“Factory” or “Workshop”, what are the differences?
The word “Workshop” evokes the image of craftsmanship, and ideally, it should also imply its values. You may sometimes hear that the word has become devalued. And it’s true, at times. After all, a product that is “handmade”, in the strictest sense of the word, is supposed to be a product that doesn’t rely on the use of any modern machinery whatsoever.
Hence the most puristic of tailors, those from the” old school”, might tell you that the presence of a simple sewing machine almost prohibits the use of this word!
While it’s true that the tools of a “factory” are no longer so different from those found in a company that qualifies itself as a “Workshop”, some significant differences still persist:
The first difference is a sizable one, (quite literally) and all others stem from it: a textile workshop is, first and foremos,t a smaller team. Around thirty people, compared to one or several hundred in a factory.
Such a difference entails:
- Working on a smaller number of projects.
- That a larger amount of operations will be performed by the same person.
- That all workers have a more personal involvement in each project.
To broaden the comparison to a wider field, one could make the parallel with what is observed in very large corporations.
Or even in a start-up whose workforce is growing rapidly: as the size of the company increases, tasks are fragmented, and “processes” completely supersede human interaction, it becomes difficult to maintain the same level of involvement of each worker, and sometimes the same level of quality in what is delivered.
Human beings, whatever their profession, remain “social animals”: they need a feeling of belonging, and purpose.
A workshop like Aux Métiers is therefore a close-knit small team, with each of its members dedicated to a limited number of projects, enabling them to give the best of themselves. Projects that each person involved materializes with their very hands, reaching a tangible result at the end: such satisfaction, for us to see a completed, perfectly executed production, ready to ship, and to gaze at the work of every person involved!
By extension,it also implies a more humane life at work, with less distant relationships, where each worker knows their colleagues. A workplace where generations follow one another, and where some remain faithful to the position for decades, rather than leaving at the first opportunity.
As each worker is entrusted with a greater number of operations to perform on a single product, the quality of their craftsmanship is preserved. To understand why, one only needs to think of the extreme opposite… And remember the scene of the production line in “Modern Times” by Charlie Chaplin.
That image is worth a thousand words :
Each worker, a mere cog in a giant machine.
A single, isolated “unit”, lost in a crowd,
A spare part, neither cared for anyone,
Nor caring for the work of their neighbor.
Not a single care, even, for those who will buy the result of their labor.
To put it simply, that’s just not the way we want to work.
At Aux Métiers, we actually opt for the opposite approach. A smaller but more expert number of workers, divided into small specialized teams, and entirely responsible for their area of expertise.
A team that you can meet right here, by the way !
Discretion and uniqueness.
The general public may not know it, but you certainly do: in the world of fashion, the name of your manufacturer is a valuable information, and often a confidential one.
When they start out, many young brands make the bet to chose “the biggest” supplier available. The one who accepts all clients, as long as they meet minimum order requirements. How is it then that they are always surprised when, a few months later, their product is completely copied by a competitor, and sold a few euros cheaper ?
Sometimes, their true surprise comes when they learn that this copy was, in fact, not even intentional on the part of their competitors, but only a result of the factory’s models being constantly reused (but never readapted) by everyone of their clients.
At Aux Métiers, we will gladly help you flesh out brand new designs. But if you ever wanted to start from an existing base, all our models can and will be adapted to the identity of your brand. Hence preserving you from the unwelcome surprise of seeing them copied by an upstart competitor on the very next year.
Finally, the last thing that, according to us, distinguishes the words “factory” and “workshop,” is the contribution of in-house expertise:
- First prototype
- Design recommendations
- And many more !
Have a closer look at the many talents we make available to you
In other words, the work of a true workshop doesn’t begin, nor end, with clothes production. A workshop worthy of its name counsels you, providing their expertise, and ensuring the feasibility of your project from start to finish.