Since starting out on my Silly Old Sea Dog journey in 2013, I always wanted ethical, fairly made products to be at the heart of the business.
I always felt it a shame that so many products are now made overseas, by cheap labour, that can often be forced, and very much impose unfair working conditions on the people who make the products.
I started out designing and making the garments all by myself, in my studio in Newquay. It soon became apparent that it was unscaleable and unsuitable to continue doing this and that I had to find a factory to take over the workload. This would allow me time to spend marketing the products and travelling to events across the country to meet you all. It also ensures that our standards are kept high regardless of the quantity we are producing and that we have the best people available making our dresses.
Our first few batches of dresses were made by a factory in Manchester in 2014. Unfortunately after a management takeover in 2016 at this factory our relationship broke down and I was left hunting for another factory that could produce garments to the standard I expected from Silly Old Sea Dog and that you expect to receive.
In 2016 I was lucky enough to find Derek, who runs a lovely small family operated factory in Scotland – and this is where all of our dresses are made today.
Derek has a small team who have worked together for a number of years (many of the ladies in the factory have worked there for over 20 years). Upon visiting the factory (although quite a trek from Newquay!) I immediately had a good feeling about it and about moving my business there. Derek showed me around all the departments of the factory, from cutting to sewing, pressing and packaging and I had a really great feel for the place. The staff are all from local surrounding villages and the factory is located right in the Scottish highlands in a lovely spot.
Knowing that our products are made in Scotland rest assures me that the brand is ethical, our staff are all paid fairly for the hard work that they do and protected by EU laws. I also know that if there are ever questions, I can always pick up the phone and speak to someone straight away who speaks English as their native tongue. It also means that our dresses can be turned around quickly and easily and that we can make special order items for you., something which wouldnt be possible if we produced overseas.
I continue to design the dresses from Newquay and choose all of the fabrics that we use, I like to be in control of what we are producing and am involved with all aspects of the production and sales cycle. Our patterns are also made in the UK by our lovely Pattern Maker Belinda, who initially makes a sample which we try and test and from here grad the patterns into all sizes from 6 – 24. You can watch a little video HERE with me testing a new style dress on our plus size fit model Steff.
Our dresses are all made of 100% cotton, they can be washed and tumble dried. Every part of the production process from cutting to stitching and packaging is completed in Scotland (unlike some companies who only make part of their garments in the UK, but label the products as UK produced regardless). Our pricing may not be as low as many reproduction competitors, however we know our products are built to last, like original vintage dresses and are fully ethical as well as being made in short runs, so it is unlikely that you will see someone out in the same dress as you!
We hope that you enjoy your dresses and know that they come from a well thought out background supporting small and British business.
If you have any more questions about our production process, please do get in touch.