Taking a Liberty with Mary Portas’s pants.

23 Mar

Last nights episode of ‘Mary’s bottom Line’ on Channel 4 was very interesting. Issues were raised as to the quality of the lace, which was provided by the Nottingham lace maker, deadlines were closing in and training and actual production was becoming more of an issue.

Mary went out and did her thing, which is selling her brand concept to stores with the hope that they would order “Kinky Knickers”. The first stop for this was Liberty. If you haven’t visited Liberty it’s a large department store, which sells a lot of big name brands but does it with a lot more panache and gravitas than almost any other store you may have bought from.

Mary spoke with one of the head buyers and after a bit of theatrical humming and hawing he agreed to not only but 500 pairs of Kinky Knickers but also to hold the launch of the product in the store. Much joy from Mary at this point and deservedly so. I’ll return to Liberty in a moment.

Next up John Lewis, Boots and others, which netted total sales of almost 1500 pairs of Kinky Knickers and the feeling was that for now, at least, sales aren’t going to be a problem. Getting them made and delivered looked like being more of a problem given that the launch date was to be the 14 February and Liberty were giving over a whole window for the launch.

Yesterday I mentioned that there might have been some issues with the Kinky Knickers sizing and quality. This has turned out to not be the case. The issues seem to have been created by Liberty who had put incorrect sizing information on their website. Now this may have been due to information provided by Kinky Knockers or it may have been due to Liberty. Either way an email has been despatched to Liberty to point out the error of their ways and to seek some sort of recompense for the mis-sizing information. I will keep you informed as to progress or not before next week’s final episode.

It’s obvious that Mary has much to learn about the manufacturing process, regulations and the overall complexity of it all. This is not a criticism. There is no reason why Mary should have known about all of that, it’s only when you have to do things you then learn what is truly involved.

The overall aim to develop UK manufacturing is very valuable and necessary and the drive to improve the UK economy will no doubt benefit from this if enough existing manufacturers bring their production back to the UK (Michele Mone for example, Dyson too). Consumers will pay a little more for products if they are UK designed, sourced and manufactured. The short section of the programme which covered the visit to the Barbour manufacturing plant in South Shields showed that, at least to some degree, manufacturing can work in the UK.

On a much more serious note the use of the word gusset has now reached 4 utterances over the first two episodes and quite a number of ladies bottoms were on display also, although there were no lingering camera shots in slow motion al a Baywatch. Whew!


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