Hello, thanks for stopping by this page. It’s an important one, so please do read on.
What is Modern Slavery?
It’s a very sad fact that in 2023 we are still talking about slavery. I’m sure that we all have an image in our minds of what slavery looks like, however, slavery can be out of sight, in places that we least expect and unfortunately it is still happening around the world.
The International Labour Organization estimates that over 40 million people are in some form of slavery today. Many of these will be children.*
Modern slavery is the term used for when an individual is exploited by a person or an organisation, for personal or commercial gain. Whether tricked, coerced, or forced into working, they lose their freedom and rights. People can become a victim of modern slavery while making our clothes, serving food, picking crops, factory working, or working in private houses as cooks, nannies or cleaners.
Many fall into a trap when they are trying to improve their lives, escape poverty and/or support their families. They find themselves in a situation that is impossible to leave.
As a business that directly employs people in the UK and works with many vendors worldwide, it is important to us that we are a responsible employer and that we understand our supply chain to make sure that the Secret Linen Store does not support modern slavery as we make our fabulous fabrics and in turn your bed.
Our approach to Human Resources has always been professional and fair and we have invested heavily in our UK team since day one. We pride ourselves in our relationships both in the UK and Europe, and would be nothing without great talented people, working alongside us, making great things, doing their best for people and providing secure jobs and good places to work.
We happily call our buying team Factory Friends, and that was a decision from day one. Having been part of the textile retail industry in the UK for many years, we knew that we wanted to be different and form strong and long-lasting working relationships with our suppliers. Without them we would have nothing. We have worked with many of our factories for over 25 years, and that makes us older than we think we are.
By visiting, inspecting, collaborating and improving alongside our factories, we know that there is zero tolerance to modern slavery in our tier one supply chain, and for that we can be sure.
Our industry supply chain is complicated and, whilst we plan to learn more about where our raw materials come from to form a transparent supply chain, we realise that this may take some time.
Our love of fabulous fabrics and tip-top textiles is there from a very young age, it’s in our blood. We all need textiles for basic comfort, clothing and warmth, but we all need to make sure that we buy, source and develop responsibly, giving people jobs that they enjoy and feel rewarded for.
About us and our supplier relationships
We are Molly and Harriet, female founders, running a business that is proudly 83% female. Our female led and owned factories & relationships dominate our supply chain, creating a strong foundation for our Secret Linen Store teams in Europe and the UK.
All our tier one suppliers are in Europe. We made a conscious decision to concentrate on Europe for many reasons, one being that we are within easy reach of all, we can meet regularly to exchange ideas and ensure that all our suppliers are working within our agreed standards.
Our relationships in Portugal are stronger than the finest cotton, we have yards of history between us, we have learnt and grown together and as a result we can be 100% sure that we are all aligned on matters such as kindness, fairness, loyalty and modern slavery.
We are in daily contact with all our tier one suppliers and ensure that we understand the businesses that we work with as well as the products that we buy.
Over 60% of our entire range is either organic or made from certified responsibly sourced cotton. These fabrics are more expensive, but we can be sure that by working with these fabrics, workers are paid and treated fairly through the supply chain. We are continuously working to increase this percentage.
All our suppliers agree to and have signed our Supplier Code of Conduct. All suppliers must meet our set standards for:
- Labour conditions and human rights
- Traceability of production
- Antibribery and corruption
- Health and safety
- Environment care
We proudly employ a team of around 25 people on the south coast and commit to paying over the minimum Living Wage.
We are compassionate and kind employers who live by our values of always striving to do better, being accountable, kind, positive and trustworthy.
We are only a small business, but we can stand on a big bed linen box and shout that we have invested in our people, ensuring that, as an employer, we behave like a much bigger business.
What can you expect if you work for the Secret Linen Store?:
- Flexible working hours
- Regular social events
- Health Cash Plan for all
- Minimum 23 days holiday allowance
- Birthday off on top of holiday allowance
- Generous company sick pay
- Generous product discount for you, your friends and your family
- Life insurance
- Voluntary adherence to the Living Wage
- Commitment to being an inclusive and diverse employer
- Focus on creating an engaged and happy workforce
- Paid volunteer work
- Annual bonus
- A healthy and safe work environment
As we write this, in early 2023 we are awaiting our B-Corporation application to be reviewed. A Certified B-Corp is a business that is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on really important stuff like employee benefits, charitable giving, supply chain practices and sourcing. In order to achieve this certification, we will have:
- Demonstrated high social and environmental performance
- Exhibited transparency by allowing information about our performance to be measured against B Corp standards and for the information to be publicly available
- Made a legal commitment to the above by amending our shareholders’ agreement.
The process of applying for B-Corp has helped us focus, share and make improvements within our business. We have a ‘making things better plan’ that maps out the near future with goals and tasks to help us to become an even better business for our planet, the people we employ and the suppliers that we work with.
Over time we aim to dig far deeper into our supply chain and find ways to map out our product from the field.
We are always happy to answer any questions and will keep this page updated with our progress.
Thank you for reading.
Molly and Harriet