A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH
They say the most sustainable product is the one you already own. We continue to work with traditional Singer machines and have a small bank of machine ‘shells’ and parts at our Elgin site.
‘We buy second hand or reconditioned machines, and even if they have been reconditioned, we put them on the bench and strip them down to recondition and rebuild them,' said Stephen, adding that he has explored several options to secure vital spare parts.
‘Some parts are made in the Far East, but the minimum order is 100, which is about 50 years’ supply. Some parts can be reengineered in the UK, at Nottingham, and we are looking at 3D printing,’ he said.
As well as preserving these machines for practical use, the process is safeguarding a piece of history. Stephen explained that the machines have unique serial numbers that can trace the date of manufacturing and the quantity produced. Some number in the thousands but with others, only 5 or 6 were made.
INVOLVING THE COMMUNITY
Later this year, Stephen will work with a local college to develop the servicing and rebuilding of our Singer machines. Two Foundation Apprenticeship students from Moray College, near our Elgin mill, will undertake a year-long engineering project, during which they will strip and rebuild a machine and suggest potential engineering methods to prolong its life expectancy.
As a brand, we continue to embrace change and invest in new technology. But we also appreciate the importance of nurturing and sharing long-standing skills and taking a sustainable approach to our processes. Our Singer sewing machine project is a great example - utilizing what we already have rather than replacing machinery unnecessarily. In the meantime, our Blanket Stitch Throws and Bed Throws remain a best seller, featuring a special decorative stitch with a truly unique story.