UK Impex is very special to Source My Garment. We visited UK Impex on our very first visit to India 10 years ago, and it completely changed the way we viewed manufacturing in this country. We count ourselves lucky to have found a factory that makes beautiful products in a beautiful place, and an owner who understands the value of treating employees well.
Who They Are
UK Impex is a leading, high-fashion garment design house. With over two decades of experience in the industry, UK Impex has amassed a positive reputation for high-quality manufacturing. Their specialty lies in the details they add to garments. From intricate embroidery in the beading and sequencing, patchwork, cutwork, leather work to tie-dye and specialty washes, etc. The team meticulously works with a full range of cotton fabrics from moss crepe, georgette, jacquards, linen, canvas, twill, to all the standard cotton fabrics such as voile cambric, poplin, cotton lawn and more.
Top quality products is the highest priority for UK Impex. The factory keeps up with the latest technology in garment production, works with the best designers, and has specialists monitoring every division of the factory at every stage. Garments are continually checked for measurement, fit and finishing. As well, priority is given to keeping true to the lost art of high-quality hand-made techniques. Besides a strict selection of vendors and material procurement, tests are initiated from raw materials. To further prove their assurance for top quality products they have become an ISO 9001:2008 certified organization.
Their clientele includes a number of DKNY, ASOS, Laura Ashley and other high-end fashion brands that have chosen to continue to work with them for several years.
Their passion is fashion! They love to make beautiful clothes and high-quality garments, with particular attention to the finer details. If you are a designer with a taste for superior quality and details, UK Impex is the right manufacturer for you (and perhaps even your new friend, given your shared interests and their genuine and friendly customer service)!
UK Impex production facilities are socially and ethically responsible and have been certified by BSCI and Sedex to ensure designers of their ethical compliance.
BSCI is the Business Social Compliance Initiative. They are a global business dedicated to improving the performance of factory suppliers and, overtime, enhancing working conditions for factory workers. Their standards are based on the International Labour Organization, the UN Charter for Human Rights and other national regulations.
Sedex is a non-profit membership organization, and like BSCI, they are dedicated to certifying businesses that are in line with their standards for ethical and responsible supply chains. They offer an online database for their members where they can report and share information on four key areas: labor standards, health and safety, the environment and business ethics.
However, despite their certifications and their long-term collaborations with high-end brands, just one small conversation with the President and one can tell that they are a factory that can be trusted to comply with ethical standards! I had the pleasure of interviewing Shimpy Malhotra over Skype to ask him a few questions. Here is what he had to say.
Q1: Given that your company specializes in high-quality garments, what sorts of pressures (physical, mental, time, etc.) do workers at your factory face?
A: Time pressure. A lot of the work such as embroidery is time-consuming and labor-intensive.
Q2: Any physical pressures? Like on the eye? And what do you do to reduce some of these pressures for your workers?
A: They get an about 5, 10-minute break every 45 minutes to an hour. They don’t work continuously. And they get their regular breaks.
Q3: What are some of the challenges and demands you face catering to high-end brands?
A: Prices and quality. Can’t compromise your quality for the price. It’s always a struggle between price and quality.
Q4: Describe your workers in one sentence? What do you look for when hiring people.
A: Sincerity. Even if they are not trained or skilled but they have sincerity we’ll hire them. And loyalty. Loyalty and sincerity.
Q5: What are some of the things you have learned from designers?
A: They give design inspiration. Most are Italian based. It’s a treat.
Q6: What are some common mistakes you feel designers/companies make when manufacturing?
A: They initially start off with a heavily embellished design but after the product is done they can’t justify the price to meet their target market. The final product is usually half of the embellished work and cost.
Q7: And what advice can you give designers that are just starting off?
A: They always pick up local material from their country like France, but it takes us a long time to source the same material. It’s time-consuming to find something similar.
Q8: In what ways does your company make the factory fair, clean and respectable for the employees, the environment and the community at large?
A: Maintain basic hygiene, always socially compliant, cleanliness.
Q9: What are some examples of regulations you keep to ensure worker safety at your factory?
A: We are certified by BFCI and Sedex.
Q10: What are the things that you are truly passionate about personally or professionally?
A: Fashion! Fashion is my passion!
Q11: Could you tell me what kinds of machines you guys have?
A: Sewing machines, flat lock machines, single needle, double-needle, pressing, ironing tables, steam irons, single needle embroidery. Multi-head embroidery digital printing & sequencing outside.
Q12: How many people work in your company?
A: Approximately 300.
Q13: How many single needle machines do you guys have?
A: 150 single-needle machines, 5 double-needle.
Q14: How is hand beading done at your factory? Ie: How many people do it, what’s the procedure, how long does it typically take?
A: Beading and embroidery is outsourced. We have a team of 20 people making samples by hand, and when we get the order we outsource it. It takes about 400 people.
Q15: Do they meet ethical standards?
A: Yes. We only work with people that are compliant with social standards.
Q16: What are the different ways embroidery is done at your factory? What procedures are used – machine, computer, hand? Could you please briefly describe it and all the stages an embroidered garment goes through and the amount of time it takes?
A: We use multi-hand machines embroidery, hand embroidery, basic hand embroidery, ADDA hand, and flatbed frames.
Q17: What are your minimums?
A: Depends on total order. Generally 400 pieces minimum. For print 2,000, for leather 100 pieces, for jewelry 50-100. But mostly they order more.
Q18: Which countries are you working with?
A: UK, Italy, France.
Q19: Why do you think your company is successful?
A: We’re flexible. Some clients have worked with us for 16 years.
Q20: How big is your factory in square feet?
A: 25000 sq. ft.
Q21: How many offices do you have?
A: 2 offices. One in New Delhi and one in Noida.