Drapers gives you an exclusive sneak peak of our Close-Up interview with Charles & Angela Stone, directors of high street clothing and accessories supply business Bandana, ahead of the full interview in this weekend’s edition.
When did you start Bandana and what is it exactly that you supply?
Charles Stone: “Bandana started in about 2000, so we have been going for about 13 years. We produce mostly out of India, but also out of China, and we are manufacturing product for the high street stores.
“The products that we do are accessories like scarves, neck pieces, collars and bags, although mainly woven bags, not so much leather bags. We also do some clothing in terms of soft clothing like tops and dresses.”
Tell me about your customer base?
Charles Stone: “When I say we manufacture for the high street stores, I am not talking about the lower end of the high street, like the supermarkets and value chains. Our customer base ranges from Jaeger, Mint Velvet to Arcadia Group, River Island, Asos, Coast, Hobbs and Phase Eight.
“We also do Mothercare and JD Williams group, so we do plus size and maternity as well. But it is all that middle of the road area.”
Have you been working with the same factories since you started the business?
Angela Stone: “Some of the factories have been with us since the very beginning, yes. Some of them have been really loyal to us so we have tried to be really loyal to them. So when they are building things and trying to make their businesses better we really try and help them with that and have helped them on their way….not that we get any special deals because of it.
“We really have worked together. Sometimes things happen and some factories go out of business and you have to replace them, but we always try and help out those we work with as much as possible.”
Bandana acts a bit like a middle man between the factories and the retailers. Can you tell me a bit about this relationship?
Angela Stone: “We make that transition between the factory and the customer. We do this not just by making the product but also by having a complete understanding the fabric and the production process.
“It is so important because people become buyers here and they don’t always understand everything, especially all the technical detail, so it’s really important that we show them. We take our customers to our factories because we want them to understand who we work with, and the potential problems we could have and those we won’t have. If they understand it from the beginning it works very well for us.”