It’s been almost 2 years since this little label got started, so it’s about time I properly introduced myself! Eeek. Time flies when you are having fun. And packing orders.
I’m Cath: Owner and designer of Frankie Jones The Label. Mama to 2 girls. Avid coffee drinker. Lover of all things creative.
I’m a “giver” and as cliché as it sounds, I started this label as an opportunity to release some of my artistic energy and to HELP others.
I have a background in commercial fashion, but I left my (fun and great) job working as a design manager after suffering a bit of burnout. I was feeling a major lull in my love for the rag trade.
I was ov-ah the mass production; I felt sick about the manufacturing process. I’d started researching pollution and other negative effects of the FAST fashion world – you know, just for a bit of fun on the weekends. (What. A. Geek.)
It’s all much more common knowledge now, but I became a little obsessed the way the manufacturing world was headed all those years ago.
For one thing, fashion is THE SECOND LARGEST contributor to world pollution.
Yes that’s right, your clothes pollute the world second only to the oil industry.
I needed a break and time to figure out what to do with all this all this information…
Like in all good stories, here comes the part where I fell unexpectedly pregnant while travelling around Mexico & South America with my boyfriend (now fiancé and baby daddy).
The cocktails had come to a rude stop but the life planning became REAL.
In Peru I had come across the most amazing crafts people. The knitters particularly caught my attention because I’m a self-confessed knitting nerd.
It was THEN that the Frankie Jones The Label dream began.
I decided I wanted to create a brand that would show the wearer who made their clothes.
That connected the customer to the maker.
I wanted to design and work with the knitters to create beautifully made pieces that could be passed down through generations.
I wanted to show the world that we don’t have to use machinery and chemicals to create great garments; that the manufacturing practices don’t have to operate in this way.
But most importantly I wanted to keep these craftspeople in business. Their trade was dying and their work was so undervalued, that they were forced to take on jobs where they were grossly underpaid and exploited by large fashion houses.
I dreamt of building a hub where the knitters and sewers could come and work in safe, contemporary and pleasant work conditions. Where they could bring their kids. Where they were paid above and beyond the usual standard for the expert work they did.
So of course I flew my pregnant arse – and my very supportive and slightly scared boyfriend – home and got to work!
Fast-forward 18 months to 2016 – with many a hiccup and a baby later – and I launched the first Frankie Jones Collection. It combined the hand knits from Peru and pieces designed in GOT’s Certified Organic Cotton from India.
People always ask me now, how I got started and it did take a lot of time and research into finding the right supply chain? The answer is YES! It took a lot of time and planning to get that first collection released.
But what I also tell them is that I threw all I had into that first collection, and then prayed like crazy that someone liked it.
Luckily people did! We had customers right away and I recognised that there were a lot of women out there who ARE interested in how their products were made. (Yay and thank YOU!)
I felt the support so much, and knew that I was on the right path. This helped me grow in confidence and purpose and pushed me to get through that first insane year of business.
FJL is now approaching its second birthday and is slowly branching into wholesale.
I have an employee - woohoo! (Thank you Anthea for keeping me semi-sane.)
And importantly I (and YOU) have managed to keep our knitters in Peru employed for 24 whole months.
The label also supports a lovely, small, family-run workshop in India. This fam are passionate about helping the Organic Cotton farmers and adhere to Fair Trade regulations set around nurturing and looking after their staff.
One of the main reasons the organic cotton range is made in India, is that most of the world’s organic cotton is grown there; so it is more sustainable to cut and sew the fabric in the same country.
We like to support Australian made where possible and hope to really grow our Aussie-made sector in the near future.
I haven’t build my hub YET, but the dream has certainly not been forgotten…