Emiel De Baere :
“How should I introduce myself?”
When I read Solid's vacancy, I knew immediately that this was for me.
Please allow me to explain.
To begin with, I have always worked in the part of the clothing industry that strives for profit. There is little wrong with that, but on the other hand, we all know that the clothing industry tends to be capitalism "at its purest".
It all depends how you chose your purpose.
İt’s a slow turning in life to know that to be of service to others is the most fulfilling life of all.
After eight years working for a large chain clothing company as an international buyer and as a young man; with it’s retail in 4 countries, and having seen a lot of production in the Far East, I decided not to go further in this nicely pre-planned career.
A great job, but this was often too much in my face of what I was doing. This is a slow process when success is not in line with who you really are.
So, then I changed sides and worked from behind the curtain for a while until I became a visible partner in a Turkish production company.
The final plan - of everything I had learned in 8 years at We International - was not to produce for the large chain companies, but rather in the niche of smaller brand names and designers. The strategy was a great success, but took some time to get there.
We paid our employees in Turkey far above the sector average because we had the right product and gave meticulous service to our customers.
There also developed an increasingly social role for me in the company. Twenty or so years ago, Turkey was and still is a difficult country to be a worker.
I inspired profit sharing for our employees and played a protective and emancipative role within my team. I was in the board of directors all at the same time. This social part was not always an easy task.
After this experience, I continued to work with the same model and with different companies in Turkey, while also following the developments in the European retail sector and working on the evolution “branding”.
Solid is a challenge with a whole other intention than purely profit driven. But I would prefer not to neglect the opportunity to sustain our activities with a competitive market realism.
Of course I know better than anyone else that clothing production in the development of the global economy, has often degenerated into a system of exploitation.
But that was not always the case and today, it is still not necessarily the fate of the average worker in this sector.
My challenge is to align the production and the market strategy and to work towards economic sustainability in the longer term. I hope to be able to contribute with Lyn in strategy and creativity as well.
I will undoubtedly learn as much from all of you as I feel that I can now use my knowledge in the right place.
There is a lot of work to be done but there are many socio-economic developments that indicate that for the future and with our mutual efforts, we have the wind in our sails.
So, here our match with Solid Clean Clothing and Crafts.
Thank you very much Lyn, for setting up a magic enterprise. It is a great idea that comes straight from the heart and it took tremendous patience and dedication.
I am very honoured that I was chosen for this challenge and honestly, I find it a golden opportunity in my personal and professional life.
In the hope of meeting you all very soon,