Joy Hangs Up Her Iron After 30 Years At David Nieper

Ironing guru Joy Slater, 70, from Swanwick in Derbyshire has hung up her iron, packed up her ironing board and pressed her last ever garment for the Alfreton-based fashion house David Nieper.

Retiring after 30 years with the company, Joy has personally pressed around 1.5 million fashion garments, including silk nightwear, knitwear and eveningwear all designed and made in Alfreton, Derbyshire.

Joy SlaterJoy, who has worked in the textiles industry for 55 years, took her first job in the Aertex factory in Somercotes where she was taught to iron at the age of 15.  She joined David Nieper by accident some years later after being called in by a friend already working at the factory to “help out” during a busy period. Joy has been ironing ever since as part of the David Nieper team that provides the finishing touches to all garments before they are personally signed off and then delivered to customers all over the world.

At her leaving presentation, Joy took the opportunity to pass on some of her top ironing tips, including her preferred ironing technique of “using the iron as a paint brush”, which she explains gets the very best results.  She is now looking forward to spending time with her family, including two daughters and four grandchildren and ignoring the ironing.

Commenting on Joy’s retirement, managing director Christopher Nieper, said: “Joy is our very own ironing guru.  She is fantastic at her job and a real character and the life and soul of the factory.  We will miss her but we are not letting her escape that easily as Joy has agreed to look after the Good Friends Club for former David Nieper employees, and will be helping to organise the staff Christmas party.”

Over half of David Nieper’s staff have been with the company for more than 10 years, and many staff such as Joy have been with the company for 25 years or more. Joy’s 55 years experience in the textiles industry even outweighs the longevity of the David Nieper factory itself, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011.

During the 1950s, according to the CIPD, the UK was the ‘workshop of the world’ providing more than 8.7 million jobs.  Today, the manufacturing industry employs 2.5 million people but the East Midlands is still the heartlands of the textiles industry in the UK.

Joy Slater with the Prime Minister David Cameron during a visit to the David Nieper factory. Photo copyright Andrew Parsons / JP&C Photography