Fashion – Enter Secures Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBILS) from HSBC UK
Social enterprise Fashion-Enter Ltd has secured a £250,000 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBILS) from HSBC UK which will help safeguard and protect all jobs during their expansion program which includes opening a new factory in Newtown, Wales and protect 77 local jobs.
Fashion-Enter, a centre of excellence for ethical manufacturing and technical skills in the fashion and textiles industry, purchased the 15,000 sq.ft facility in Newtown, which was previously occupied by retailer Laura Ashley. The factory has been home to 77 local textile workers for the past 40 years. The highly-skilled stitchers, many who have up to 40 years’ experience, were at risk of losing their jobs but have been recruited by Fashion-Enter to sample, grade and produce its own garments for high-profile British retailers including ASOS.
As well as being a centre of excellence for sampling, grading and producing garments, Fashion-Enter supports the development of apprentices as part of its commitment to help nurture future talent in the British fashion and textiles industry. The company will be launching a 12-month apprenticeship programme at the new factory, enabling up to 30 local apprentices to develop their skills alongside some of the most experienced stitchers in the industry.
Jenny Holloway, CEO of Fashion-Enter, said: “You can create all the business plans in the world but sometimes its just about taking your ‘business hat’ off and helping people. After visiting the factory for the first time in the lead up to the purchase, I was taken aback by the kindness and generosity of the people. One of our principle motives behind expanding the business into Wales was to protect the jobs of so many highly-skilled workers. We couldn’t just say goodbye to people who have dedicated up to 40 years of their lives to the industry and local economy.
“Our experienced stitchers will become a key asset for the business moving forwards. Not only will they play an important role in our growth plans in Wales but they will also assist the learning and development of new apprentices over the next year. Thanks to the support from our Relationship Manager at HSBC UK, Amran Miah, the business has become even stronger and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”
One of the 77 local workers recruited by Fashion-Enter, who has worked at the Newtown factory for 13 years, Anwen Johnson, commented: “I was overwhelmed by how supportive and sincere Fashion-Enter were during the takeover. We’ve all worked together at the factory for so many years, creating memories along the way and building more than just working relationships. We’re such a tight-knit community here in Newtown. To help break the ice during Jenny’s first visit to the factory, I thought it would be a nice idea to bake a cake for everyone to enjoy – it’s the least we could do as she’s given us back our jobs.”
Richard Gimblett, Area Director for Business Banking in London City, HSBC UK, added: “Fashion-Enter has managed to expand its presence across the UK and protect vital jobs in the local community in an incredibly challenging year. HSBC UK was pleased to provide a CBILS loan to support the purchase of its new factory in Wales, and we look forward to continuing to work with the business as it realises its future growth ambitions.”
Fashion-Enter is a not-for-profit social enterprise which specialises in sampling, grading and producing fashion garments for high-profile British retailers including ASOS. All of its raw materials are sourced from Leicester before being developed into fashion garments at its factories in the UK. The company only supplies to British retailers to ensure it is able to maintain a sustainable and ethical business model in the future.