By Jason Bird
This is the day we visited the factory where all our jumpers, shorts and socks are manufactured. I did put in a few requests for opposition clubs’ jumpers to be made up so we could burn them (to test to see if they were fire proof, of course!) but they didn’t do that.
We rocked up to the manufacturing facility to see a banner in their front room. The flag featured the logos of our club, Blackchrome and the SFNL, and stated “MT. WAVERLEY FOOTBALL CLUB. We warmly welcome Jay Cavanagh & Jason Bird”. This was a very nice gesture.
After a few photo opportunities, they took us into their boardroom and gave us a bit of a rundown of their company. Basically they have two factories and are one of the rare few companies that pay superannuation in Sri Lanka (they take great pride in being known as a company that really looks after their employees).
To take us through the whole process, they manufactured one of our jumpers so we could see how it is all done. We asked them to produce the jumper of the greatest player to ever grace our club. After they wouldn’t believe that was me, we settled on No.1 Jarrod Wilkin instead, a multi league and club B&F winner and premiership captain. But there must’ve been a miscommunication somewhere. The jumper that was eventually manufactured was No.12, which belongs to our Reserves Captain Jake Brown. A nice bloke, and an alright key position player, but he’s no Jarrod Wilkin (our lord saviour).
Anyway, we started to follow each process from the design of the jumpers, watching the designs and making sure all our logos and colours matched up, to the next phase where the info is sent to a machine and is then printed on this special paper.
Both rooms where the design and printing is done are nice air-conditioned rooms; the next step was in a very hot room. There was this big machine that pressed the print onto fabric to infuse it, which is a process called ‘sublimation printing’.
Next, we went into another big hot room where there were lines of sewing machines; this is where all the collars and cuffs are sewn onto the jumpers. The staff are very intent on making sure the orders are perfect. The employees get plenty of breaks and are treated well.
There was even a station where mannequin heads are setup and each jumper is mounted on them to ensure there is enough room for a human head to get through without ripping the stitching or choking the person. They all looked like normal size heads. I told them about a bloke at our club who we call “Fathead”, and I told them his head is twice those sizes of the mannequins. Surely, they would have a ‘special’ mannequin head to test for those kinds of guys? The woman who manned that station gave me a weird look as if I was describing some mythical beast. I showed her a photo of him as she didn’t believe me. Got a raucous laugh out of her.
After they took us through the manufacturing process, we went back to their boardroom for a bit to eat and drink, and to chat about what they took us through. It was pretty good to see the pride in the quality of work they produce. A lot of quality checks and photos are taken along the process to ensure each item is made correctly.
That ended our tour at the factory and we met the guys from J.K Garments out for dinner that night, including the owner, Mr Sareth, and his sons. They took us to this awesome seafood restaurant in Colombo where I had the best lobster I have ever tasted. I made an absolute mess and needed a bib. And the drinks went down a treat!
Beardy, Bass, Jay and myself then kicked on back at our hotel. My memory gets pretty hazy from this part, but I do remember Beardy getting up on stage on the mic and guitar and belting out some solid tunes.
We all had very sore heads the next day.