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“… myself and my wife are proud to be part of this successful new venture …the sky is the limit …a dream come true ”
“ Within a short space of time we established an income generating business and we started with no weaving experience whatsoever ” A.B Plettenberg Bay For me the importance of the loom was the easy way to work it …it was amazing how quickly I learnt to operate the machine… anyone can start a good business with this loom” S.S Port Elizabeth
The McLeod Loom is sold as a free standing machine together with a beam winder, cone creel and all other necessary components and is thus a complete weaving system. In accordance with modern trends it weaves using a rapier system which simplifies the weaving process as opposed to a shuttle system. It is single phase electrically powered and no special premises are required, an area equal to the size of a double garage is sufficient.
The loom enables weavers to use their creative skills in designing and producing a wide range of unique quality fabrics from a variety of yarn types. Woven fabric can be used to produce a range of products for already established markets, or new products. These products can be marketed locally or exported.
The loom is able to weave a large range of synthetic or natural yarns, such as wool, cotton, mohair, silk and synthetics including blends and fancy yarns and hand spun yarns.
Where do I get the yarns from?
There are a number of commercial yarn spinners in South Africa who will sell you most types of yarns in large or small quantities. A list of names and addresses is supplied with the loom.
How much fabric can the loom produce?
Between 3 and 6 meters of fabric per hour can be produced. This depends on the number and coarseness of the chosen yarns and the speed settings on the machine. This loom can weave fabrics up to 1, 9 meters wide.
What can I make on the loom?
The loom is able to produce household fabrics (e.g. Tablecloths, curtains, furniture upholstery, bathmats and blankets) apparel fabrics (e.g. skirts, jackets, ponchos and scarves) and industrial fabrics (e.g. .wool bales, horse blankets and aprons). The loom can weave a variety of fabric types including plain weave, twill, warp face, double face and waffle weaves by simply changing four slip-on cams. Using a simple punch card system any number of weft patterns can be woven with up to six colour-ways.
This depends on what type of business you want to start. You can either sell fabric to a product manufacturer or manufacture products yourself.
Selling fabric requires less labour but the profit margins are smaller and there are fewer market opportunities. If you start by working together with a sewing business this can however be a very simple way of getting your business going.
If you manufacture a product then you will need a sewing machine and an over locker. You will also need to package and label your product. The number of sales opportunities is now much greater than if you were selling fabric but this option is potentially more labour and capital intensive.
Can I sell fabric straight off the loom?
Although the fabric of the loom can sometimes be sold straight off the loom, this is uncommon. The fabric should first be quality checked for any faults and then “finished” (washed and ironed). In smaller quantities this can be done in a household washing machine or at a laundry. For larger quantities of fabrics there are commercial finishers (names and addresses are supplied with the loom).
Where can I sell my products?
This depends on the type of product that you manufacture. Locally one can utilise craft fairs, tourist shops, small household shops/boutiques and larger retail outlets. There are also many opportunities in the export market and there are a number of government/ provincial agencies and incentives to assist you in taking advantage of these opportunities.
Being a standard rapier loom it can weave plain, stripes, checks, hounds tooth, twill weaves as well as a few specialized weaves. The designer needs to keep these parameters in mind when creating designs. It cannot weave pictures into the fabrics.
Can I weave carpets on the loom?
The loom can weave carpets but not heavy wool or cotton carpets. Lighter durries and kelims can be woven.
Will my products be economically competitive?
This depends on the type of fabric that you produce. Although the loom can weave fine, lightweight fabrics, these fabrics in cotton or synthetics will most probably not be economically competitive against similar mass produced and imported fabrics. The loom is supplied with an easy to use computer program for the costing of fabrics. With this program you will be able to determine your production costs, yarn requirements, production rates, mark-up and selling price.
How easy is it to operate the loom?
With each loom purchased one week of operating and weaving training is given. The loom requires a single operator and is electrically driven from a single-phase power outlet. It has a variable speed control and will stop automatically if a weft yarn breaks or is missed. The electronic control system allows for a slow ramp-up start and a quick stop.
One week on-site training is provided free with each loom order where the trainees are given instruction on the actual loom that they have purchased. The training includes topics such as: general fibre, yarn and weaving technology; loom set-up; fabric construction; loom operation and maintenance. This comprehensive training package should enable even the most inexperienced weavers to start producing fabric almost immediately.
What about breakdowns and spares?
The loom and all the components are manufactured in Plettenberg Bay. A full range of spare parts is carried. Most parts on the loom are modular so in case of breakdown it is only necessary to unbolt the defective part and bolt on the new part. Parts will be dispatched to you within 48 hours. Many of the parts, like bearings and electronic parts are available off the shelf at your local suppliers.
Who should invest in the loom?
This loom is ideal for small/ medium businesses and home industries. It is quiet and
requires no special buildings or air conditioning. The loom can provide opportunities for job creation leading to a potentially sustainable income, especially where the fabric is processed further into consumer products. The loom has been extensively tested both in the United Kingdom and South Africa and there are at present over 100 looms operating in these two countries, all of which are producing fabrics for different niche markets.
Within South Africa various financial incentive schemes from the Department of Trade and Industry are available (on application) to assist with the capital costs of purchasing the loom and establishing a small business. Furthermore the VAT payable can be reclaimed from Revenue Services under certain circumstances.
The following is only an example with content guidelines. You need to expand on each section providing details of your specific business and products
(Name and address of the business)
Overview : Small weaving business producing world class products for local and international market, primarily using locally produced yarns.
Business objectives: To create a small business generating a sustainable income for (number of people to be employed See note 1) people.
Vision and mission : To produce a high quality woven product that is internationally competitive in both price and quality.
Premises required : No specialized premises are required. An area of about 40 sq meters required. ( Describe the premises to be used for the business. See note 2 )
Facilities required: Facilities for the delivery of yarns and the dispatch of the finished product.
Competitors : Although the large commercial weavers could be seen as competitors, many niche markets exist for products from the McLeod Loom. It would be unwise to attempt to take on the large conglomerates head to head. There are imported products, especially from India and the sub-continent that could be considered direct competition. However, the average quality of their imported products leaves much to be desired. Products woven on this loom have received international exposure in Europe and the Americas and have been extremely competitive in both price and quality.
The smaller hand weavers operate in a different market because the hand shuttle loom can produce designed fabrics that the McLeod Loom is incapable of producing but only at a production rate of +/- 1 meter per day. When the competition is direct on similar products the hand weaving industry is very inefficient and slow and is thus no real competition.
Suppliers : Supply of raw material (i.e. yarn) raises no problems. There are at least 15 local yarn spinners and suppliers and the cost of yarn has become internationally competitive. Transport of the yarn to the weaving business can however raise the cost of the yarn by up to 10% on orders of less than 600 kg.
Market size and growth: The textile market for specialized products in this country and internationally is vast. Most weavers however are inexperienced in tapping into this market. Experience has shown that those operators using a McLeod loom, once they have a quality product have had export enquiries and have soon been in a position to negotiate substantial orders. As tourism grows so the market for ethnic and indigenous products grows. A large number of textile products sold in this market are currently imported from the East at prices that can be matched by locally produced goods. The emergence of small sewing and make-up businesses has created a market for woven product that is at present virtually unexploited.
Entry barriers: Marketing skills and a general under-estimating of the time and effort required to penetrate the market are by far the most important barriers that the emerging weaving business faces. However experience has shown that within a short space of time these barriers can be overcome and sustainable markets created. To weave fabric that is similar to those mass produced in the East will create price and volume barriers, however if specialized niche market fabrics are woven ( especially in the medium to heavy end of the fabric market ) then the market can be tapped provided a sustained effort is maintained.
Production capacity : The loom will weave on average 5 meters per hour. However most weaving sheds will only run at an overall 75 % efficiency (allowing for down time, maintenance, run changes and labor productivity). The production capacity for one loom weaving a medium weight fabric should be about 750 meters per month. This will require 3 to 4 beam changes per month.
Quality control : Although, with careful weaving and adequate diligence, the fabric that leaves the loom should be virtually fault free, it is always necessary to thoroughly inspect every meter of fabric before finishing, repairing any faults. Time should be set aside during production for quality checks to minimize the time consuming procedure involved in fabric repair.
Production process flow chart:
Yarn procurement (ordering of yarns)
Creel loading (¼ day)
Beam winding (½ day)
Machine Loading (¼ day)
Drawing in (1 day)
Setting -up (¼ day)
Weaving (8 days)
Unloading (¼ day)
Quality Checking (2 days)
Finishing (Dependant on finishing required)
Packing and labeling
Stock control: The wastage factors involved with the McLeod loom are approximately 0.5 % for fabric and 1% for yarn although this can be reduced with careful production. From a cash flow perspective it is important to manage this aspect of the business carefully as the value of yarn and woven fabric represents a large proportion of the working capital required for the business.
Product range : The loom can weave fabrics for a very large range of products; however it is important to focus on a few products to establish a niche market. At a later stage, the market itself will dictate the quality and type of products required. It is however advised to focus on fabrics incorporating local raw materials i.e. wool and cotton and mohair as the supply of these yarns is reliable.
( Describe the products that the business will produce. See note 3 )
Management skills : General management skills as required for a small business.
Financial skills . The keeping of a simple set of books will suffice therefore only basic financial bookkeeping skills are required.
Technical skills : These skills are gained rapidly and although experience has shown that this is an area of concern with entrepreneurs entering the weaving business, this is not a major stumbling block. Those individuals who have invested in a McLeod Loom have soon discovered that, because of the simple design on the loom, the comprehensive manual and the thorough training given, that the technical skills required are quickly mastered. The basic fabric design skills are taught during the training but as the weaver gains confidence and a deeper understanding of the weaving process, design and creativity skills are rapidly acquired.
Price: A computer program which will generate a cash flow statement, a fabric costing and a fabric design for any product is supplied with the loom. See attached example.
Promotion: A name for your brand of products and possibly a logo and byline is needed. These elements can be incorporated into a basic set of a promotion tools such as business cards, sales brochures with product pictures, labels etc. The type of product being produced determines how and where it will be promoted. Trade publications, local newspapers and the internet are classic tools for promotion. As many of the unique woven products are produced in relatively small quantities, one-on-one contact with potential buyers is usually very effective.
Place: Craft markets and tourist shops are an ideal place to distribute and sell products. Use should be made of the Government incentives and assistance given to small business to exhibit their wares on international shows and trade fairs.
Product: A wide range of products can be produced from fabric manufactured on the loom e.g. household products, apparel products and industrial products. (Describe your particular product in more detail ). Products should be given a brand name and packaged in a quality manner.
Resource management :
Capital requirements . The investment in a loom/s, when seen in the light that it is an income generator and a creator of sustainable employment is not prohibitive. Many sources of finance are available and commercial banks have in the past successfully financed the purchase of looms and the working capital required. The Dept of Trade and industry has also given grants to loom purchasers for the set-up of small and medium business.
Operating funding : An example of the funding and cash flow requirements are given in the following pages.`
Operations head weaver finnisher Marketing operato r operator operato r
Training is given for one week on the clients loom. Thus we build the loom and, when complete, the training is given on their loom. We will set the loom up here with the product that the client is going to produce at their factory, provided that they provide us with their yarn. If they do not supply us with yarn then we will use our yarn, however the product produced will not be the same as that which you will be producing. Once the training has been completed, if we have used your yarn, the loom can be shipped fully loaded and ready to begin production as soon as it arrives at your premises. The cost of accommodation and meals are for the clients account although we have an agreement with a local B&B that will give clients a special rate depending on the time of year. Experience has shown that one week training is sufficient however if you require further training then this can be arranged at a cost of R1000.00 per day.
Payment shall be made as follows: 50% (Fifty percent) of the total amount including VAT on order and the balance on completion of the training. The order for the goods shall only be binding upon the Seller once the initial payment has been received by the Seller. Delivery of the product shall only proceed once the outstanding balance of the purchase price together with any delivery charges has been received by the Supplier.
If the Purchaser fails to take delivery of the goods within 30 days of completion of the training the Seller shall be entitled to charge a storage fee. The price quoted is ex-works and any additional freight, insurance and delivery cost is for the account of the Purchaser.
Payment of the deposit infers acceptance of these terms and conditions . As all looms are built only to order the deposit is a non refundable order and failure to pay the final outstanding amount will result in the forfeiture of the deposit. There is no obligation on the seller to sell the unclaimed looms.
Interest will be charged at a current rate if the final payment is not made on completion of the training or at the date at which the training was offered but not accepted by the purchaser
Delivery shall be completed when the goods are handed over to the Purchaser or a carrier engaged to transport the goods for the Purchaser, prior to loading for transport.
The risk in the goods shall pass to the Purchaser on delivery of the goods to the Purchaser, its agent or carrier.Estimated date of delivery shall be determined only on the date of deposit of the initial payment. Final delivery date will be determined by the capacity of the production facility at the date of deposit. Confirmed orders will be executed on a “ first come, first served” basis unless otherwise agreed upon in writing by the Seller.
Notwithstanding the delivery of any goods to the Purchaser, ownership shall not pass until the Supplier has received payment in full of all indebtedness of the Purchaser to the Supplier.
All specifications, illustrations, drawings, diagrams, price lists, dimensions, performance figures, advertisements, brochures and other technical data furnished by the Supplier in respect of the goods, and whether in writing or not, are furnished only on the basis that they will not form part of the contract or be relied upon by the Purchaser for any purpose.
The Supplier’s liability to the Purchaser for any damages sustained by the Purchaser from any cause whatever, including any damages arising out of the Supplier’s negligence or that of its servants, agents or sub-contractors, shall in any event and under all circumstances be limited to the replacement of goods which, at the date of delivery thereof are subject to a patent defect arising from defective materials or workmanship.
Except as provided for in the above the Supplier shall in no circumstance whatsoever be liable for any loss of profit or any damage direct or indirect consequential or otherwise, sustained by the Purchaser.
The Purchaser shall not have any claim of any nature whatever against the Supplier for any failure by the Supplier to carry out any of its obligations under these terms and conditions as a result of causes beyond the Supplier’s control, including but without being limited to any strike, lock-out, unavailability of labour or materials, delays in transport, accidents of any kind, any default or delay by any sub-contractor or supplier of the Supplier, political or civil disturbances, the elements, any act of any State or Government, any delay in securing any permit, consent or approval required by the Supplier for the supply of goods , or any other authority, or any other cause whatever beyond the Supplier’s absolute and direct control.
All goods are sold with a twelve month warranty from date of delivery of the goods.
The Supplier guarantees the properties of the goods as specified and further guarantees a state of freedom from faults commensurate with the actual state of technical knowledge both in respect of material and workmanship
for the period of time agreed upon but gives no guarantee as to the suitability of the goods for the individual purposes of the Purchaser.
The Supplier shall be entitled to decide whether to remedy complaints by repair or replacement of the part or parts in question. The place to be selected by the Supplier for carrying out the repair work must be selected with due consideration to the Purchasers interest and the repair work must be selected with due consideration to the Purchasers interests.
Parts for replacement shall be sent per freight paid. Only the parts actually containing the fault in question in respect of material or workmanship and the parts directly damaged as a result of such fault in spite of proper treatment of the goods will be replaced. Replaced parts revert to the Supplier’s property.
Where the Supplier expressly acknowledges a case of warranty, the costs of installation will be borne by the Supplier.
Claims in respect of direct or indirect damage especially such due to injury of persons, interruption of work employment or a substitute, lost profit or else will not be entertained.
The Supplier’s guarantee will expire in the event of the goods supplied being modified by third parties or by the installation of parts of outside origin and the damage can be traced to such modification.
The guarantee expires in the event of the Supplier’s instruction for the treatment of the goods (instruction manual) being disregarded and in the event of the specified checks not being properly carried out or in the event of the maximum capacity being exceeded.
The Supplier is not liable for damage caused by the customer or his representative during transport, erection, installation or putting into service of the goods and such damage is exempted from any guarantee.
Fair wear and tear and damage due to negligent or improper treatment are excluded from the terms of the guarantee.
Training shall be given by the Seller and /or his appointed agent for a period of five working days within 30 days of notification of Purchaser that the goods are ready for delivery unless arrangements have been made prior to the delivery date.
The Seller shall not be liable for the capability of the trainee or the suitability of the trainee to operate the product at the completion of the training period.
The training shall be offered on site at the Sellers premises unless alternative arrangements have been made prior to the delivery date.
Training times will be determined by the Seller in consultation with the Purchaser.
The costs of travel, accommodation and meals for the training period are for the account of the Purchaser.
The Seller will supply raw material of his choice for the training. If the Purchaser requires that specialised training be given on a particular product, raw material or specification then the Purchaser shall be responsible to timorously supply the Seller with sufficient quantities of the product to affect the training. The Seller shall not be liable for any damages where the training is uncompleted due to a lack of raw material in the case where the purchaser has supplied the raw material.
All specifications, copyright material and designs remain the property of the Seller and may not be copied or transferred to a third party by any means.