As I shared in our big picture blog, deciding on what brands to purchase from goes hand in hand with feeling confident in the integrity of their manufacturing. Early in the life of Adored Boutique, I learned some hard lessons That learning has helped me refine my approach and enhance the integrity of the fair fashion products I offer. My hope is that this blog will help you in your fair fashion journey, and hopefully help you avoid some of the mistakes I made!
This blog is intended to give you a detailed view about one step of the process. For a big picture view, see our "Big Picture" blog. For details on other steps in the process, keep following for those blogs coming soon!
Assess the style and price point of the products a brand is selling.
The first thing I ask myself, "Are they even in the world of my DNA?" As a small business, and one with purpose, I get to have a lot of conversations with people who are also passionate about social justice issues surrounding the garment industry. As a result of those conversations, I receive a lot of suggestions for brands! Also, since there are not many fair fashion boutiques like Adored, brands pursue me because it's so good to be in a brick & mortar where your story won't get lost.
I genuinely want to check out every lead and suggestion I get. Every few weeks I find a brand and wonder, "How the heck did I not know about them sooner?" I probably spend 2-3 hours per week just searching and reviewing brand suggestions.
My DNA is my DNA. Their DNA is their DNA. Sometimes, we make sense together, sometimes we don't. As a small business, it's important for me to stay true to who I am. If I venture too far from that, it can create confusion for my customers and so I work really hard to make sure the products I buy align with my DNA. Every fair brand has a beautiful style, but sometimes, those styles that are just not in line with mine. When I see a style like that as a consistent approach to a brands products, I usually do not keep pursing the brand. If I see some alignment with my style, then I look longer and dig deeper. I look for the uniqueness of their products and compare it to what I already have. If it's duplicated, I generally hang onto their information if I need it in the future but don't pursue them immediately.
Price point is huge. Traditionally, fair fashion has brought with it a higher price point. Early adopters argued quality and positive impact as the reason the additional cost was worthwhile. That is still very true today, but what has changed is some of the efficiencies of fair companies, who have learned how to keep their prices modest for the consumer without compromising the garment workers.
There are some amazing fair companies out there that would sell really well in certain communities, but not well in Grand Rapids. And, vice versa. So, this is part of the never ending assessment I make with brands... what is selling well, what are people excited about,... what are people ignoring... Over time, I have learned what products can sell at a higher point and what products won't, which allows me to buy smarter and more specifically for you, our loyal customers.