Hey! Here’s another little update from our co-founder Lucy and the Lucy & Yak Team! Over the last two weeks we've been travelling around the beautiful India, catching up with Ismail, Kunal and our wonderful tailors.
Ethical fashion makes history
This week we had the honour of helping to open Ismail's new factory! Ismail is our main man - we've worked with him from the beginning and his factory make all of our original dungarees. We worked with him to open our main solar powered factory back when we started, but he's now outgrown that one site, and we're beyond thrilled to be in the position to offer him more work and therefore hire new employees.
The new factory is a few doors down from the existing one, and will house checkers, packers and admin - he now employs 45 tailors and 35 other staff! He asked us to come and cut the ribbon on the new building (you can see the video of our slightly failed attempt on our instagram highlights 😂)
Ismail is a wonderful boss to his employees and he runs a relaxed work environment - workers have flexibility and can come in when they choose and they get lots of national holiday time - much more than the UK! We are working with Ismail to get his factory to a really high standard, with the ultimate aim being to get him GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) accredited and eventually fair wear or fair trade certified, so that he gets the official recognition he deserves! This is a lengthy process and we still have a long way to go, the growth that we have seen in 2 years has meant constant challenges for Lucy & Yak, and Ismail’s company has grown at the same rate, and so faces just as many challenges, if not more. Unfortunately Ismail also has less support in India than we have here in the UK, due to him not being based in a city.
We are passionate about sustainability
Kunal's company is called Herbal Fab, another of our main suppliers who we've worked with for two years now. Kunal and his family are really passionate about sustainability within his company, and he's the guy who supplies all our our organic fabric. He's now opening a sewing factory! He met a really great guy called Raju, who managed a sewing set up that had very little work - Kunal and him now work together and Raju’s employees all love him so much, they follow him to whatever factory he moves to!
The new factory will employ 30-35 people, giving them all well paid, safe jobs - Raju & Kunal want them all to have a good stable income, and this will be Lucy & Yaks second factory after Ismail’s in terms of priority for giving work to. The building is lovely and modern and it's opening in a few months time!
Elsewhere in India we've been visiting amazing markets and stroking the lovely cows that roam the streets (see our insta story highlights to see some great cow content!) We've been taking part in some beautiful Diwali celebrations, and visiting the school of the girls who we worked with last year in our Black Friday initiative. More details on that and what we're planning for this Black Friday coming soon! Sign up to our email list - if you are not already - to get all the details first.
Our recent awards...
We're delighted to have been nominated for AND won two awards recently!
The first was a High Growth Business award for Yorkshire & Humber, which aims to "recognise and promote the best of British business through a series of regional heats"
I’ve never really been bothered about awards, but I have to say on this one I felt a real sense of pride. Andrew who came to present us with the award seemed so proud that a business from Barnsley had won, and I know my dad being a proud Yorkshireman will remember this one forever.
The second was the Natwest Entrepreneur of the year award, in the North West category Start-Up Entrepreneur of the year. This award "celebrate[s] the incredible stories that have taken entrepreneurs to where they are today, regardless of size or turnover." We're so excited that we got through to the finals in December - see photos of our wonderful Barnsley team picking up the award in Manchester ( we couldn’t join them as we are in India).
Awards aren't everything but we're always over the moon to be recognised in our efforts to run a really great company!
Thanks so much for your continued support, we love sharing a little bit more about our story and what we're up to behind the scenes with you - if there's anything you want to know specifically drop one of our team an email or a message on social media and we'll do our best to help you!
We'll catch up with you in our next newsletter in two weeks, but in the mean time follow along with us on social!