A typical day for Jackie will see a new batch of raw material get delivered to the mill and she will then perform a series of tests at the mill, then send it away for further testing. She says: “If the batch hasn’t come in with a chemical certificate, we will arrange for that and we also have secondary testing for the composition. I can easily identify that the fibre is wool or cashmere or rabbit, testing by hand and eye, but customers require independent certification to ensure that the fibre is pure and what it says it is.”
The biggest challenge she faces is working to tight timescales and lead times.
“Sometimes batches are late being delivered and we need to get it tested as quickly as possible without cutting corners,” she explains.
“It’s all about getting stuck into it and getting it done to enable the dyehouse to start their process. It can be quite stressful if everyone is shouting for it but you can’t pass it if you don’t know if it’s correct. We always get there in the end. The quality is the most important thing so if it takes longer than normal, they will just have to wait.”
It is the quality of the final product and working as part of a team that keeps her motivated. “I like seeing good results, and beautiful product at the end. If you see a nice product at the end it motivates you to keep going,” she says.