My mother taught me to sew so I was well prepared to create my first lavender bag, and a great many to follow. However there was always going to be a time when I needed to outsource the manufacturing of my Lavender Collection.
I was apprehensive about creating rising costs, having to commission very large quantities and finding greedy factory bosses.
By chance I was introduced to Jesus Mereno, the managing director of IPSIS, a state aided scheme to help handicapped people into work. I have to say his name gave me hope. Part of the IPSIS group is a sewing factory run by Chantal. I instantly liked her. She is a ‘yes we can’ lady which is rare to find in France and was happy to start off with relatively small quantities with the belief that these would grow. The factory employs 40 people with various mental or physical handicaps. Due to their conditions they are unable to hold down jobs in conventional factories.
Chantal is one of the finest people I have worked with. She is highly efficient, frank and always enthusiastic. Such a pleasure. Nora runs the factory floor, has a divine smile and is a stickler for detail and precision.
Their sister factory fill all my lavender bags. They are 2 kms apart with frequent deliveries between the two. Elisa 30 is also an IPSIS organization and Noelle is the boss of the factory floor. She has 14 employees who meticulously weight my lavender, fill the bags and tie the pretty bows. Elisa 30 has 4 separate divisions in total: a commercial cleaning service, a motorbike garage, a restaurant and the assembly factory. In total they employ over 100 handicapped people.
Noelle has worked hard to perfect my collection and nothing leaves the factory before passing before her beady eye. Once it has left her factory I know it will be perfect.
Being so close to where I live I am able regularly to visit the factories. I adore seeing neat rows of my lavender bags all ready to go. I can tell you it beats getting on a plane to China!