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BRAX procurement – upper garments

What does a sustainable partnership in the field of sourcing upper garments mean at BRAX?

We were able to clarify this question in an interview with Linda Noll, the Head of Technical Product Development & QA.

BRAX: Dear Linda, we are very happy to meet you for an interview today. Perhaps you would like to start by telling us something about yourself and giving us an insight into your work at BRAX?

Linda: Yes, of course I would love to. I first completed an apprenticeship as a tailor. After that, I completed an international bachelor's and master's degree program in " Textile and Clothing Management and Technology" at the Lower Rhine University of Applied Sciences. Through the English-language studies, I had the opportunity to meet many people from our current sourcing countries, such as Turkey, China, Bangladesh, Africa, or Romania, and thus to gain insights into the respective cultures in addition to the technical input. This helps me a lot in my work today. After completing my master's degree, I joined BRAX as the first trainee ever.

During this time, I got to know many different departments and was able to build up a very good network. In the meantime, as "Head of Technical Product Development & QA", I am responsible for the procurement of upper garments. My team and I ensure that BRAX products of the best quality can be made available to the trade at efficient prices and in compliance with social and ecological parameters. To ensure all this, we are constantly in close exchange with our Corporate Responsibility Team, our agencies, producers, and our design.

BRAX: How can we imagine the collaboration between you, your department, and our producers? Perhaps there is an example that you can use to illustrate the collaboration for us?

Linda: For us, the most important thing is to maintain long-term partnerships with our production companies based on mutual trust. Therefore, visits at regular intervals are very important for our cooperation. However, due to the pandemic, travel options are currently still limited, so we often exchange information via video conference. In addition to regular communication by e-mail, video conferencing is a very good tool for discussing details of processing or possible improvements to products, for example, and thus finding good solutions together. In particular, the mutual trust and understanding on both sides helps us a lot in these pandemic times.

Linda: For us, the most important thing is to maintain long-term partnerships with our production companies based on mutual trust. Therefore, visits at regular intervals are very important for our cooperation. However, due to the pandemic, travel options are currently still limited, so we often exchange information via video conference. In addition to regular communication by e-mail, video conferencing is a very good tool for discussing details of processing or possible improvements to products, for example, and thus finding good solutions together. In particular, the mutual trust and understanding on both sides helps us a lot in these pandemic times.

BRAX: What influence does the Corona pandemic currently still have on the cooperation with our producers? Are there any lasting findings that have led or will lead to changes?

BRAX: It's very diversified. Of course, there are still logistical problems that we must solve on a regular basis, and travel options are also still limited, as already mentioned. But there are also developments and approaches to solutions, for example, to successively reduce the number of prototypes. Until a product can be offered to our customers, it requires several development steps, which currently make prototypes necessary in each case. In the future, we could imagine using innovative 3D product development to reduce the number of prototypes. We have developed initial ideas for this together with our agencies.

BRAX: We want to make sustainable products the standard at BRAX by 2030. What challenges does this pose for you, your department, but also for our producers?

Linda: Our planet's resources are finite. Our consumers are increasingly interested in the conditions under which our products are manufactured. In addition, the demand for products that contain sustainable fibers is growing strongly. One challenge at present, for example, is the procurement of sustainable cotton fibers, where demand has risen so sharply that it can hardly be met and is therefore available on the market at price increases that are difficult to calculate.

This is a challenge that we are happy to take on. For us, it is a matter of course that we enjoy working to achieve our sustainability goals. I am convinced that the gradual switch to sustainable products is, in any case, an important and right path for our company.

BRAX: How do you see the future development of sustainability issues for BRAX and especially for your area of responsibility?

Linda: Sustainability is certainly one of the main topics in our society today. With our corporate goal of making sustainable products the standard at BRAX by 2030, we are certainly on the right track. Sustainable production and social commitment in the supply chain are integral components of our corporate philosophy. This is the only way we can meet the demand for socially and environmentally responsible clothing. For my area of responsibility, there will probably always be challenges. A balance between the economy and a commitment to social and environmental responsibility is the goal here.

BRAX: Dear Linda, thank you very much for the open conversation and all the interesting information.