Kemptons Selling to Marks & Spencer
Duration 1 minute 55 seconds
My father was selling to the wholesale trade, and of course Marks & Spencer were coming on to be quite substantial buyers and I'm not sure whether they came to him and asked him to sell to them, or whether he found them and went to sell to them via his friends. Anyway, he took a matinee jacket a little child's, baby's matinee jacket up to see them and he negotiated with them, and he got an order for 25 dozen, which was the biggest order he'd ever had. And when he came back on the train and he was thinking about it, he thought really, had he done the right thing? Because this, the prices he got for this matinee jacket was the lowest price he'd ever had for, accepted for a matinee jacket, so he was obviously worried about it. Anyway, when he'd made the 25 dozen, he realised that he'd made quite a lot of money on the contract because having, in those days they were actually knitting those things on hand machines and every time you changed a style, obviously the knitter had to learn how to, or learn the programme for the garment, and they'd watch, or read it from a piece of paper. Now, clearly, if they're only making one or two garments, they didn't get to know it. If they were making 25 dozen, well by the time they'd made 3 or 4 of them, they knew what they were doing, so they would get, they'd speed up considerably. And so Father found that he was actually producing far more and therefore making far more money by selling to Marks & Spencer than he, to other wholesalers, who would only buy in sort of half-dozens. So he decided that this would be a good idea.
Source: East Midlands Oral History Archive (Ref: R Kempton)