STORIES FROM OUR
FACTORY FLOOR - DAN

Words L.Cloudsdale Images D.Watson

STORIES FROM OUR
FACTORY FLOOR - DAN

Words L.Cloudsdale Images D.Watson

Every business needs a man like Dan. An indispensable part of the team, he’s the one who keeps tabs on every process to makes sure the whirring cogs of production are kept well-oiled. It’s a role that requires a certain sleeves-rolled-up mastery and the capacity to keep calm under pressure – definitely not a job for the fainthearted. When the lights go out at 6pm on the factory floor at Private White V.C., he’s the one left counting, checking, chasing and planning for the next day. With so much on his plate it’s a wonder he retains such a sunny disposition, but for him, hard graft is all part of his DNA.

In the second of our stories from the factory floor, we speak to multi-tasking extraordinaire Dan about his dedication to domestic manufacturing, Rola Cola, and how caravanning with the family helps him unwind.

What’s an average day at Private White V.C. for you?

It’s my job to oversee all the production from start to finish. Once the sampling and product development stages are complete, the processing begins. I’m in charge of ordering and monitoring the delivery of all raw materials (fabric, linings, buttons, and zips), as well as being responsible for the cutting, making, finishing, warehousing, and delivery of every garment that leaves this building. From day to day, hour to hour, I tend to wear many different hats. Today I’m ordering fabrics to phase into the factory for Spring/Summer 2019 whilst also concentrating on the production that’s going through now. Later today I’ll be down in the warehouse packaging up the goods that were made three weeks ago. but the fact that everything’s in one place makes life much more manageable. Instead of spending my working day sending emails to factories in the Far East and waiting 12 hours for the reply, I just head upstairs to check things are on target, breathe it, feel it and become emotionally involved in every step of making the collection. I feel proud of what I do.

Rumour has it, that you started your career in a bakery. How did you make the transition to the fashion industry?

School bored me. It wasn’t that I struggled with anything intellectually, but I was anxious to get out and get working. When I left I started a job working as an apprentice in a bakery, but after three years I realised it wasn’t the industry for me. A friend mentioned that there was an office administrator vacancy for a clothing company called Bentwoods (which then became the Sterling Group) in Glossop. I had no idea even how to use a fax machine, but I knuckled down, learned from senior managers and went from strength to strength. After several promotions through the ranks I ended up being the country manager at their HQ in Altrincham, looking after overseas production. When the UK factories started closing down, I ended up taking various different import/export jobs in the industry and then found out about Private White V.C. It was the perfect opportunity to get back to hands-on, UK manufacturing and getting involved in everything that goes on in the business, here in Manchester, all under one roof.

Why do you think there seem to be two very distinct camps (high street vs luxury) when it comes to the price of clothing? Why is there still a misunderstanding about what something is actually ‘worth’?

I was always the kid who saved up his pocket money to buy the trainers in the shop window. These days it’s not part of the average mentality to save up because there’s so much cheap stuff out there that’s readily available, delivered to your doorstep the next morning. You don’t have to save up, or look after anything anymore because you know you can afford to just buy another one next week. Everyone can relate to the differences between buying cheap tat and holding back until you can invest in the best. Why buy a Swizz watch instead of one from China? Why drive an Audi instead of a Vauxhall? Would you drink Coca Cola or Rola Cola? Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t afford a Porsche, but I’d love one, and can fully comprehend why they are so expensive. If I can put across my passion about the luxury side of the industry, the materials, the labour, the craftsmanship and the benefits you get when they all come together in a product, then it always seems that even the disposable fashion lovers understand why it’s better to save and spend more.

How do you think Brexit will affect companies who produce goods in the United Kingdom?

Brexit is probably going to have an impact on a company like ours, but really, I can’t say for sure what’s going to happen – because nobody can! I suppose if you’re paying increased taxes for importing materials, it could put Private White V.C. on a level playing field, so to speak. When you’re talking hundreds of pounds difference in the price of a coat, the general public would rather buy ten times than buy once, even though the ‘once’ coat will last a lifetime. So, if those import duties are higher, then some of that product made overseas is actually not worth the money you’re paying for it. Customers might try to save a bit of money, maybe save up the equivalent of a month’s salary over a longer period of time to buy a high-end, well-made coat instead of buying five cheaper ones over the year. I’d like to think so, anyway.

Being an Operations Manager seems like the kind of job you can’t do sitting still. Do you ever down tools and stop juggling?

Like everyone these days I have emails on my phone and there’s even a group WhatsApp. It’s constant. There have been times in the past when the roof here has flooded (not surprising, given how old it is!) and it’s James Eden and I here at 2am with the buckets. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is in my eyes, it’s my job, it doesn’t stop. Sure, I go out and enjoy myself, but I’ll always steal a quick glance at my phone to make sure everything’s okay. I’ve always been hungry and ambitious, which has a lot to do with my upbringing because both parents worked extremely hard. I started off at the bottom and worked my way through, using all the experience I’ve gained from nearly two decades in the business to deal with whatever is thrown at me on a daily basis. That’s why having time with my family at our caravan in Anglesey is so important to me, because I need to try and switch off and start to relax. If we didn’t have our time away at the beach I’d just be working, thinking, ‘what can I do next?’. If I’m not running around like a lunatic, I get bored! I guess that’s probably why this job is ideal for someone like me – it’s a 24/7 thing.

Every business needs a man like Dan. An indispensable part of the team, he’s the one who keeps tabs on every process to makes sure the whirring cogs of production are kept well-oiled. It’s a role that requires a certain sleeves-rolled-up mastery and the capacity to keep calm under pressure – definitely not a job for the fainthearted. When the lights go out at 6pm on the factory floor at Private White V.C., he’s the one left counting, checking, chasing and planning for the next day. With so much on his plate it’s a wonder he retains such a sunny disposition, but for him, hard graft is all part of his DNA.

In the second of our stories from the factory floor, we speak to multi-tasking extraordinaire Dan about his dedication to domestic manufacturing, Rola Cola, and how caravanning with the family helps him unwind.

What’s an average day at Private White V.C. for you?

It’s my job to oversee all the production from start to finish. Once the sampling and product development stages are complete, the processing begins. I’m in charge of ordering and monitoring the delivery of all raw materials (fabric, linings, buttons, and zips), as well as being responsible for the cutting, making, finishing, warehousing, and delivery of every garment that leaves this building. From day to day, hour to hour, I tend to wear many different hats. Today I’m ordering fabrics to phase into the factory for Spring/Summer 2019 whilst also concentrating on the production that’s going through now. Later today I’ll be down in the warehouse packaging up the goods that were made three weeks ago. but the fact that everything’s in one place makes life much more manageable. Instead of spending my working day sending emails to factories in the Far East and waiting 12 hours for the reply, I just head upstairs to check things are on target, breathe it, feel it and become emotionally involved in every step of making the collection. I feel proud of what I do.

Rumour has it, that you started your career in a bakery. How did you make the transition to the fashion industry?

School bored me. It wasn’t that I struggled with anything intellectually, but I was anxious to get out and get working. When I left I started a job working as an apprentice in a bakery, but after three years I realised it wasn’t the industry for me. A friend mentioned that there was an office administrator vacancy for a clothing company called Bentwoods (which then became the Sterling Group) in Glossop. I had no idea even how to use a fax machine, but I knuckled down, learned from senior managers and went from strength to strength. After several promotions through the ranks I ended up being the country manager at their HQ in Altrincham, looking after overseas production. When the UK factories started closing down, I ended up taking various different import/export jobs in the industry and then found out about Private White V.C. It was the perfect opportunity to get back to hands-on, UK manufacturing and getting involved in everything that goes on in the business, here in Manchester, all under one roof.

Why do you think there seem to be two very distinct camps (high street vs luxury) when it comes to the price of clothing? Why is there still a misunderstanding about what something is actually ‘worth’?

I was always the kid who saved up his pocket money to buy the trainers in the shop window. These days it’s not part of the average mentality to save up because there’s so much cheap stuff out there that’s readily available, delivered to your doorstep the next morning. You don’t have to save up, or look after anything anymore because you know you can afford to just buy another one next week. Everyone can relate to the differences between buying cheap tat and holding back until you can invest in the best. Why buy a Swizz watch instead of one from China? Why drive an Audi instead of a Vauxhall? Would you drink Coca Cola or Rola Cola? Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t afford a Porsche, but I’d love one, and can fully comprehend why they are so expensive. If I can put across my passion about the luxury side of the industry, the materials, the labour, the craftsmanship and the benefits you get when they all come together in a product, then it always seems that even the disposable fashion lovers understand why it’s better to save and spend more.

How do you think Brexit will affect companies who produce goods in the United Kingdom?

Brexit is probably going to have an impact on a company like ours, but really, I can’t say for sure what’s going to happen – because nobody can! I suppose if you’re paying increased taxes for importing materials, it could put Private White V.C. on a level playing field, so to speak. When you’re talking hundreds of pounds difference in the price of a coat, the general public would rather buy ten times than buy once, even though the ‘once’ coat will last a lifetime. So, if those import duties are higher, then some of that product made overseas is actually not worth the money you’re paying for it. Customers might try to save a bit of money, maybe save up the equivalent of a month’s salary over a longer period of time to buy a high-end, well-made coat instead of buying five cheaper ones over the year. I’d like to think so, anyway.

Being an Operations Manager seems like the kind of job you can’t do sitting still. Do you ever down tools and stop juggling?

Like everyone these days I have emails on my phone and there’s even a group WhatsApp. It’s constant. There have been times in the past when the roof here has flooded (not surprising, given how old it is!) and it’s James Eden and I here at 2am with the buckets. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is in my eyes, it’s my job, it doesn’t stop. Sure, I go out and enjoy myself, but I’ll always steal a quick glance at my phone to make sure everything’s okay. I’ve always been hungry and ambitious, which has a lot to do with my upbringing because both parents worked extremely hard. I started off at the bottom and worked my way through, using all the experience I’ve gained from nearly two decades in the business to deal with whatever is thrown at me on a daily basis. That’s why having time with my family at our caravan in Anglesey is so important to me, because I need to try and switch off and start to relax. If we didn’t have our time away at the beach I’d just be working, thinking, ‘what can I do next?’. If I’m not running around like a lunatic, I get bored! I guess that’s probably why this job is ideal for someone like me – it’s a 24/7 thing.

Being an Operations Manager seems like the kind of job you can’t do sitting still. Do you ever down tools and stop juggling?

Like everyone these days I have emails on my phone and there’s even a group WhatsApp. It’s constant. There have been times in the past when the roof here has flooded (not surprising, given how old it is!) and it’s James Eden and I here at 2am with the buckets. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is in my eyes, it’s my job, it doesn’t stop. Sure, I go out and enjoy myself, but I’ll always steal a quick glance at my phone to make sure everything’s okay. I’ve always been hungry and ambitious, which has a lot to do with my upbringing because both parents worked extremely hard. I started off at the bottom and worked my way through, using all the experience I’ve gained from nearly two decades in the business to deal with whatever is thrown at me on a daily basis. That’s why having time with my family at our caravan in Anglesey is so important to me, because I need to try and switch off and start to relax. If we didn’t have our time away at the beach I’d just be working, thinking, ‘what can I do next?’. If I’m not running around like a lunatic, I get bored! I guess that’s probably why this job is ideal for someone like me – it’s a 24/7 thing.