A Ghanaian fashion technologist spent much of October building staff skills and capacity in cutting and sampling at Côte d’Ivoire’s leading apparel factory. Ms. Mabel Dede Doe, contracted by the Trade Hub, was so popular that O’sey Textiles shared the cost for her to stay an additional week.
“The sampling and cutting are a crucial phase of our activity, as it requires concentration and meticulous work,” said O’sey’s founder, Mr. Aka Phillipe Kouame. “The fact that we can discuss in a local language helps a lot. We want this opportunity to be a turning point in our production process, so we can expand our business to other markets.”
For the past 18 months, the Trade Hub’s technical assistance to O’sey has helped it overcome growth challenges as it transforms from boutique to mass production. As it aims to improve its production capacity to 1,500 to 2,000 shirts daily, O’sey has created key positions such as a pattern-maker, a production manager and a sample designer, and improved its management structure with Trade Hub guidance. In August, O’sey joined a Trade Hub-sponsored West African delegation at the Sourcing at MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas, where Mr. Kouame found men’s model polo and button-down shirts to bring back to his factory.
From October 1-11, 2017, Ms. Doe—who has worked in product development and garment technology in Europe, Asia and Africa—worked with the O’sey team on six new men’s shirt styles aimed at younger customers, ranging from small (S) to triple extra-large (XXL) based on local markets.
“The idea is that the man who wears the local shirts will jump on the European style if he sees it”, Ms. Doe said. “I visited O’sey collection boutiques in II Plateau and Riviera [residential areas of Abidjan], and they can feed both the European and the African markets.”
During her consultancy, Ms. Doe assessed O’sey’s sampling and cutting processes, and rearranged the factory layout to maximize production spaces. With the new layout, the factory benefits from 54 meters of stacking tables, 40 meters of cutting tables and a quality control room. She also accompanied O’sey to the market to choose fabrics and pattern-cutting equipment, such as cloth weights. Following Mr. Kouame’s request for more of her time, she stayed an additional week to standardize the six new shirt styles in various sizes.