I have been honoured to have been asked to keep a diary of my handbag label launch on Birds on The Blog – a blog dedicated to motivating business women. This post today is similar to the one that I shared there this month. As I wrote it, I started to feel that it was something that I wanted to share on my own blog too, something important about Jennifer Hamley, the brand. So far, each post has been written quite differently, I’ve not really found my writing style yet but I am working on it. (You can read my previous Birds posts here, here, here and here). The changing style of writing rather reflects my fledgling business I suppose, I’m learning as I go, testing things out, believing in what I am doing and going for it.
Things change and things develop all the time. One such thing that I have been considering this month is whether having my handbags manufactured exclusively in the UK is as important to me as I first thought. When the thought first came to me, I was a little shocked with myself, having always believed that UK manufacture was going to be one of the unique aspects of my brand. Possibly manufacturing abroad felt wrong, but something I had to investigate. Secretly, like a midnight fridge raider, I started doing some research on manufacture outside the UK, constantly scared that I would be discovered as a sell-out or a fraud. Something had happened that made me want to re-examine my own values and beliefs, to know what I am working towards.
After much soul searching I discovered that I value the fair treatment of workers, a good wage and good working conditions; the ability for everyone involved in the process to make a living for themselves and to care for their loved ones. I also care that all creatures (as with leather you must think of the animals too) should be well treated. My passion for a fine product insists on high quality and expert craftsmanship, and I care that the people that produce my handbags are proud to say they are part of the process.
There are talented craftspeople all over the world, and since doing my research I found that there are factories that really do look after the welfare of their workers. Some, sadly, do not. I’ve heard horror stories of workplaces showing visitors around and everything seeming perfect, the awful truth hidden behind locked doors. It’s a lot of work to manufacture abroad, often cheaper but a lot of investigation work. I conclude that I am open to options, that if I stick to my values and beliefs, things will work out well for workers, my customers and my brand.
With all this in mind I have learnt;
- I truly believe in the vision for my brand; A luxurious handbag made for hardworking women, entrepreneurs and business owners. Women that are powerful, graceful and feminine. Women that inspire us all and happen to live in every country in the world.
- I am 100% dedicated to finding a workforce that is well paid and well looked after
- I am curious and infinitely interested in bringing the world together and working with other countries if they can work with my beliefs and values
- My first collection will be made here in the UK, and more than likely the second and third too – I’ve done my research here and found manufacturers that I am happy to work with.
- My brand is VERY important to me, I want to create something to believe in.
What do you think? Am I wrong, am I right? I ‘d love to hear your thoughts on what i’ve said – it’s a biggie!
(All pictures from my recent trip to milan – one of my branded clips against vegan leather samples. I’ll post more about vegan handbags and the Milan trip soon I hope)