Small local clothing maker turns into one of Woolworths’ great finds


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* This article is brought to you by Woolworths, committed to making a difference for our people and our planet.

The business started from humble beginnings in 1998 with Lance and his wife Georgina, both garment workers and entrepreneurs at heart, starting a promotional clothing business called Basic Marketing in their garage with R2 750. Fortunately, they landed a contract with Old Mutual which led to more contracts with other large companies.

In 2006, they saw the opportunity to expand their fashion offering and opened a second business supplying clothing suppliers who in turn supplied local retailers.

A year later, they realized that even though they had two businesses, they still weren’t financially viable. But as life would have it, a year later the demand for their clothes increased enough that they were looking for premises in Woodstock and employing 35 people. But they were still just making ends meet. Lance realized that the only way to become financially stable would be to supply retailers directly, so he started courting Woolworths as he was already supplying Woolworths through Bibette.

Lance’s big break was the FIFA World Cup. Woolworths was looking for a local supplier with a quick turnaround time to help manufacture World Cup merchandise. Lance took the opportunity and returned within a week of the briefing with samples for approval. Woolworths was impressed with Lance’s persistence, quality of work and speed of execution and therefore awarded the company to him.

Lance had to double its workforce and in two months supplied more than 75,000 units of World Cup branded children’s and men’s clothing. Based on the success of this order, Woolworths has requested Season’s Find to become an official Woolworths supplier and has placed its next order for Fall / Winter 2011.

Since then, Season’s Find has proven to be an extremely knowledgeable and valuable supplier to Woolworths and orders from Woolworths have been steadily increasing so that they have been able to grow into a financially viable business employing 120 people.

Last year, Woolworths was looking to grow its local suppliers and create valuable jobs, knowing that Lance and Georgina had a similar vision, the Woolworths Business Development Department offered Season’s Find a $ 1.9million loan. rand. The loan was an opportunity for Lance to invest in additional infrastructure in the business so that he could take on many more orders from Woolworths and in the process employ more people. He bought additional sewing machines and a new production system. This investment and additional orders from Woolworths have allowed Season’s Find to double its turnover and now employ 179 local Capetonians – mostly women.

Season’s Find is essentially a family business run by Lance, his wife, daughters and son. They were a great team and ideally positioned themselves as a fast supplier with great product development capability. Sadly, Georgina passed away last year, leaving Lance even more determined to prove that local clothing manufacturing is viable.

Season’s Find products are proudly South African in that not only are all the clothes made in Cape Town, but the fabrics and trims are also made locally or in Swaziland. Where possible, Lance also sources BCI certified cotton to meet Woolworths sustainability goals and commitments.

Woolworths believed that the success of Season’s Find could be attributed to Lance’s “Can Do” attitude, his ability to shake things up and deliver. Being a local supplier with a strong focus on social community and a sustainability mindset aligns your business with their own Good Business Journey.

Season’s Find is now an integral part of Woolworths’ business and is an achievement the Woollies are extremely proud of. They currently supply Woolworths with various styles of men’s and children’s t-shirts, sweatshirts and jogging pants.

Woolworths Business Development Program

  • Woolworths believes that enterprise development should be commercially meaningful to both Woolworths and the recipient of enterprise development.
  • Therefore, their Business Development (ED) program was designed to support emerging black businesses in the Woolworths supply chain, including primary and secondary suppliers. Through this strategy, Woolworths helps emerging black-owned suppliers become truly sustainable through a balanced business development program implemented based on an individual needs analysis approach that also meets business requirements. of Woolworths.
  • The program is built on four pillars – all of which are essential in helping an emerging entrepreneur or small business become a sustainable entity: financial assistance, a guaranteed business, targeted upgrading, and a support package that includes mentoring and training. ‘assistance from external experts. .
  • ED support is given to black businesses for 3-5 years, after which it must be demonstrated that the business has reached a certain level of sustainability.
  • Woolworths has stepped up its business development support to 48 companies, which are receiving business development support and financial assistance.
  • Over the past three years, Woolworths has accrued procurement spending of Rand 666 million from Enterprise Development beneficiaries and disbursed Rand 44,043 million in loans
  • Currently, Woolworths has an agricultural sector loan portfolio worth R12.5 million which is currently under review.
  • Over 808 sustainable jobs created, affecting more than 3,632 people
  • ED is a key part of Woolworths Good Business Journey by making a significant contribution to social development and supporting transformation initiatives.

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Gladys T. Hensley