Do you know who made your clothes and where they are from?
PUBLISHED: 11:16 28 August 2018
Where Does It Come From?
An Ipswich-based ethical clothing company is planning a new project enabling every item of clothing bought to be fully traceable to the person who made it in Africa.
Entrepreneur Jo Salter is building a reputation for her brand ‘Where Does it Come From?’ which is based on fully traceable, fair trade clothes direct from India. Now she has been busy finding partners to develop a new line in clothes, linking with cotton farmers in Uganda and a tailoring co-operative in Malawi.
The new project will provide fully traceable clothes for customers in the UK, starting with African style tunics.
She said: “We are pretty much there. We have all the people on place for the project.
“The plan is to go out for crowdfunding in September. How quickly we can start depends on how much money we can raise. We hope people will support it.”
Ms Salter is working with partners that include a trust in Malawi called Mayamiko (meaning praise) that provides training and the opportunity for impoverished women, and some men, to learn business skills including tailoring and beekeeping and selling solar lights.
“It also has its own fashion label using these skills to create beautiful and ethical clothing. It is not just tailoring, but other skills,” she explained. “We are going to begin with tunics, and pocket squares and scrunchies. The plan is to move on to other products, and they will all be fully traceable on our website.”
The company’s garments are traceable by using a code printed on the label. By typing the code into the website, the owner can access the story of the garment right back to its beginnings as a crop in a field.
It is a business model that already works well with her Indian products which are sold at events, online and through shops and wholesalers including the FairTrade shop in Upper Brook Street, Ipswich.
Since Ms Salter launched her business from home in 2014, sales have grown year on year. “Last year was especially good with our first big wholesale deal to New Internationalist magazine and three custom print scarf deals to local businesses Maid2clean, Arya Candles and Travel with Jules,” she explained. “I am about to order some more shirts. Customers like to know where they come from; and that the people who make them are fairly rewarded. There can be an ethical element to international trade.”