By: Maria and Fabian Lintott
We live in a world where fast fashion has become increasingly popular. Consumers are bombarded by options all available for immediate delivery. Over the past few decades large retail chains have pushed fast fashion making it a huge part of our consumer culture today.
The High Street/internet is drowning in choice and competition is fierce. This means that small businesses can struggle to get heard over their noise and often have trouble competing with the prices of inferior materials.
However, the problems associated with fast fashion go much deeper than the cost to small businesses. There are the undeniable environmental and human costs that often go unseen on the shop floor. Fast fashion creates huge quantities of waste, green house emissions and effluent. I have also been fortunate to spend time in China and India visiting both good and bad factories. Seeing firsthand the human cost of poor wages.
Fast fashion by its nature is made cheap and quick, meaning that it isn’t built to last and will wear quickly and be rendered obsolete much sooner than higher quality items.
In this article we try to explain why it will benefit you and the next generation to buy small.
Taking the time to consider the quality, design and source of the products you buy will make a big difference.
You are Supporting a Dream!
Businesses always start with a spark! An idea, a passion, a dream. All small business owners pour their heart and souls into their businesses. Often meaning they put in much more than they get out in monetary terms.
Small businesses have no hidden agendas, no manipulative messaging and you know from the outset where your items are made, who made them and what they are made from!
At Rufus Country we started with the idea that large retail wasn’t best for our end users. The Idea that you could spend £150 retail on a bag that had a cost price of between £20-£30 was fundamentally wrong. So we set out to address this by creating a direct to consumer business.
Better Quality for your Money!
Many small businesses focus on directly retailing their products. This is great for the end consumer as it means that there are no middle men/retailers taking money out of the product. At Rufus Country this allows us to use luxury leathers that are normally reserved for the luxury bags you see retailed on Bond Street. Quality really underpins everything we do. Which is why our bags come with a five-year guarantee, this ensures our bags give you the best possible performance. Buying quality ensures that you make the most of all the materials used to make your product. As an example, a plastic derived pleather bag will become land fill long before a leather bag even shows wear. Picking the right materials when you buy is incredibly important.
Big business will always be a part of the fashion industry and we have indeed worked with some of the greats prior to our launch of Rufus Country. However I think we are heading towards an interesting future where big business will have less of a hold on our choices.
We believe the high street will continue to wither with more and more of us turning to the internet for our shopping. To survive shops, need to give people more, better experiences, deeper connections and become destinations. Independents do this very well; large firms are only just waking up to experiential shopping.
Product control and satisfaction
The fact that retailers and middlemen aren’t involved in small business sales allows us to have complete control over our products. We can put in all the extras that normally get removed when margins get tight. This means we can always give our customers the best possible products for the best possible prices.
In most cases, and certainly in ours, all products are designed in house to our exacting standards. This is important not only as every item carrying our brand represents our passion but also because our business is customer focused. Every customer is a priority no matter if you purchase a £10 book mark to a £195 briefcase. This is essential if you want repeat customers and want people to spread the word about you. The flip side of this is that our customers benefit from the best personalised customer service available.
One thing Covid has done
There is no denying that the last 18 months have turned the world upside down and most, not all, small businesses have been hit hard. Some have thrived and some have faced challenges. However, Covid has shone a light on shopping small because it means that you’re taking profit away from big fast fashion brands and putting it into the hands of people with a true passion for what they do.
So, you see, when you support small you are supporting a dream and keeping it alive.
Vote with your money. The companies you spend your money with are the companies that will survive. If you want a company to be around in ten years, they need your support.
The design duo are behind Rufus Country, the British luxury Italian leather company.