In August 2020 Fashion-Enter (FEL) opened a second factory in Newtown, Powys, in mid-Wales following the sad demise of the Laura Ashley manufacturing plant (Texplan) closure; over 75 experienced Welsh machinists have now been employed allowing FEL to supply a total of 30,000 garments a week.
The Newtown factory produces approximately 15,000 units a week for multinationals including N Brown, I Saw It First and Risdon & Risdon, as well as it’s on own in-house homeware brand Spyce Jones featuring aprons, tea towels and oven gloves. During the pandemic the factory also provided PPE for luxury clothing brand Private White VC.
Located at the Royal Welsh Warehouse, known locally as the Pryce Jones Building, both Laura Ashley and Pryce Jones are a part of the incredible garment production heritage in the area and FEL is thrilled to continue this manufacturing legacy. The landmark building is owned by the Potter Group of Welshpool, who have also invested in the building to facilitate its use by FEL.
FEL recognises the importance of the local community within Newtown and is delighted to have the support of the Welsh Government who provided grant support to buy the latest high spec of machinery for the factory as well as support from the ReAct program.
FEL CEO Jenny Holloway said: “Many of the stitchers we have hired had loyally worked at Laura Ashley for more than 35 years. I couldn’t rest knowing they were going to lose their jobs. You also don’t find experienced stitchers of that number anywhere anymore, they are like gold dust. They are a pleasure to work with and the quality of their work is just outstanding.”
Future plans for Newtown are to increase local employment and invest in local skills levels by establishing a textile academy in Newtown over the coming months, as well as being committed to promoting good sustainability garment making practices, and reducing its own environmental impacts along with that of its partners and clients. The site is currently being Fast Forward audited and has also signed up to the Code of Practice on ethical employment in supply chains.