- Daya Singh & Kristi Clark
This week we have Daya, our Managing Director, along with Kristi, our International Operations Manager, to explain the process he goes through for product sourcing, during which he sometimes has to travel around to find the right material and partner.
Tell us a little bit about your role?
Daya: When I started off at BIDBI as the International Operations Manager, my role included sourcing all the products, as I am now Managing Director, I've passed this on to Kristi who deals with the bespoke orders and current stock.
The journey usually starts when a bespoke project lands on Kristi's desk or for me when it’s time to introduce new lines into our collection.
Kristi: My role covers all international orders and deliveries from our factories. On weekly basis I liaise with our partner factories to ensure production of our stock and bespoke projects are running in line with a timely delivery. I also work with forwarding companies to make sure we have a smooth transit period to the customers door.
What are the first things that enter your mind when you begin to source?
Daya: Depending on the product, consideration has to be given to the end use; any safety implications, the sustainability of a material, the quality aspect of a finished product as well as ensuring prices are commercially viable.
Kristi: We work with the customers to create a product within their price range, this can sometimes be a product the customer has seen, but normally with bespoke projects the product is completely original. We do this by offering a range of options, at BIDBI we send swatches of relevant materials and trims, and from this the customer will choose what’s best for them. Once the customer has confirmed the finishing touches we then work with one of our partners to complete the bespoke order.
Both Daya's desk and Kristi's are always full of colourful bags and our new, innovative products!
What checks do you make to ensure an ethical supply chain?
Daya: We at BIDBI pride ourselves on our ECO credentials and working closely with partner FAIRTRADE factories … Initially it’s all about due diligence and getting this right when sourcing any new suppliers; making sure the factory is fully audited. If they are not, then we work with them through continual monitoring, making sure their commitments to social welfare and labour laws are in place and maintained, are all adhered too.
Kristi: Before working with a factory, there are certain questions that need to be asked, firstly we must ensure we are working directly with a factory, not with an agency. Secondly, we ensure the factory has a FLO number to ensure they follow internationally-recognized Fairtrade Standards. With a Flo number we can begin to get additional audits from the factory. We look for ISO, REAch, and SEDEX certification to make sure procedures follow requirements for standardization and quality assurance. Sourcing factories is easy, but sourcing the right factory is tough!
Daya: Finally, once we are satisfied with a potential new supplier and their ability to produce a quality product, we then look at the overall levels of service before we class any new factory as a “partner”.
How do you ensure the standards you set for the factories are adhered to?
Daya: I visit all of our partner factories regularly and communicate with them on a daily basis to ensure the high standards we first put in place with them are adhered to throughout our working relationship.
Kristi: without our partners, we wouldn’t be able to offer bespoke projects, so they are a huge part of the BIDBI team and it’s important to work together.