Case study – Molke


The Poverty Alliance – Molke – Living Wage Employer

Molke is a Scottish manufacturer and retailer of fun, non-wired underwear and swimwear. The idea for Molke began in 2016 with one woman, a desire for comfortable bras and a sewing machine in her kitchen. After drawing out the pattern with her kids’ colouring pens, Kirsty set to making a comfortable and colourful bra that she was soon selling to other women looking for the same comfort and support. With the help of her friends, she designed the bras to be suitable for a wide range of sizes. Ros joined to help Kirsty in 2017 and Molke was officially born.

Since then, Molke has grown to give support and comfort to people all over the world.

Bringing employment and training opportunities to a rural area is something that remains central to Molke. We want to build on skills and develop our team so that we can compete with overseas manufacturing. Our amazing team of staff are paid a real Living Wage and are included in the design and development of our products.

 

We became Living Wage accredited in 2019. Most workers in the garment industry both within the UK and internationally are women. In the UK, almost a quarter of women are paid below the real Living Wage and 17% of workers in manufacturing earn below the real Living Wage. Women are particularly disadvantaged when working within the fast-fashion industry, often working for below minimum wage and in poor and unsafe conditions.  (x)

The welfare of our staff is of the highest importance to us and that’s why we are an accredited Living Wage employer. We believe that sustainability should also take into consideration the ethics and transparency of the business and it is important that we all consider the full journey of our clothes. We are a women-led business, and we strive to create a positive impact on people whilst limiting our impact on the environment.

We make all of our Original bras and briefs here in our small factory in Perthshire and have recently added leggings and a different style of briefs to our in-house capabilities. While we don’t make all of our items here yet, we continue to invest and develop our designs so we grow our production team. Our goal is to eventually make all of our items in house.

 

We strive to reduce our waste wherever possible. We are passionate about slow fashion and sustainable growth and believe we have a responsibility to look after our planet.

Currently we employ 23 people locally and are looking to expand further in 2022 to keep up with demand and to produce more product lines here in Perthshire.

As Molke grows, we are passionate about staying true to our values and this means that we don’t want to compromise on producing high quality products that are designed and made to last, by people who are paid a fair wage. Competing with cheap overseas manufacturing, mass produced clothes and often poor-quality fabrics, mean that there are a lot of low-cost options on the market, but we believe in quality over quantity and want to continue to grow at a sustainable rate in the same manner we started out.

After extensive research, we work with a couple of amazing factories in Portugal. We are confident that both factories align with our quality and ethical standards, and they help us to produce items that we don’t currently have the skillset, machinery or capacity to create in house.

 

Whilst we are keen to continue to develop and increase our production here in Perthshire, finding trained and skilled machinists has been a challenge for us.

 

We would encourage employers across Scotland to become Living Wage accredited. The real Living Wage allows people the opportunity to provide for their families and plan for the future. It can mean the difference between surviving and thriving.

Employees feel valued and appreciated making them more motivated and prouder to work for their employer.

Paying the real Living Wage also has business benefits as it helps us to recruit and retain the best staff, reduce our absenteeism, and encourage higher productivity – all of which contributes to our progressive business model.

 

By paying a wage that accurately reflects the cost of living, we can help create a more just and compassionate society.

 

www.molke.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/molkebf

Instagram: @molke_uk

Twitter: @molke_uk

 

You can find out more about Living Wage Scotland accreditation by emailing accredition@povertyalliance.org or visiting scottishlivingwage.org