Ivorian apparel maker O’sey detailed current and planned expansion to USAID visitors at its Abidjan factory on March 7—and credited Trade Hub technical and market linkage support as essential to their growth.
“Without the Trade Hub’s training and support, we wouldn’t have been able to meet international performance standards,” O’sey CEO Mr. Philipe Kouame told the delegation.
Trade Hub support began in November 2014 as O’sey began its transformation from boutique to a large-scale manufacturer that currently employs 50 workers. A Trade Hub consultant designed the layout of their new production facility per international norms, recommended machines to purchase, and trained new workers once the 1,200 m2 factory was up and running.
“Now we can produce a shirt in 15 minutes. Before the Trade Hub support began, this would have taken 23 minutes,” Mr. Kouame said.
The Trade Hub has also trained O’sey managers so that they can become certified in Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production (WRAP), a prerequisite for many international buyers. Recently, the Trade Hub referred a buyer for Carrefour—a French hypermarket with franchises in Côte d’Ivoire—to O’sey’s management, after which she placed a trial order for 4,000 school uniforms.
As O’sey continues to expand, the Trade Hub has connected them with Agence Nationale de la Formation Professionnelle (AGEFOP), the Ivorian government agency responsible for youth employment. With its support, O’sey will provide training for 100 young people and hire them if they prove promising, tripling their workforce.
The USAID delegation included Mr. Charles Guigui, Private Sector and Trade Specialist; Mr. Corey Hancock, Program Officer; Ms. Stephanie Singer, Desk Officer; and Ms. Jenny Debrimou, Communication specialist. They visited the factory floor and saw a shirt being produced in 12 minutes.