Photography by: Pip Cree, words by Hanna Guy
Many of our friends and community will be aware that we don’t want to participate in the conventional brands’ culture of holding excessive seasonal sales. Larger brands factor in moving inventory at low margins, often even at a loss, for a variety of reasons, enabling a consumer culture that deeply undervalues the garment and its true cost.
Strategising how to stand out from that norm is hard, real hard. There is an art to balancing value, pragmatic financial decisions and trying to retain a sense of inclusivity, all whilst maintaining an accessible price for our community. We have always proudly worked to stand out, focused on spreading the word that a garment’s “cost” should incorporate high quality, trans-seasonal versatility and classic (no fads!) design, leading to much more wear and bang for your buck.
Here comes the “but”...
We started 2020 with three retail stores, an online store and a significant list of wholesale stockists which resulted in us being equipped with thousands of garments ready for sale and then COVID-19 kicked us in the knees.
Inventory has become a global discussion, some stories are horrific where brands have cancelled orders with little concern of the impact on the garment workers at the end of their supply chain, while Gucci has announced it will go seasonless and is talking about systemic industry change. A little closer to home, the familiar voices of brands our size are shouting “every order counts, please!"
We quite literally can’t afford to sit on the stock we have for the months it would take to sell it. Our plans and projections have gone out the window, we’ve lost an entire income stream through having to close our retail stores and have returned to the drawing board on our entire business model. Planning takes time and our business needs cash, so the absolute bottom line is - incoming cash pays bills. Our bills are likely identical to every other small business; salaries, rent, utilities, insurance, tax. That’s what a stripped back small company looks like in survival mode - design and marketing budgets cut, possibilities for growth paused. It’s painful, it ages you.
As a values-driven company, it takes a minute to consolidate the “why” after literal survival. It becomes about building community, reaching previously unmet customers and having the opportunity to start a conversation with them, in hope that they will stick with us for the next chapter.
It’s also about our hearts. At the end of the day, if these beautiful pieces that have been crafted with care, intention and positivity are being worn, where people are being complimented in public or feeling cosier at home, it makes us feel better than having them sitting in our warehouse.
These are unprecedented times and we’re holding an unprecedented sale. The small brand voices ring true- every single sale counts.