Bensons Workwear Diversifies to respond to the Covid-19 Pandemic

Bensons Workwear Diversifies to respond to the Covid-19 Pandemic

Established in 2012 by fashion designer Beni Moussa, Cork-based clothing manufacturer, Bensons Workwear, has been designing and creating sportswear, uniforms, fire retardant clothing and fashionwear since its inception. And after the outbreak of Covid-19, the company, which benefited from a Trading Online Voucher, and Business Continuity Voucher from Local Enterprise Office South Cork, halted production of their regular stock and instead focused all their efforts on making PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).CE Certification

CE Certification

Bensons CEBensons is delighted to announce that their Disposable Gowns are now CE certified, and the technical file was completed the week of 13th July 2020.
"We have made this project a priority to respond to the National and the EU gown requirement due to its urgency and are pleased to advise that all our gowns will now have the attached CE neck label and "Made in Ireland. This achievement combined with our production capacity to date will mean more business and more manufacturing in Ireland and exporting our goods to EU countries instead of importing from the Far East."

As of July 2020, Bensons are producing almost 3000 gowns daily, and are CE Certified - making them the only Irish manufacture of CE Certified PPE Gowns. “Covid-19 slowed our production and fabric sourcing from December 2019, so we decided to stop what we were doing and put all our efforts into making hospital gowns,” says Moussa, who is originally from Algeria. “We didn’t have to pivot too much to make the necessary changes in production capacity or for the upskilling of staff apart from buying some new machines and working more closely as a team in order to get maximum efficiency. “We wanted to do our bit for those who are saving lives as they are the most important members of society right now. So, we have staff covering two shifts, in order to offer flexitime, and are currently producing a gown every three minutes, so that’s quite an achievement for us.”

Beni Moussa

Job Creation

In addition to all staff retaining their jobs, the company is also looking for others to join the ranks to helpproduce the much-needed PPE.“Everyone is working full time, but on flexible hours as evening suits some people better, and we are currently advertising for more seamstresses to join us. “I believe we will continue to make hospital gowns after the pandemic is over as our plan is to always have a project which will serve the community. My other objective would be to reignite the textile industry in Ireland – when you look back at the history of this country, there were a great many people who were skilled in this area and much of this seems to be lost. So if we can do our bit to bring it back to life, that would be a fantastic thing. And after the pandemic our factory will serve to teach textile skills in order to have more garments made in Ireland.”

LEO Supports

Having sourced large amounts of fabric from Irish suppliers, Bensons, which have already received a TAME grant (Technical Assistance for Micro Exporters) and a Business Expansion Grant, have already delivered the first batch of medical grade garments to the front line and will continue to do so for as long as is necessary. Moussa, whose company is based in Midleton, Co Cork, is encouraging other companies affected by the pandemic, to speak to their Local Enterprise Office for advice and to try and think of ways in which they can adapt their product. “It’s easy to think there are no other options available, but I believe there is always an alternative route so it’s really crucial to keep asking yourself what your options are,” he advises. “But this crisis will end, so it’s also very important for people feeling the stress of it all, to look after themselves, keep positive, do some exercise and be mindful of the effect that this may have on their morale.”