PARIS — An association of ex-Lejaby lingerie workers and one entrepreneur, after launching a Facebook appeal to raise funds to create a high-end lingerie factory near Lyon earlier this year, is close to its goal and set to begin recruiting 25 seamstresses Wednesday, before training them and starting production early next year.
Les Atelières, an association created by communications executive Muriel Pernin and a group of ex-Lejaby workers, has raised 60,000 euros, or $78,700 at current exchange, in donations through its appeal, theassociation announced on its Facebook page. “This gives us strong hope to succeed in raising the 100,000 euros ($131,000) we wished for before the end of the year,” Les Atelières wrote.
The association will set up a cooperative company (Société Coopérative d’Intérêt Collectif, or SCIC, which translates as community-oriented cooperative enterprise) in early October to bring its projects to fruition.
Some 5,500 people have donated between 10 and 1,000 euros each, or $13 and $1,311, to help the association, which has aided in convincing ethical investors to also pledge funds of between 5,000 and 20,000 euros, or $6,559 and $26,236 at current exchange. These investors will take stakes in the cooperative when it is established.
The workshop’s first job will be for Lejaby itself: Les Atelières said that Alain Prost, who bought Lejaby as part of a consortium in January after it was placed in liquidation, but was forced to close its remaining French production through lack of funds, had committed to helpingthem and already placed an order, as well as selling the cooperative 90 sewing machines “at an extremely competitive price.”