Boohoo opens state of the art factory, training centre, launches free NFT drop
Boohoo has officially opened its first UK garment factory, with the fast-fashion retailer saying its new “centre of excellence” underpins the company’s commitment to Leicester’s “great future” as the hub of the domestic textiles industry.
It comes as the firm also announced that its first drop of Boohoo NFTs — 10,000 of them made available free — was taken up within two hours on Sunday. It said: “Those who claimed a free NFT will now have access to their own digital artwork and will have an early access pass to Boohoo’s phase-two move in the metaverse, as well as exclusive offers and discounts.”
Both bits of news underline the tech-focused future the company sees for itself.
As for the multi-million pound 23,000 sq ft factory and accompanying training centre, it will “reintroduce skills in garment manufacturing that have been lost in the UK over time”, we’re told.
The “model factory” initially employs 100 workers producing 6,000 garments a week, primarily for its acquired Dorothy Perkins and Oasis brands. At full capacity, it will employ 180 garment workers aiming to produce 20,000 items of clothing a week, and up to 40,000 graphic printed T-shirts using high-tech painting machines.
It also includes space to be used to train Boohoo’s own product teams’ in responsible purchasing and the technical aspects of garment production.
The company is in talks with local education providers about hosting students and other groups who are keen to learn about garment manufacturing and the UK fashion industry.
Boohoo said all workers at the site will enjoy the full range of benefits for group employees, including private medical care and training and development programmes. Staff benefits also include guaranteed 40-hour contracts; 33 days paid holiday; free shares in the Boohoo Group; and 40% employee discount on all brands.
That comes after earlier scandals released that some third-party suppliers it used in the UK were paying below minimum wage, and operating sites with very poor conditions conditions.
Boohoo Group CEO John Lyttle reportedly said at the opening: “This is a landmark moment for us and is a very visible demonstration of our commitment to Leicester and UK garment manufacturing. By operating the site as a centre of excellence, we want to bring back skills that have been lost over time and help our suppliers to diversify their product offerings, meaning they can win business from other retailers who we are hoping will be tempted to start sourcing from the UK again.
“It has been a difficult few years but I am confident there is a bright future ahead and today marks the start of a new chapter for the garment industry here in Leicester.”
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