can start paying those people for their time and begin to form healthy paid working relationships with all creatives in and around Manchester. It is a knock on effect. I need photography to be able to sell product, and I need to sell product in order to pay those people.
I manage my own website and online shop and also stock on Etsy. Garments are posted by me from Manchester worldwide via Royal Mail but personal delivery and collection are options for customers . I reuse packaging from received deliveries.
I have worked hard to remain debt free as a small business. I don't owe anybody anything and I have no loans. When necessary I take on contract work with other businesses to help pay for any shortfalls, and where eligible I am registered for Working Tax Credits. Additionally I have an emergency fund to assist with larger one off payments such as car insurance, business insurance and unexpected equipment purchases.