UK MADE . 90% RECYCLED MATERIALS . CREATING EMPLOYMENT FOR THE HOMELESS
MILITARY GRADE MATERIALS
'What Daisy Did' have been hibernating for the last few months, working on our new collection of bags.
We have achieved our ambition of creating our most durable bags yet, whilst still maintaining our values of sustainability and high ethical standards.
We introduce to you the first of ten designs. We are calling this the Brooklyn backpack, and each bag will be named after Cities of the world.
These bags are made from over 99% locally sourced materials with approximately 95% being recycled.
We have found a huge ongoing local supply of broken military canvas tents that come from the Ministry of Defense. Some of these tents are large enough to land small planes in! The canvas is very thick and durable, In fact much of it has already survived 30 years, and we expect it to survive another 30! Even the straps, webbing features and plastic hardware are surplus military grade materials. The creation of these bags have a very small carbon footprint.
The only new materials on this bag are the zips and the thread. We have sourced our zips locally from a factory in Leicester, which is the last remaining zip factory in the UK, with the next nearest being in Poland. We spent an afternoon looking around the factory and made this short video of our zips being made.
Strength has been our main priority with this collection and every design detail reflects this. We aren't using seams in areas of heavy strain. Large compartments are double lined and every seam edge is sealed. We are using the strongest available thread (normally used for heavy duty leather work). In fact we are so confident of their strength that we are offering a 3 year guarantee with every bag.
We have been working with a lady called Angela who has retired from a 45 year long career as machinist and clicker (cutting materials). Angela started her career as a dress maker at the age of 15 and has since worked on making shoes, leather jackets and other garments. For the last 20 years Angela has made bags in her spare time as a hobby, she contacted us to see if we could challenger her with the task of making some of our designs. Angela has a very technical mind when it comes to design and has helped us find the perfect balance between strength, functionality and simplicity.
We have also employed our first UK based machinist called Dawn. Dawn has an extensive career history having worked on sewing machines for 49 years. She has a portfolio of work which covers everything from dresses to underwear. For the last 20 years Dawn has taught fashion at the university of Northampton. For 10 years Dawn has worked as a sample maker which has given her the ability to work with incredible precision.
We recently teamed up with The Northampton Hope Center, a local homeless charity. Together we are piloting a scheme to offer employment to vulnerable and homeless people. A new Lottery funded project will allow for a liaison officer to support the candidates transition into the role. Angela and Chris are our first two employees and will be given the opportunity to learn from Dawn and gain invaluable skills and experience that they can carry with them throughout the rest of their life. As our business grows we will continue to work with the hope centre to find new employees.
We believe this scheme will be a huge success and hope to set an example to other employers. We will be writing future blogs on the progress of this scheme. A portion of each sale will be donated to the Hope centre. More about my thoughts on homelessness can be read here.
Angela cutting patterns (left), Dawn sewing the bags together (centre), Chris cutting up the tents (right).
Northampton is famed for its history of manufacturing (predominantly shoes), and much of Northampton is built upon the industrial revolution. For decades now we have seen a decline in production as we have shifted towards industries such as distribution and finance. We are lucky enough to work with two people that still hold the incredible skills that Northampton no longer practices, and we hope that they can be revived. We want to get Northampton creating and exporting again!
Angela (left) and Dawn (right) working out technical details on our first prototypes.
Our Brooklyn Backpack is expected to go on sale in the next couple of weeks with a new design being launched each month for ten months.
RRP for this design will be approximately £89, if you are interested in purchasing, stocking or reviewing any of our new products, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Ozric Vondervelden,
Co-owner of 'What Daisy Did'.