My head is buzzing. We've just come back from a meeting with our wonderful production manager with regards to our new style, the Patty Tank. So she quotes a price for making the vest top and it's significantly above what we expected and, crucially, what we can make work. She explains why - several machines are needed for the various finishes which takes time - and it makes complete sense. So we amend the design and the price comes down accordingly. But here's the thing. We are producing in the UK and we expect to pay more for the production but even then, EVEN when we are paying the seamstresses a "fair" rate, they are barely getting more than the £12/hr they can get in Aldi (which says something positive about Aldi but that's another story). Aldi! And yet it's a truly skilled job. So imagine what goes on behind closed doors in other countries where the brands are forced to hand over the responsibility to someone else? Obviously it's a game of numbers too, but still. Can a £7.99 organic T shirt ever be ethical? Whether it's the cotton pickers, textile workers or seamstresses, someone is being royally f**ed over at that price.
Being a sustainable and ethical brand is about so much. It's not just about organic cottons and sustainable materials or producing in the UK. It's about making sure that every single person involved in your production chain is OK.
But how do you do all of this with absolute integrity, making sure no one loosing out and ensuring that you have a viable business model? Ce n'est pas evident.