The Cost of 'Consciously Made'
Starting up a small business is hard work. Don’t get me wrong, there are PLENTY of perks - I’m doing something I love, I get to work from home, I get to fit my hours alongside my personal life (most of the time!), I’ve met a community of other wonderful makers and designers, I’m constantly learning new things, I can work in the sunshine…I could go on. But as with any job, it’s not all shits and giggles. The biggest challenge I face is self confidence and knowing my worth - more importantly knowing the worth of my products.
When you spend so long planning, designing, making and finalising something, it’s absolutely terrifying releasing it into the world. You obviously want people to love what you’re doing enough to invest in you and your business. Pricing is a huge factor in how well your products will sell, but there is a very fine line between pricing to sell and underselling yourself. Until recently I’ve been awful at offering too many ‘acquaintances’ discounts, offering to pay postage for wholesale orders, and also pricing my products a bit too low. I’ve been so worried about over pricing and wanting guaruntee sales that I’ve actually not been charging enough.
Good quality, hand made clothing that is made from responsibly sourced materials should cost more than the clothes you can buy in mass producing high street shops. And that’s really one of the reasons I started Lovesay and Mo - if I can convince others to spend a little bit more money on better quality clothing, it’ll last a lot longer and is SO MUCH better for the planet! Consumerism is really damaging the environment - you’ve all seen the programmes and read the articles so I know I don’t need to go into the ‘whys’. Having fewer items that are made well will last longer and you’ll totally notice the difference in the fit and the feel of the materials! This principle goes for almost every aspect of life too - not just your wardrobe! Quality over quantity every time.
I went to a talk a few months back at one of the Finisterre shops - they are a British cold-water surfing/outdoor brand that pride themselves on their sustainability. I learnt so much in the couple of hours I was there, and felt a real sense of pride realising that little old me sewing in my attic studio is implementing similar policies to a larger company like them. The one thing that I really took away from the talk is that you aren’t really paying more for something when you buy from a planet friendly company. You are paying exactly what that product is worth. The quality of every single detail and process that goes into creating a jumper, coat, dress or pair of shoes is reflected in the price that you pay at the till.
This is the reason for writing this post - I want to explain to you all that yes, my prices have gone up and yes, some of you may think it’s a bit of a hike. BUT please please know that it’s not me trying to create higher profit margins or for personal gain. I source my organic fabrics from a company based in Wales who have factories in India and Turkey. They were set up to save small communities from the effects of pesticide farming, and every year a percentage of their overall profits go back into those communities (as well as obviously paying them fair working wages!). Every single product I make is cut, sewn, overlocked, ironed, labelled and ‘poppered’ by hand. Even down to my brand labels which I print with a stamp and ink. This all takes time especially when you want every single piece to be absolutely perfect. It also all costs in electricity, insurance, time etc too.
So without boring you too much with too many details, I guess I’d just like to encourage you that yes handmade, eco friendly, well sourced products may seem expensive, BUT you will get exactly what you pay for!