Our very first garments!

This time I went to Albania to take us one big step closer to fulfilling our promise to our crowdfunding contributors. The task was to produce the first pieces with our own fabrics. I was very excited to finally see the fabrics that we had ordered from our GOTS certified supplier in Turkey. I was not disappointed, the cotton is soft and the prints are beautiful!

It was an intense and exhausting time for me as I drove the 60 km from Tirana to Blinisht every day.I left my smaller son with my mother-in-law in Tirana but still wanted to see him every day.
As usual Albania had its surprises and uncertainties planned for us.
We had already been in delay buying suitable sewing machines for our workshop and it proved to be difficult to find someone who would sell them to us with a proper invoice. We managed in the end 🙂

Rok, our logistician, setting up the new machines

Our production site is in a very remote area of Lezha prefecture and unfortunately located at the end of the local electricity grid. This means frequent low tension and unpredictable blackouts for hours due to weak and old power lines. Unfortunately the situation is worse during the winter. As we do not have enough money yet to buy a suitable generator we found ourselves in midst of this situation when the sewing machines arrived. Time for me to leave Albania was drawing closer so we decided to pack the machines in a van and sew in another place, at the house of one of the seamstresses, with a more reliable electricity supply.

The seamstresses Majlinda, Entela, Neta and Malvina were very motivated and did their best to finish all garments in time. Of course it was new to them to work under time pressure, get familiar with the new machines, the patterns and the fabrics. We all appreciated their efforts very much.

Soon we will be sending out the first clothes to our dearest crowdfunding campaign supporters. Stay tuned for more stories from Albania coming soon! /Maria

Workshop outside

Our workshop in Blinisht

Malvina closeup

Malvina sewing our elephant print fabric