This shirt making unit in Madurai has 300 women, producing 2,800 shirts per day, from Madurai which is marketed all over the state and also to neighbouring states.

Micro Fine Clothing is a readymade garment unit which is managed and operated by women, and produces clothes on a par with those of the companies which are run by men. It takes 14 women to do the work of 10 men, but still the consistency is better, as women who work with her have proved that they are more reliable.

Joint managing director of Micro Fine Clothing, Shuba Prabhakar, a garment unit in Vandiyur in Madurai, said that she initially ventured into exports, but then realised the potential for readymade shirts and started the unit 12 years ago. "Initially, I started with a workforce comprising men, but then realised that most of them took leaves on Mondays and Saturdays, which affected the manufacturing process, so I decided to try out a women-only workforce, which definitely had a better outcome,’’ she said. We have a handful of men helping with the cutting sometimes, she said.

But even then, retaining workers continues to be a major challenge, she said. Her son, P Nithin, a graduate in fashion designing helps her in the business and is in-charge of sourcing the material for the shirts from Mumbai and Bengaluru. A lot of market survey goes into the production every season as the shirts they produce have to be on a par with the preferences of the people. They have two units—one in Vandiyur and another in Iyer Bungalow in Madurai.

Shuba said that solid colours are always in demand and hence they have 40 solid colours, and these shirts sell well throughout the year. They also manufacture shirts, based on the popular films that are released during the season, and this month, ``Kaala shirts’’ sold like hot cakes.

They supply shirts to different brands including Venfield, Janson’s and Albatross and to many big textile showrooms including Chennai Silks, which have specific quality standards. The shirts range from Rs 400 to Rs 4,000, and the high-priced ones find good market in the bigger cities.

They also have their own factory outlet below their unit, where the shirts are sold at a discounted price. Shirts differ for every season, and after a lull in the first three months of the year, the production for the Diwali season starts. After Diwali, the factory shuts shop for a week. Printed shirts and solids are in demand this year, she said.

Employees are given counselling regularly. More than 80 % of the women are single mothers or widows. ``Retaining work force is a big problem, but when they come with a problem I tell them to take rest, sometimes even for a month and then come back, which they do,’’ Shuba added. Unskilled women, irrespective of their educational qualification, are employed. They are trained for a specific period and then put in manufacturing jobs. Some of them can stitch up to 140 pieces in a day and earn good incentives.

Soure : Times of India

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