Bespoke shirts and accessories brand Emma Willis’s quality controller is enjoying life on the factory floor.
What does your job involve day to day?
On a daily basis I end, press and pack the shirts and ensure all bespoke customers’ orders have been made to leave in the weekly box, which is then delivered to our Jermyn Street shop. When ending the shreds on the garments, I am checking for 18 stitches to the inch, that seams and hems have been sewn down correctly, the button holes are neat, labels are straight and the shirt has been finished to the highest quality. When checking an order for a bespoke customer, I check that all the specifications they have asked for have been used. If anything is incorrect, it will go back onto the production line.
What do you most/least enjoy about your job?
The area of my job I enjoy the most has to be when we have exciting new customers, who are ordering lots of shirts but have very specific requirements about what they want. It is interesting to see what fabrics and style of shirt they have selected and I take pride in ensuring it leaves the factory looking perfect for them. The area of my job I perhaps least enjoy is the quality control on accessories. This process takes a lot longer, because the accessories have intricate details that have to be carefully controlled.
Why did you choose this area of fashion to work in?
I wanted to work in particular for Emma Willis as I wanted to avoid working in the mainstream, throwaway fashion that high street retailers’ produce. So I chose this area of fashion to work in because I instead wanted to venture into the luxury end of the fashion market, where quality is chosen over quantity.
What has been your proudest professional achievement so far?
Being given the opportunity to progress into sewing and pattern cutting. I will be able to use my knowledge of quality control to help in my understanding of the construction and cutting of the shirt.
How do you see your career progressing?
Long term, I would like to progress into a head-machinist role, where I can pass my skills onto others and oversee the construction of the shirts.
I would also like to learn how to measure customers for bespoke shirts, as I feel this would widen my understanding when it comes to pattern cutting and making.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
The advice I would give is that starting as quality controller in a factory is the best job to begin with. I would say this because this role teaches you what should be expected in making the shirt and it is the most important area of the factory. That’s because if the shirt is not perfect it can’t leave the factory. There is always an opportunity to progress in a factory. You need to show pride and enthusiasm in what you are doing and treat every piece of work as if it’s the first you’ve seen that day in order to do well.
Salaries for this position range from £25,000 to £35,000 (estimate by Fashion & Retail Personnel)
2011 Quality controller, Emma Willis
2011 Fashion Design and Dressmaking, Level 3, Stonebridge College, Bude, Cornwall
2007 Customer service, Sainsbury’s
2000-05 Newent Community School, Gloucestershire