Is it possible to be an independent brand anymore?
Long time readers will know that I came at this industry through the side door with no previous experience of retail. It was a sharp learning curve in learning the industry from creating a product to selling it.
We're really happy with where we've taken our jacket service which provides a platform for us to be creative. We're discussing ways to improve that weekly as I believe standing still sees you going backwards.
Design has always been the creative itch that needed scratching, from drawing Leeds Utd kits as a kid to getting more satisfaction from designing my old band's cd sleeves than I did recording the music. Creating clothing now gives me the same pleasure.
The warmer months welcome an opportunity to flex that creative muscle as winter is (rightly) covered in the UK essentials of long lasting woollens.
We were spoiled a little early doors though when retailers came knocking to stock our stuff. Excited by the bright lights, we jumped at the opportunity that we are still grateful for to this day. Retail is a whole new beast though. They have their overheads and taking risks on smaller brands is just that, a big risk. Then you have the monopolisation from the JDs and Frasers groups who are mopping up all of the mainstays of the Indie scene meaning those that remain are less likely to take that risk.
It's really important at this point to say that we are behind independent retailers and will continue to champion them whenever we can. For us a brand though, we have to look at things from a different angle.
We are a small team running a healthy business. This enables to create small runs of clothing that mens we don't fall into big bank loans or get swamped by holding masses of stock. In this day and age, it's a something we know can be precarious and heap praise on the many brands that go down that route. This is another reason you may have seen more brands selling on pre-order with ling lead up times, sometimes up to 6 months. Simply, it lowers the financial risk to the business. It also promotes patience for quality, which is good.
For us, we don't want our creativity to become a burden. Trying to create whilst keeping the bottom line low to make a retailer profit means we may have to reduce our quality at times. It's something I don't think I want to do anymore. I'd much rather sell direct from our site and offer the customer the product that we intended to sell rather than one compromised by cost to get in to retail.
Like everything, this may change in future but the one thing that won't is our position on quality.
Right now, we want to keep this fun, creating garments that tell great stories and keep ourselves testing creatively. We want to test new products, collaborating with ace local makers and keeping autonomy over our brand.
Falling into a financial well will stunt all of that. So for now. we thank you for continuing to support out journey.