We don’t make our own fire. We don’t kill our own food. We’re disconnected from the process of how things are made. Trying to please people’s expectations of perfection. We need to communicate with transparency. And that is what we do. That is the Mungo Mill in action.
Recently an issue came up in one of our production meetings.
Two towels pitted against each other: the Blue Crab Folly and the newest colourway, the Sea Glass.
One of our team had noticed a difference in the sizing. A few centimetres in length.
The new colour was bigger than the old one.
Why does this matter?
Well, pursuit of perfection, right? Eternally striving for the gold standard. A company committed to quality. Which means uniformity, surely?
Well, yes. And no.
Because there’s something to be held in the midpoint. A respect that needs to be made for the process. For the natural fibres.
Because they are, after all, natural. Which means they’re living, breathing. And beyond our best attempts to tame and control them, they have ways of their own. The secret life of cotton.
It’s about understanding the process. The multiple steps, the many hands, that have touched the product, and shaped the process, all along the way. And none of it is infallible.
From the soil, to the seed. The first harvest. Climate dependent. Pest affected. Human-influenced. And variation happens. Nothing can be perfectly, exactly, replicated, season upon season.
And then what follows – the processing of the raw material. The spinning of fibre into yarn. The dyeing. And then the point at which we step in. The touchpoint. Taking those fibres and warping them. Weaving them. Washing, cutting, and sewing.
So what happens? Why does one batch of towels come out smaller than the next?
There are multiple points rife for investigation.
Could it have occurred in the weaving? Could the tension be off on the looms? Or could it be the laundering process? Who is at fault? Where is the folly?
And how do we feel about it? About the customer who might phone us to say that their new folly towel is just a bit bigger, or a bit smaller, than their first one? What can we tell them? What is the reasonable answer?
We have always tried to be transparent in our production processes. This is why we built the Mungo Mill. Where you can see right into our beating heart. A full view of our looms. Our CMT. Our warping. Our dispatch. Machines. Yarns. Product. People. Everything, all, for public view. No darkened corners. No place to hide.
Looking at those two Folly towels, laid by side in the production office, sparks the question: does size really matter?
We strive to produce a quality product. This means a certain feel, strong absorbency, longevity, colour fastness. And the correct sizing. Because details do matter.
But it does spark an interesting conversation.
One that reminds us there are multiple steps in action. That a product doesn’t just emerge into this world, fully formed.
There is process at play. There are people working the soil. Behind the looms. Cutting the cloth. Writing this.
There is fluctuation. There is change.
So you answer the question – does size really matter?