I have worked from home for nearly 15 years now, around bringing up my son and caring for my late husband, first as a freelancer and then for my own business. Both my parents have also always worked from home, so it is second nature to me. With the second UK lockdown in place many will be returning to their kitchen table with laptops again wondering how to get through it. I hope some of things that help me be productive will also help you and maybe WFH (working from home) will become more enjoyable for you too?
Having some kind of computer goes without saying for most people these days, but if this situation looks like it could become more of a long term one I would suggest getting a desktop machine rather than a laptop (if your budget allows). They are so much easier to use and you then avoid patchy Wi-Fi problems and running out of power during important web meetings. But if you are only likely to do basic admin on it then save your money.
During the summer I invested in a Wi-Fi extender which meant I could sit in the garden and work on my laptop. It was such a good investment and made real difference to my well-being being out in fresh air and sunshine. It may be that you can get your employer to pay for things like this if it will help you to get work done or look at the government’s tax relief scheme.
Organisation is key when working from home and I always use a day per page diary to plan out what I need to be working on. It can be easy to get distracted at home but if you have ticked off everything on your work to-do list then why not chill out a bit? It’s also handy to jot down all those work contact emails and details so you have them quickly to hand.
I am lucky enough to have a (tiny) spare room that I use as my office/studio space. It means I can shut the door on it at the end of the day which psychologically helps to switch off from work. If you don’t have a spare room then maybe set up a specific area or even if you using the kitchen table clearing it away at the end of the day will help you to separate work from your home life.
If you are sat in one place for eight hours or more a day a hard dining chair is not going to do you any good. If you can invest in anything it must be this. Choose one that is comfy and gives you good back support. At the very least get a cushion to put on whatever chair you have to use. I have learnt this one the hard way.
If you and your partner are both at home some noise reducing headphones might help to concentrate or a use a PC headset for web meetings or just to shut out the noise of kids when they get home from school. I work on my own so haven’t needed these but my son’s noise has made me consider it!
One thing I have really started to enjoy while I am working is listening to podcasts. I am fairly new to podcasts but if you can work and listen to something at the same time I highly recommend Serial and The Teacher's Pet, if you like true crime, Can He Do That? and Gaslit Nation if you are into politics and The Missing Cryptoqueen, Wardrobe Crisis and The Guilty Feminist are also a good listen.
It is just as important to take a break from your work at home as it is in the office. Having a short break actually helps you to be more productive and focused and breaks up the day too. Maybe you are missing the coffee you normally grab on the way in to work, so make some at home. My feeling is that whatever makes life better, especially right now, is definitely OK (so why not have a biscuit or too as well!)
Now you are working from home you are likely to be far more sedentary than when you were going into the office as you may only have to roll out of bed to your desk (or maybe not even that). Scheduling in some exercise each day will help keep you sane while spending long hours in the same four walls. Putting on your trainers and going for a run is a cheap and easy way to stay fit and blow away those cobwebs.
Some people advise getting dressed up as if you are going to work to get into that mind-set and be professional. I say wear whatever makes you happy and is warm and comfy. If I have a web meeting I might put on a smarter top and still be wearing my tracky pants, and who is going to know or quite frankly care? These are trying times, let’s be kind to ourselves :-)
Hope you enjoy these tips and they help you to be WFH masters!
7 Scandi Tips for a Covid Winter
How to Survive Lockdown with Kids
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#workingfromhome #lockdown2 #toolkit
Our new retail website is now open! Woo hoo!!
Our launch print collection is available to buy on this site just in time for your Christmas list.
Check it out via this link:
I will now be blogging from this new site but there will be link from this old site to send you over there in case you forget. There are a few design and layout changes to be made over the next week but it is ready to shop at.
Look forward to seeing you there!
When I started doing my design research I began by looking toys that today’s kids play with, but ended up finding vintage toys that took me on a trip down memory lane. I knew I wanted to avoid stereotyped or gender specific imagery, which seemed to prevail far less then. So, enjoying this nostalgic journey I decided to delve into my own childhood for further inspiration.
My childhood memories are lit by the bright coloured tones of the eighties and tinged here and there with the orange and brown hues of the seventies. Without the digital overload and mass consumption that we live in today, it felt like a calmer, safer time to disappear into. These are the colours and moods I wanted to capture in my prints.
Through this introspection I knew that as a British-made brand I also wanted to capture something of what it is to be British. For me this is not flag waving or singing ‘Rule Britannia’, nor the clichés of red telephone boxes and the Queen. But rather the eccentricity and quirkiness that is evident in traditions such as cheese-rolling, sack races and even queuing! The simple pleasures that are still very part of British life today and for some reason most them ended up being food!
Milk and Biscuits
I wanted to do a nod to the classic British cuppa, but milk and biscuits seemed a more appropriate design for kids clothes! I am old enough to remember when milk came in real glass bottles and remember hearing the clinking sound early in the morning as they were delivered by the (now very rare) milk man. It also comes from a memory of my brother and I having our own biscuit tin, which we had a packet of biscuits in and “when they were gone, they were gone”!
Fish & Chips
This quintessential British dish conjures up many happy memories for me, but the one pictured here is from one of my annual holidays as a child with my friend and her family to Wales. We would get our fish & chips from the local chippy (and mushy peas as I am from north of the Watford gap!) and eat them down on the beach. After which we would walk along the sand to the headland to spot seals. On the way back we would stop off at the pub and sip Appletiser and jump off the wall into the dunes (not at the same time!)
Jelly & Ice-cream
Birthday parties back in my day were simple affairs of some party games, probably pass-the-parcel and a birthday tea with sandwiches (that no one ate), cheese and pineapple on sticks and of course the grand finale of jelly and ice-cream! A thick block of Neapolitan would have been a real treat and sprinkles would have been positively posh!
Camping & Caravanning
Harking back again to summers holidaying in Wales, we would stay in a caravan on a farm by the sea. It was so exciting to be in a tiny house on wheels even when the storms raged and rain and wind buffeted the walls. It had a mock wood-paneled interior and we read Famous Five by the light of it's little gas lamps. I sometimes stayed on a following week with my family, which I resented at first, as it had been my own little world that I wanted to keep to myself.
Can you spot which ones are me in the photos?
There are other prints in the rest of the collection that have not been included in the launch. Maybe I will tell you the stories behind them one day too.
My Scandi Pattern Design Influences
The Creative Process
Branding the Boy
#printandpattern #printinspiration #printstories
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My son said to me the other day that his favourite time of year is Halloween, even over Christmas! So, he is upset to miss out this year on our usual trip of trick or treating around the neighbourhood. I have reassured him that he can still have a sweetie overload and get dressed up but it is not the same. So, I have been trying to think of different things we can do safely at home to make up for it. I do want to add here to not put too much pressure on yourself to create an extravaganza (unless you want to). This could be a good time to reset and move away from the rampant consumerism of Halloween that we have inherited from the US. But in any case some ideas below may appeal to your kids too.
During the first national lockdown we had a weekly zoom disco with my cousins and their kids, sometimes with themes and dressing up. We all chose a tune each and had a good old dance. It was a great way to connect with my family regularly and escape from covid worries. You could have a dressing up, face painting or dancing competition and give a grand prize. Here are some music suggestions:
Decorate your house with pumpkins and hand crafted decorations made with the kids. Check out my Pinterest board here for ideas. Get the kids making some spooky snacks, here are some ideas on my Pinterest board. You could also play some games like apple bobbing or hiding sweets around the house with clues along the way or set up a pumpkin carving competition with your neighbours. Here are some more suggestions:
Online Halloween quizzes
Halloween Kids Films
Why not set up a Halloween movie night with friends using Netflix Party? Then you can all watch the same film at the same time and chat about it in a messaging app or just just do it manually and text each other? Here are some suggestions of films for different ages and where to stream them:
Halloween Kids Books
I hope you all manage to have a fun and safe Halloween
7 Scandi Tips for a Covid Winter
How to survive Lockdown with Kids
Window Games for Lockdown
How to have a Green Halloween
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Resources and references
#lockdownhalloween #covidhalloween #halloweenideas
So, it looks like we are in for a long, hard winter with local or even national lockdowns looking quite likely. During the spring and summer months this didn't feel as daunting as now, facing dark months separated from family and friends with a virtual Christmas being little to celebrate. The Scandinavians have much to teach us on how to cope with a long winter, so I have put them together with some of my own thoughts on how I have coped as a widow during difficult times and developed some resilience.
1. Hygge & Koselig
The Danish and Norwegian concepts of 'hygge' and 'koselig' can offer some much needed comfort. Getting snuggly and cosy with warm blankets, roaring fires, candles and low lighting sets the tone. These concepts also extend to hearty or comforting food too, so take it as an excuse to have a little of what you like - we all need a bit of extra insulation during the winter anyway!
In Sweden the concept of outdoor living is expressed in the term 'friluftsliv' - literally translated as 'free air life'. This extends far past the idea of outdoor cafe culture to families with children happily playing in a playground covered in snow and ice during a snowstorm (I have witnessed this myself!) So, adopting some of their hardiness could help prevent us getting cabin fever and get the vitamin D and fresh air that will do us all good during this difficult time. We should embrace the Scandinavian saying that 'there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing' and invest in good thermals, cosy knitwear and waterproofs. If meeting other households is permitted, then setting up an inviting, outdoor place could provide a little haven to continue being social with others. Utilising a BBQ or fire-pit to provide warmth along with some cosy blankets and hot drinks.
On Christmas Eve Icelanders give books and chocolate to their loved ones and then all go to bed early to read and eat their treats. It's no wonder that Iceland is known to be the most literary country in the world. I loved this idea so much that we have adopted it the tradition with my son getting family members second-hand books and yummy choccies each year. Disappearing into a good book is a great way to while away the long winter nights and we will need a bit of escapism in the coming months.
This is the Swedish version of 'Friday night in' which we all be having many of our own of this winter. So stock up on tasty snacks, some steaming mulled wine and snuggle up in front of a fire or with a blanket to enjoy that box-set that you been meaning to watch. It's even better if you fall asleep and miss the end! If you use Netflix Party you can watch things at the same time as your friends and chat to them about the film as well. Plan it ahead so you have something to look forward to and use it to mark the weekends.
Between 10 and 11am every day Swedes stop whatever they are doing and have coffee often with a tasty pastry such as kanelbullar (Cinnamon buns). It's a great way to take a bit of time out of a busy day and would normally involve chatting with friends or work colleagues. So, why not use it as a chance to text, phone or video call a friend and see how they are getting on?
6. Scandi Mindset
Scandinavians don't dread the winter, in fact they love it! Their positive mindset helps them to cope with the short hours of daylight and they look forward to the snow so they can do their favourite winter sports. They cherish the unique beauty and stillness that winter brings. I love the changing of the seasons too and try to capture it with a camera. What can you do during this season that you wouldn't in spring or summer? Why not take up a new past-time like knitting or cross-stitch that you wouldn't do otherwise?
7. Self Care
One of the most important things I did when my husband died was to take care of myself, so that I could be strong enough to take care of my son. I instinctively knew that I needed to eat regularly and healthily, exercise often and sleep as much as I could. Realising it's ok too to not be ok, to not have to do everything and not be perfect was important too. Be kind to yourself and enjoy a treat and some special treatment now and then as well as taking this opportunity to slow down, recharge and relax.
All these tips are great if you are lucky enough to be in a relationship, but I think they are even more important If you are on your own as I have been. I hope this helps you through this crazy time and come out of the other end. I would love to know if you take up some of these tips or if you have any of your own.
How to Survive Lockdown with Kids
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References & Resources
#scandiliving #covid19 #toptips
The cold weather is drawing in now and so is the need for waterproof and warm coats. If you are needing a new coat for your little ones we have scoured the best of the design-led brands to save you the time and effort. Our designer's picks features brands that are premium quality and have good eco credentials too. Having just bought the Boy Wonder a Mini Rodini coat (second-hand) and having previously had a Polarn O Pyret one too, I can personally vouch for their high quality.
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Me, my husband and my son lived in Sweden for a year when my son was little. It had a profound effect on me as a person and as a designer. If everyone lived abroad somewhere for a year and learned another country's language and culture it would really make us more open-minded and curious as people. I was already a big scandiphile before we went and am even more so now. I really enjoyed learning the language, the less frantic way of life with Fika breaks everyday and of course the amazing design (and I'm not just talking about Ikea!) We did a weekend stay across the water in Copenhagen too which I really loved and also had some fantastic quirky design shops.
Having a young child I was most influenced by discovering some of the amazing scandi kids fashion brands. Back in the UK I had been struggling to find unique, fun designs that weren't baby blue or covered in trucks or dinosaurs. So, Mini Rodini, Smafolk, Polarn O Pyret and many others were a real joy to find with their bright, fun all over prints often with quirky motifs.
But there were also many other wonderful design products ranging from home textiles to ceramics that inspired me to start designing my own prints .
Stig Lindberg is the most well known of designers in Swedish Ceramics. His simple repeating geometric designs are still in production today and the Berså design in particular is popular worldwide. Amazingly his passion for drawing came about while recovering from having chopped off his thumb! He studied at the University College of Arts, Crafts, and Design in Stockholm and went on to work at the nearby Gustavsberg Porcelain factory from 1937-1980.
Astrid Sampe's most well known designs were for the Swedish homeware brand Almedahls where her designs are still used today across many items from tea towels to biscuit tins. Often known as Sweden's textile queen she attended Stockholm State College of Craft, Art & Design (Konstfack) and the Royal College of Art, London and went on to work at Nordiska Kompaniet in 1935. This design was based on her friend Signe Person-Melin's spice cabinet.
This herring (a typical Scandinavian staple) design was designed by Marianne Nilsson for Almedahls in 1955 and is still a true Swedish classic. This design has influenced many other designers with fish being are seen across many home textile designs even today. She was a close colleague of Astrid Sampe at the NK Textile studio and part of a group that redefined Swedish textile design.
Referred to as Sweden's mother of porcelain Marianne Westman studied at the University Academy of Arts, Crafts and Design and then went to work at Rörstrand where she spent most of her career. Her Mon Amie range is her most well known design and was inspired by a rainy midsummer's day in 1932, while other popular designs which feature on kitchen linen and other homewares include Pomona, picknick and frisco.
Although Lotta is a contemporary designer you can see the influence of Stig Lindberg in her work for Sagaform. She is one of sagaform's most prolific designers with many ranges to her name. I love her simple designs and retro feel.
Would love to hear of any scandi designers that you love or have influenced your work or home décor.
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References & Resources
#surfacepatterndesign #scandidesign #designinspiration
Back in March, as Covid-19 forced lockdowns around the world, global Fashion brands scrambled to protect their bottom lines in the wake of massive store closures. One way they did this was to cancel all their orders with manufacturers to prevent being stuck with huge amounts of summer stock they would have little chance of selling and nowhere to store it all.
“An estimated £10 billion of unsold clothing sat in warehouses across the UK with nowhere to go"[i]
Most garment manufacturing by big fashion brands is outsourced to developing countries such as Bangladesh. Many orders were cancelled with impersonal emails and some brands stopped communicating altogether according to the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) who went on to say that over 72% of buyers refused to pay for raw materials ordered and 91% wouldn't pay for the cut, make and trim costs[ii] (making up of garments)
"As of April, more than US$3 billion in orders to around 1,150 factories were in limbo, leaving around 2.8 million workers, mostly women, facing poverty and hunger."[iii]
This is now thought to be between 3.2 and 5.8 billion[iv] owed for orders some that were completed and ready to be shipped. Garment workers were doubly affected by coronavirus working in close quarters with no social distancing or proper ventilation. They already live precarious lives with no savings, healthcare or severance pay and housing insecurity. As one factory manager said:
"If coronavirus doesn't kill my workers, then starvation will."[v]
Many big global names refused to pay, some that we in the UK would recognise such as Walmart (Asda/George), Mothercare, Arcadia Group (Burton, Topshop, Miss Selfridge & Dorothy Perkins) Urban Outfitters. Primark owed the Bangladeshi workers who made their garments £27 million but has recently agreed to pay while Edinburgh Wool Mill, parent brand to Peacocks, Bon Marche and Jaeger, owned by billionaire Philip Day still owes £27 million[vi]. Some brands like Gap are asking for discounts of 20% or more or extending payment terms, which will not helps workers in extreme poverty who live hand to mouth.
"It takes a CEO from a big fashion or retail company just four days to earn the same amount a Bangladeshi garment worker will earn over her lifetime."[vii]
So, how can you help to put pressure on these big brand baddies? Firstly, you can check the up to date tracker to which brands have yet to pay up: https://www.workersrights.org/issues/covid-19/tracker/
Then you can sign this petition or one of the many others that focus on brands in from specific countries:
Next, you can go to the brand's social media accounts and post the hashtags #payup & #payyourworkers on their posts. This coordinated campaign and public outcry is working as already 21 brands have agreed to pay in full paying back over $22 billion, just over half of the $40 billion that is owed.
Lastly, you can donate to the emergency fund to support workers financially set up by the campaigning group Clean Clothes: https://cleanclothes.org/campaigns/covid-19
We owe it to those workers who have been exploited for years to bring us our fast fashion bargains Please help and support in any way you can, it really can make a difference.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Back in March I did a previous post on making your own facemasks which, although it proved to be very popular, I got attacked about on social media. I think the case for the need for our own masks is very strong now and in many countries like the UK it is mandatory to wear them in many places. There are now hundreds of posts online on how to make your own masks, so I thought I would share my new and improved version with you.
Making your own masks is beneficial in many ways as it frees up medical grade masks for those working in hospital and care settings and also because they are washable & reusable thereby reducing waste (especially if you use scrap/recycled fabrics). Many designers and fashion brands are now selling their own versions of face coverings, so why not take their lead and turn it into a true fashion statement!
It is advisable to remove them very carefully and wash them with soap and hot water after use making sure you wash your hands afterwards. Using different fabric inside will remind you not to put it on inside out which would not be safe or hygienic.
After giving some of the masks I made away to friends and family I ended up donating the rest to a homeless charity. If you have time and extra fabric why not donate yours too?
These masks are based on medial surgical masks in their measurements and as they have ties they will fit adults and children alike. I have made these double sided to give extra protection, but also to allow a pocket for you to insert a filter. This could simply be some tissue or kitchen towel that can be discarded after use.
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#homemadefacemasks #coronavirus #covid19
Like millions of others all over the world I was upset and angry to witness George Floyd, an unarmed black man, die in the US as a white police officer knelt on his neck. Although not the first of such callous killings, it is sadly not the last but that video footage has triggered reactions and events that others before have not. It has bought the lived reality of the dangers of being non white to a bigger audience than ever before. Maybe being part of a captive UK audience during lockdown, one that has also witnessed the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the BAME community, made it all the more effecting and although faraway drew so many parallels to those that have died from police contact here.
I felt incredibly moved to see slaver's statues toppled but I know this is not enough. The emotions it has churned up has made a lot of white folk, like myself, look at how we can educate ourselves and our children on black history to understand systemic racism, become actively anti-racist and help dismantle unjust structures . It was to this end that I scoured the internet to find educational resources on slavery and colonialism to send to my son's teacher in request that they be used in their online learning. I am happy to say that this was taken on willingly by the school and I thought it might be useful to some of you as well.
Educational resources and teaching must of course be age appropriate and as you know your own child you will know what is suitable for them. It is not an easy or light subject to tackle, but it is time now to be honest about Britain's brutal history and acknowledge how this past has benefited and repressed different groups of people.
Below are links from various sources, most of which are suitable for Key Stage 2 (Primary aged children).
A guide to colonial history of country houses guide
Colonial history of country houses resources
My personal opinion on talking about these issues with children is that it's important to make it clear that although this is 'history', racial prejudice and brutality are still happening now. From a fashion perspective too slavery has not ended and 'fast' fashion is only possible by the enslavement and subjugation of black and brown people. You can refer to some of my previous blog posts on this subject area below:
Join the Fashion Revolution
Wake up to Child Labour
Who made my Jeans Pt1
Who made my jeans Pt2
This is why we make ethically in Britain, so you can trust that no slave or child labour has been used to make our products.
The boy wonder and I stand in solidarity with all BAME communities to say that 'black lives matter' and we will work together towards a more just and more equal world.
Please see our equality and diversity policy here.
Well, what a very strange few months it has been.
My son and I have been isolated for 4 months now, which has had it's ups and downs! I spent a lot of time wondering if the business would survive and trying to think of ways I might pivot it if I needed too. Back in march our new printers had had all their orders cancelled by other customers and had to close during lockdown. Without this specialist part of my supply chain the Boy Wonder brand would not survive. Thankfully they are getting up and running again, so we can continue with production. However, in the longer term, when the government furlough scheme ends and the recession deepens I don't know how long they (and therefore we) will be able to continue. Sadly, I have not been eligible for any business grants or funding during this crisis.
I am also having to consider realistically how much work I can do now due to home schooling my son. As a widowed parent it was always a struggle to juggle work and home life, but now it's near impossible. This crisis has also made me reflect on what is important too. I realise I am no longer willing to work such long hours and miss out on quality time with him anymore. So the sensible option seems to be to focus on getting the production run done and the pre-orders out to my Kickstarter backers. Then, giving myself more time than previously planned, get the retail website made up in order to sell the rest of the stock from the production run. I will need to reduce my marketing output though which was what I spent most of my time working on. This means the newsletter will now become bi-monthly and blog posts monthly or so.
Thank you for sticking with us through this difficult time. I realise many of you, like myself, will be re-evaluating non-essential purchases such as fashion now due to financial reasons or simply as they don't seem so important anymore. However, I would hope that if you do need to buy kids clothes you will still consider Boy Wonder, for our ethical and sustainable standards, but also our fun designs.
I hope you have all managed to stay safe and well.
While we all think of ways to keep the kids amused as well as stay in contact with the outside world how about trying to combine the two? After seeing the drawings of rainbows done by Italian children during lockdown I was inspired to think of creative ways to use these spaces in our communities. So here are a few ideas that are as yet untested, but could maybe work with a few adjustments depending on the layout of your street & type of housing. If your household has binoculars these could come in useful or otherwise look at your neighbours windows when you take some daily exercise. For most of these ideas you would need to set up some sort of street communication through WhatsApp, Facebook, Next-door or similar to play together.
Each day a different household could draw a picture to represent either a film, book or song for the other side of the street to guess and put it up in their window. Take it in turns and alternate between each side of the street each day. The drawing can have the theme written at the top, but should not otherwise have any letters, numbers or symbols. At the end of the week or allowed time, the side of the street with the most pictures guessed right wins.
Each household takes turns to choose a word and draw the hangman that they out in their window. Maybe start one end of the street and alternate between sides each day. The chosen word is represented with dashes for each letter. Anyone on the street who can see the household drawing can suggest letters for the mystery word. If the letter is correct the drawing household puts it into the space it appears. If it is wrong the first part of the hangman is drawn. The others on the street must guess the word before the hangman is fully drawn because of wrong letters guessed.
This one has to be done from the confines of your house rather than when passing by outside for it to work better. A house at one end of the street (no. 1) chooses a phrase and writes large enough to read and places in a visible window. The house opposite (no. 2) has to write what they think they can read and write that on paper and place in their window. The next house opposite them (no. 3) then does the same. By the time it gets to the end of street it will hopefully be beyond recognition to the starting phrase and hilariously funny.
Take a word, scramble it up and write it out in large letters to put up in a window. The first neighbour to guess what it is wins. Take it in turns and increase the length of the words to increase the difficulty.
Take in turns to draw up a 4 x 4 grid of randomly chosen letters. You could pick these out of a bag of scrabble letters or from a real boggle game if that helps. Put up the grid in a window and make sure it is large enough for all to read it. Set a time period for people to view it from 10 minutes to an hour or more if necessary. Houses that can see the boggle grid must come up with as many words from the grid as they can. The letters must connect to form the word and not repeat and no plurals, abbreviation or slang allowed. To simplify the point scoring award a point for each letter each word contains. The household with the highest scores wins the round. Take turns and alternate the side of the street so that different houses get the chance to see the boggle grid.
Choose a daily theme and get the kids to set their imaginations free! Encourage use of different media; paints, pastels, collage etc. and the bigger the better. Place them proudly in upstairs windows for all to see. Then each household on the street could vote on a winner and a chocolate prize could be awarded.
I'm sure there are hundreds of other well known games or activities that could be adapted in a similar way so let me know if you think of any more. I hope you will all try some and get playing with your neighbours to help strengthen your community and get through these hard times.
#lockdowngames #coronvirus #covid19
How to Survive Lockdown with Kids
Hello dear readers,
As my son and I go into self isolation due to my son's medical risk, I thought it might be useful to share with others my ideas on how to cope with it. As a widow and a home worker I am used to spending long periods on my own, so am maybe more well equipped than others to cope, and some of these strategies have been key to me surviving the dark times after my husband's death. Keeping the kids amused in different ways rather than just the telly should help maintain a happy (isolated) household (although TV is still definitely essential!)
This is so important, because as parents we put our kids needs before our own, but if we burn out we will be no good to anyone. Make sure you have some space & time to yourself each day doing something that helps you to unwind, switch off or escape. Having a relaxing bath, doing some meditation, getting lots of sleep, reading a good book, and maybe putting ear plugs in to block out everything else for a few minutes will go a long way in keeping you sane. Dads may want to escape to their 'man cave' or shed perhaps for a bit of time out.
Books, magazines & comics.
You can access your library online and download e-books, e-magazines, e-comics and digital audiobooks onto phones and tablets. E-books can also be downloaded from Amazon onto Kindles. Download digital audiobooks onto your phone or an old handset and kids will happily listen with headphones giving you precious peace and quiet!
Films & TV
Why not have a movie night? Dig out an old favourite DVD, stream or download one from the internet or order for delivery online. Get out the popcorn out and cuddle up - bliss! You could even host a watch party with Netflix or do your own by choosing to watch a film simultaneously with someone else you know. Parents can look forward to an evening treat of a boxset binge after the kids are in bed.
Board games and card games area great way to bring the family together for a bit of fun. There are also some online table games you can play with friends. Video games with online multi-player options are great for older kids so they can still play with their friends. Sticking to a screen time limit is good and this may be helped by pre-arranging a 'digital playtime' with their friends, which you may need to help with unless they have their own phones.
Combating boredom while being stuck inside for long periods of time will help reduce tensions. We use a family time jar with different activities in to be picked out a random when the dreaded words 'I'm bored' get uttered. There are so many things you could put in here from treasure hunts, hide and seek, colouring, jigsaws and crafting. Setting aside a regular time slot for playing with your kids, perhaps when you would usually home after work, will help give a structure to the days. There are more ideas here.
Phone or video calling friends and family regularly and not relying on just social media will help us feel connected to the real world. Kids might want to chat to friends too or maybe email each other like pen-pals. If you live close enough to your neighbours to see their windows your kids could create a game involving poster messages or similar putting their inventiveness to the test. For people's birthdays you could make cards together and photo, scan or post them (in a remote post box) or even sing a song and video it to send to them instead.
If you have a garden, getting outside as much as you can will help boost vitamin D levels and prevent cabin fever. If the weather is good try a lawn picnic, camping, den building or an assault course. Get the kids involved with planting spring bulbs and watching them grow will give you joy during the hard times in the coming months. A walk in a remote or un-busy place should be fairly safe too, if you keep your distance from other people or go out at night. A drive just to escape the house could also help and cycling and jogging would be low risk too if you avoid contact. Take the time to appreciate the peace and quiet on our streets, less pollution and listen to the birds sing. Remember to get everyone to wash hands their hands when they are back inside though as the virus can stay on hard surfaces for some time.
Why not take a virtual tour of a museum from the safety of self isolation? 12 famous museums have virtual tours including the British Museum, the Guggenheim and Musee D'Orsay and they are free too!
Getting regular exercise will really help you not only stay well and fight off any infection, but keep your spirits up due to the endorphins released. Yoga can be particularly beneficial as it is also calming. I highly recommend Yoga with Adrienne which is available free to watch on YouTube. Here are some other online suggestions. Keep the kids active too to burn off all the pent up energy from being stuck inside with 'PE with Joe' on YouTube.
Food & drink
Frozen and tinned fruit and veg will provide you with you with much needed nutrients if you can't get out to stock up on fresh food. Eating healthily and avoiding too much alcohol will keep your immune system strong, but a glass or two of wine at the weekend could be a good way to mark time and have something to look forward to. Why not try baking bread or cakes with the kids too? If you have to go out for supplies try to use small local businesses as many of these will struggle to stay afloat and there will most likely be less people in them than the big supermarkets, but use masks and gloves where possible and wash or sanitize hands as soon as you get home.
If you end up doing everything for everyone resentment and tension will soon build up, so it might be an idea to divide up the chores and work as a family team. Kids learn good life skills and responsibility too from doing chores, so get them involved with clearing away meals, cooking, laundry and looking after pets.
This is an emergency situation, so although it's tempting try not to bury your head in work. It will be important for kids to know that you are there for them and you will get through it together. They will need to be able to spend time with you so they can express their worries and feel reassured. It's a good opportunity to slow down, rethink your priorities and consider your work/life balance. Setting specific times to work, in a separate room if possible, will let kids know when they can have family time and when to leave you alone.
Schools may well at some point set up online classrooms or homework, but there are also other ways to keep them learning. Some schools have subscriptions to apps like Times Table Rockstars and Reading Eggs and there are many maths websites, free scholastic and Twinkl learning resources and educational TV programmes like Horrible Histories and Number Jacks. Why not also engage in some other skills by teaching or learning together things like knitting or cooking? You can also download language and learning apps like Duolingo onto phones or laptops. You could also learn something yourself through an online short course with FutureLearn.
There are always jobs that we never get round to as we are so busy, so why not take the opportunity and tidy that cupboard, sort out that paperwork or write that email to an old friend. It will give you a sense of much needed purpose & achievement as well as being able to tick something off that never-ending 'to do' list.
If any of you are ill then quarantine should be set up in a isolated room and the patient should use a separate bathroom and towels if possible. Keep well people out of the room and wash hands for 20 seconds whenever you have been in it to prevent spreading the virus. Use a mask, apron and gloves if you have them and get the patient to 'catch it kill it bin it' with coughs and sneezes. Use separate crockery and cutlery, keep their fluids up and use paracetamol rather than ibuprofen based medicated to bring down the fever. Once they are well and after 7 days they can come out of quarantine and you will need to do a deep clean. Wash bed linen with laundry cleanser or at a high temperature and wipe sides down with a sanitising spray or wipes containing 60% alcohol.
Helping each other by supporting those in our communities will be how we get through this - together. Set up a Facebook or WhatsApp group for your street so people can check on elderly, vulnerable or isolated neighbours, leave provisions outside their door or just be there for a chat on the phone. Be grateful and thankful to those on the front line and doing the jobs that keep the country going, such as bin men and posties etc. Donate to homeless charities and food banks, as the most vulnerable people in our societies will be the ones most affected.
Having been through bereavement, I know this is the most important thing of all. Talk to each other and listen to your kids. Get them to write or draw about their worries. Keep the news away from them as much as you can and switch off yourself from it too when it gets too much. If someone you know gets ill or dies, be honest about it and try not to panic. There are professional services out there with free support too. Draw pictures or write letters and photograph and email or WhatsApp them to sick friends and relatives. Give yourself to time and space to grieve, even if you don't lose loved ones, as we will all be surrounded by death and be traumatised by it to some extent. It's normal to feel angry, sad and scared. Express those feelings in a safe way while also trying to remember good things. Be silly, listen to your favourite music and have a dance with your kids. Make the most of your time together as none of us know when it could be cut short.
I hope these help you all over the this difficult time. Please pass on any other ideas as I would love to hear them.
Stay well everyone.
#coronavirus #selfisolation #covid19
Window Games for Lockdown
Since seeing the shocking footage of plastic in our oceans in Blue Planet II, we have all become much aware of the problems of recycling. Consuming less stuff is always the better option over recycling more, but recycling well rather than increasing landfill also needs to be done until we have a more circular system.
With this in mind I did a little research and discovered lots of things that I hadn’t realised could be recycled. The Terracycle website has a whole lot of recycling options. Hopefully these will help you to cut down on your household waste too.
Always check on the packaging to see as it will often say if it can be recycled, for instance most poly bag type packaging like bread bags can be recycled at large supermarkets along with shopping bags.
There are of course lots of things that you can't recycle, but it might be worth mentioning some of these as some were a surprise to me: shiny paper receipts, toilet roll tubes, brightly dyed paper, napkins and paper towels, cotton wool, pizza boxes, shredded paper, post-it notes, tissues. However, items that are biodegradable on this list can be composted instead.
Let me know if you come across any other unusual or handy things that can be recycled so I can add them to the list.
#zerowaste #recycling #lowimpactliving
Happy New You!
Zero Waste Update
Discovery Knitting knit the jersey and loopback with certified organic yarn for our t-shirts and sweatshirts and are based in South Wigston, Leicestershire just over 20 miles from our office. They knit high quality knit fabrics for fashion designers in the UK and across the world including organic and merino wool.
They are a first generation family run business with mum, dad and daughter all working in the business. They have a proud heritage of manufacturing dedicated British knitted fabrics since 1986 and employ seven full-time staff. They supply to Garbstore, Margaux Lonnberg, Nigel Cabourn and Private White VC as well as some other very well-known designer names.
They use ribber, striper and French terry 3 thread machines and can produce 8,000 too 10,000 metres a week. Jacquard circular knitting machines are used for stripes, French terry and rib/interlocks and a range of Flatbed trim machines for Jacket and Polo shirt cuffing and collars. They have recently bought a Heritage British Blackburn 12 gauge Striper S/Jersey which is the original machine the England Rugby shirts were knitted on. Another new refurbished addition is a the only British built Camber heavy gauge French Terry Loopback machine outside of the USA to knit 550gsm soft handle, big loop sweat fabrics.
Discovery's ethos has always been, as much as commercially possible, to produce fabric sustainably with as low a carbon footprint as possible. They source the best organic GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)/natural yarns while also paying the living wage to their experienced, hard-working team of staff.
The Oeko tex pre dyed yarn is from a German yarn dyer who is the very best low impact dyer in Europe. All of Discovery's fabrics are scoured (washed) or dyed all within 10 miles of their Mill, so they have the lowest carbon footprint of any knitted fabric supplier in the UK. They also recycle 90% of all their waste produced and have an ongoing reduction energy program.
All UK dyers and finishers have had to be Azo free for over 15 years and are monitored by the British water companies every month. The UK have some of the best standards in Europe. Discovery's dyers and finishers are all using soft flow low water consumption jet dye machinery. Most of Europe has legislated to be Azo free and harmful chemical clear but Eastern Europe still has issues. China and the Far East are still far from transparent with harmful chemicals still being used.
As part of their energy reduction program Discovery plan to install Solar energy panels on the side of their warehouse. This power will charge their ongoing upgrade to a hybrid vehicle and power their finished fabric warehouse and offices with a view to being 90% fossil free within 5 years.
They are also upgrading all of their machine motor drives to invertors at a cost of £2000 each, which will reduce their energy consumption in the knitting mill by a further 30%. This is being funding this entirely themselves, which gives you an idea of their commitment to reducing the impact on the beautiful planet we are guest of.
We are very proud to be working them on our collection.
#meetthemaker #madeinbritain #ethicalfashion
Unfortunately since special occasions have become so commercialised they now have high environmental and social impacts. Life should definitely be celebrated, but the mass consumption we indulge in at these times cost us and our planet heavily. But it doesn’t need to be that way, we can rethink things that are much more special than the usual stuff in the shops…. Here are some ideas on how to avoid the excess waste and still enjoy this special day.
“A single red rose could have the same carbon emissions as four and a half kilos of bananas.”
Most cut flowers are grown abroad and so generate a lot of air miles as well as using excessive amounts of chemicals and water. Even those grown in the UK generally need energy guzzling, hot houses to grown in our mild climate. Seasonally, locally grown flowers are better, try Flowers from the Farm or ask at your local florists.
The excessive packaging and cellophane wrapping is also a problem with cut flowers, so do look out for those that use biodegradable versions. Arena Flowers are stated to be Britain’s most ethical while Appleyard Flowers are all British grown. Look out for Fairtrade or Florverde symbols or use the Ethical company index. Aldi, Asda, Co-op, M&S and Sainsburys all stock Fairtrade flowers. This guarantees decent working conditions and wages, women’s empowerment and community projects and investment.
Even better alternatives are to buy planted flowers instead from your local nursery, rather than a supermarket or big store or why not cut some from your own garden? You could buy some seeds or bulbs instead, along with a second-hand quirky container like a vintage mug or colander. Or best of all why not donate to the Woodland Trust, Trees For Life or the National Forest to plant a tree instead, helping to drawdown CO2 in the process.
Look out for ethical, organic, palm oil free or vegan brands that use recyclable & biodegradable packaging. Divine, Booja Booja, Seed & Bean, original beans, Eat your Hat from Traidcraft and Raw Halo are all recommended.
You could also buy handmade treats from a local chocolatier or deli and use a reusable container. You could even make your own, it is very easy and you can add in your favourite flavours from ginger to caramel. Silicone chocolate moulds are available from Lakeland or online if you want something fancy. But you could even use ice cube trays that you already have rather than buying more stuff.
Or do something different like bake some sweet goodies instead like heart shaped biscuits or some delicious gooey vegan chocolate cake.
If you have to buy a shop bought card then look out for recycled or seed paper cards and avoid glitter and cellophane wrappers If you have time then make a really special card yourself using recycled materials. . Try rifling through a junk or antique shop and you may find some lovely vintage cards or photographs you could use or remake. Other low impact options are sending an e-card with Paperless Post, Jib Jab or Open Me or why not write a love letter or poem instead?
Wining & Dining
There are more and more zero waste & vegan restaurants these days. Try using the Happy Cow app to find one near you. Avoid chains and use local family run restaurants that will appreciate your patronage much more. If not then look out for vegan options on the menu as these are a much greener and more ethical choice.
Better still cook a special romantic meal yourself. You don’t even need a cookbook as there are so many wonderful recipes online. Set the mood with some candles and music and enjoy the comfort (and peace and quiet) of your own home. Breakfast in bed for your loved one is the best valentine treat in my opinion, with freshly ground Fairtrade coffee, freshly squeezed OJ, homemade pancakes and lots of blueberries and maple syrup!
If you can’t resist getting a gift to show your love for your valentine then try to purchase thoughtfully. Buy something that is long lasting and good quality with strong ethical credentials. Please avoid plastic junk and foil balloons at all costs. With candles choose unscented natural ones from beeswax or soy, with lingerie choose ethical underwear like some listed here, with jewellery always purchase from a jeweller who is certified for sourcing precious metals and gemstones in an ecologically and responsible manner.
But why not do something nice for your loved one instead of consuming more stuff? Give them a back or foot massage, make a special meaningful playlist, run them a candlelit bath, offer to wash up for a week or take them to an art gallery. Creating a special memory or doing something you know they would really appreciate means so much more.
You could also donate to charity instead on your partners behalf. Try Oxfam, Unicef, Water Aid and Save the Children as they have some good donating options.
Do please spare a thought for those on their own on Valentine’s day. As a single, widowed mum myself I know how hard it can be to see other couples together on this love filled day as it is on many other special occasions. So, why not make a card or do something nice for a friend as well? I shall be buying myself a box of chocolates and remembering my wonderful late husband.
#greenvalentines #zerowaste #lowimpactliving
How to have a Green Easter
How to have a Green Halloween
How to have a Green Christmas
Zoe here from The Big Swap, I was glad to swap a few words as guest blogger in return for Ismay’s support at my zero waste event. My first encounter with Boy Wonder Brand was at a Nottingham board game café, when I interrupted a game on the neighbouring table to find out more about the cool fish and chip print sweater the young boy (Ismay’s son) was wearing. It wasn’t long after that, when I approached Ismay to say a few words about her ethical clothing range at The Big Toy Swap. An event designed to for help the average person take steps to becoming greener and recognising they have the power to make a difference.
I grew up in a ‘far left’ household as a happy child with 2 parents and brother, with all the things in place to appear a regular family. However, even as a young girl I had an inclination there was something unique about our home, but simply put it down to having creative parents, making a living through being artists. My family shared a car with two other families, often leaving no choice but to cycle everywhere. We minimised holidays and almost never did international trips, my first being a school exchange in my teens. Monthly dried food packages arrived to our house and were exchanged and shared accordingly. My parents never upgraded things for newer models simply because it was current or no longer complimented the interior of a room. Objects lasted and if they didn’t, they were fixed or repurposed. That was the 70’s and around the time of first environmental movements towards air pollution. It turns out my family was pretty green, led by conscious adults.
Like so many people today I have a boot in each camp, a desire to make changes for a better world, one less damaged by humanity and a passion to have lovely things and maintain a lifestyle I have worked hard for. More than anything, as a parent I want my behaviour and attitude to transcend the right message to my young family as the living earth faces crisis.
In 2018, UK consumers spent £370 million on toys and this is showing no signs of slowing down, which is bad news for the environment. A survey by the British Heart Foundation found that, on average, children in the UK have four toys they have never played with, in the same survey all parents admit to throwing broken or just unwanted toys away. A large number of toys are made from materials not accepted at recycling plants and it is estimated that 80% of plastic toys will end up in landfill.
The good news is that quality consumables like children’s toys and clothes are not designed for ‘single use’, however our children do grow out of things pretty fast. I have considered a number of ways in which a family can make changes and lower their environmental impact and an easy one is to pass pre-loved items on and get something in return. Most people I speak to are doing a good job at charity runs and hand-me-downs to younger siblings and friends, but we need to buy less to begin with and slow consumerism down. The fossil fuels used at manufacturing and shipment of toys and clothes is the initial villain and the biggest threat.
Swap culture is happening globally, only this week I read the glitterati have been encouraged to reuse dresses or swap for the BAFTA’s red carpet. The Big Swap events are designed for people wanting to make change, they are accessible and offer a pocket of sustainability closer to home.
Swapping not only keeps great items in circulation, giving them new life, they are a great way to save money. Swaps are the new guilt free way of shopping. With less waste and more money in your pocket it opens up more opportunity to make smarter investments in brands that are taking the eco stress out of purchasing. Choosing to buy less but from more ethical brands like the Boy Wonder brand, will ease your conscience and have a much more positive impact on the environment.
The Big Swap – reuse, rehome, relove. A little sustainability one swap at a time.
Happy New Year everyone!
This is Philippa again, guest blogging for Ismay while she has her Christmas break.
It’s that time of year to be thinking of New Year’s resolutions, what changes to make to your personal development or lifestyle or at least make some attempt to change something! I had a prompt recently from the Ethical Consumer asking what New Year’s resolutions I had in terms of saving people and the planet. I do have a few resolutions; one resolution is to phase out completely the use of plastic bags on a community allotment that I’m very involved with. Why use plastic bags? Well, we need something to carry home the vegetables that we’ve grown. Why not use cloth bags? Well, the vegetables certainly at this time of year tend to be caked in mud so we would need to wash the cloth bags every time we used them which given the volume of mud involved is not easily done! Why not wash the vegetables before taking them home? Well, the water on the allotments is currently switched off for winter and we probably won’t have water again until April. Why not use a box? Well, boxes that are easily washed tend to be plastic! And so, it goes on. I’m sure one day there will be a solution however it will probably take a while to get there. Clearly, we need to think about this problem a bit more.
If any of you need some inspiration in terms of wishing to make changes with your clothing habits, I wondered how many of you had heard of the Sustainable Clothing Goals? These goals are taken from two major reports, The Public Understanding of Sustainable Clothing (1) and Well Dressed? The Present and Future Sustainability of Clothing and Textiles in the United Kingdom. (2). I’ve put the goals from both reports together to make the following below. (The actual goals are in italics, I have then commented on them).
1. Buy Second-hand clothing where possible. Buying second-hand clothing prolongs the life of garments, giving them a new lease of life.
2. Buy fewer more durable garments. In contrast to fast fashion where cheap garments are often worn very little, then discarded, invest more in your wardrobe by buying fewer garments but ones that are of better quality so that the garments last for much longer.
3. Hire clothing that would otherwise not be worn to the end of their natural life. Many items of clothing, particularly occasion wear is bought for one event and often not used again. Perhaps think more about hiring an item rather than buying particularly for special occasions.
4. Wash clothes at lower temperature and using eco-detergents, hang-dry them and avoid ironing where possible. These three goals are all about saving energy as the care of clothing does take a phenomenal amount of energy during their lifetime. Washing at 30 degrees is also good for garments as it helps to retain the original colour for longer.
5. Buy clothing that is sustainable. “Sustainable clothing” is quite a large category which covers both the ethical treatment of clothing workers and clothes made from more environmentally-friendly materials such as organic natural fibres and recycled materials.
6. Repair or adapt clothing to prolong its life, and return/recycle it at the end of its life /when you no longer want it. Obviously the longer the clothes are kept the better, so looking after clothing and repairing when necessary can keep a garment in use. Adapting garments such as changing a pair of favourite jeans into a pair of shorts also prolong a garment’s life. When finished with a garment, there are different ways to recycle such as donating to a charity shop or selling a garment or passing on a garment to someone else. Repurposing can be a good idea too. I once heard of someone who took pairs of jeans that people no longer wanted and turned them into handbags.
I hope that this list gives you some inspiration for the coming year, the goals may look relatively straight forward but I know from research (and experience!) that life tends to be more complex. Just as my allotment example demonstrated a simple aim in practice turns out not to be so simple after all.
Whatever your new year resolutions are, I wish you the best of luck. If you have any thoughts about the sustainable clothing goals, I would be very interested and happy to hear them.
(1) Fisher, T. Cooper, T. Woodward, S. Hiller, A. Goworek, H. (2008) Public Understanding of Sustainable Clothing: A report to the Department for Environment, London, Food and Rural Affairs, Defra.
(2) Allwood et al, (2006) Well Dressed? The Present and Future Sustainability of clothing and textiles in the United Kingdom, Cambridge, University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing
I’m a guest blogger today whilst Ismay enjoys a well-deserved Christmas break! My name is Philippa Crommentuijn-Marsh and I’m a researcher in the field of sustainable fashion. What interests me particularly are consumers and what they think about sustainability and whether their knowledge positively affects their clothing behaviour (or not!).
I did some research into this area a couple of years ago and discovered that generally there was low awareness about some of the major issues affecting the fashion industry. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, the issue that people had most knowledge about was the exploitation of clothing workers in terms of low pay and bad working conditions. These are issues that have probably appeared the most in the media.
The least known issue was the diminishing Aral Sea. Have a look on Google Images and see how this inland sea has dramatically shrunk over the years, by over 80%, mainly due to water being diverted to irrigate the cotton crop. It’s a startling image and is a good demonstration of what environmental devastation the fashion industry can cause. Yet it seemed to be little known then. Given that this inland sea is in Uzbekistan I strongly suspect that a lot of people (including me) wouldn’t be able to find Uzbekistan easily on a map!
When events are happening far away in a country most people aren’t familiar with it is harder to find out what is happening. For the people taking part in the research when they heard more about the ethical and environmental costs of the fashion industry, there were some positive indications of potential behaviour change. Fast forward to today and since I completed my research there is noticeably much more information coming from the media about the fashion industry and sustainability.
Just last year I was pleased to see the Aral Sea being featured on the BBC programme Stacey Dooley Investigates Fashion’s Dirty Secrets (unfortunately the episode doesn’t seem to be available on the BBC anymore though you can watch a short clip showing the Aral Sea in its current state).(1) There have been more TV programmes highlighting the exploitation of garment workers throughout the world and almost every week there seems to be an article in the media about some aspect of sustainability.
Recently I noticed two sustainable issues affecting the current party season. Firstly, sequins, which were highlighted recently as being bad for the environment. They are mostly made out of plastic which don’t biodegrade for hundreds of years as well as containing microplastics which can harm aquatic life. Though there has been some encouraging progress towards producing more sustainable sequins this will take time. (2) Sequinned clothing is popular at this time of year for party outfits and according to a recent survey the average person will spend £73.90 on a Christmas outfit that for some people won’t be worn again. Within this season alone this adds up to £2.4 billion pounds on clothes that are hardly worn. (3) This may partially explain the overall UK spend in 2018 on clothing being a whopping £60.4 billion pounds. (Statista.com)
Apparently the spend on clothing is on an upward trajectory meaning that fast fashion is still hugely popular, and consumers don’t seem to be changing their behaviour despite the plethora of information about sustainability. If you are interested in dressing more sustainably, the charity Hubbub behind this research gives tips on how to dress for the party season (4) and the BBC have also recently produced an article on companies that offer clothing for hire which seems to be a growing area and becoming more popular (5). Will all this information and new fashion services change consumer behaviour? I look forward to finding out more!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our followers and supporters.
The campaign ended today 102% funded with a final total of £4,837 from 75 backers
Big thank you to everyone for all your pledges and support.
If anyone missed out on pre-ordering and still wants to, you can contact me as we are keeping the pre-order list open until the 6th January.
This is your last post from me from for while apart from a special one tomorrow.
Am now going to have a well earned break over the Christmas holidays and I can relax knowing that our little business is starting to grow ❤️
To those of you that backed us I will be in contact with you in the New Year with project updates.
Also, please sign up to our mailing list by clicking the button below to make sure you don't miss any of our exciting news.
#crowdfunding #kickstarter #brandlaunch
We are so close the end of the crowdfund campaign now AND WE HAVE JUST HIT OUR TARGET!!
So to celebrate we are increasing our discount to up to 30% off!!!
This is your LAST CHANCE to support us and get some amazing Boy Wonder product that are fun, unique and ethical. You can still donate as we need every penny to help our little business grow.
If have already pledged/backed us there are new designs on the site in case you want to change them. You can also increase your pledge if you want to add anything else. Otherwise again please spread the word as widely as possible.
It’s been so amazing to see you all chip during the campaign so thank you again. I have been really touched to have you all support me (and put up with my incessant pestering!) We couldn’t have done it without you.
#crowdfund #brandlaunch #kickstarter
If you are backing us on Kickstarter or thinking about doing so you will be helping us to go into production and grow our little business. With just 48 HOURS LEFT OF THE CAMPAIGN I thought some reasons why supporting us is such a good idea might help you decide to pledge;
1. Ethically Made
All our garments are made in Britain and the cloth is also made by an ethical manufacturer too. So we can you give you peace of mind that our clothes are made for kids not by kids.
2. Stereo-type Free
You won't find any of the usual cars and dinosaurs in our prints like most boys fashion. We don't use boring 'boy' colours like grey, navy and brown either.
3. Organic Cotton
We only use certified organic cotton in our garments which is kind to your child's skin and the planet. Organic cotton is not only chemical free but also has a lower carbon footprint.
4. Circular Design Principles
We design clothes to last with extra growth room, high quality construction and special design features. Meaning less shopping and expense for you. We also sell garment care products and provide care guides upon purchase.
5. Hand-drawn Prints
All our prints are bespoke and hand-drawn by me. You won't find them anywhere else. We think boys should have as much fun with fashion as girls do!
6. Sustainable Practices
We use sustainable practices like digital printing to be as low impact as possible. We are a green business using renewable energy and an electric vehicle. We consider our environmental impact in every area of the business.
7. Made in Britain
Our garments and fabrics are made just over 20 miles from our office making it a truly local project. This keeps our fashion miles down as well as supporting local communities.
8. Premium Quality
Our fabrics and garments are all made to a high quality. Receiving a Boy Wonder product is a special thing and will arrive carefully wrapped in tissue paper in a special box.
9. Plastic Free
All our products and packaging, as well as our office supplies, promo materials and swing tags are all plastic free and made with recycled bio-degradable materials.
All our garments are machine washable at 30 degrees making life easier for you. Ribbed cuffs and necklines are in contrast fabric to reduce your washing and iron-on patches can cover any stains.
Well, I hope that's convinced you that we are worth supporting.
You can go to the crowdfund campaign page via the button below.
#crowdfund #fashionlaunch #startupbusiness
Since our ethical fashion range went live on Kickstarter we have had many visitors to the site. However, most of them are not converting to backers which suggests they are not the right customer and not willing to pay the premium prices that ethical fashion costs. So, why is ethical fashion more expensive than the high street and the supermarkets?
Most large retailers manufacture in countries where the wages are extremely low so as to maximise on their own profits. One of the biggest garment manufacturing countries at the moment is Bangladesh, where most garment workers receive just 3,000 taka a month (approximately £25) but a living wage is calculated to be 4000 taka a month (£45). Ethical brands use manufacturers that pay their staff a real living wage, as well as paying living wages themselves. Manufacturing in the UK that means paying £9.30 an hour or £10.75 in London.
Economies of Scale
Large high street retailers and supermarkets will order vast amounts of each style which means they can buy them as much lower unit costs. They will be buying 1000's of metres of fabric at a lower cost too. Ethical brands are much smaller and so would have much smaller orders meaning their making and fabric costs will be much higher. For example a t-shirt can cost a high street retailer as low as £3 to make, pack & ship based on an order of over 4000 pieces. (That's before they put their retail mark-up on it) It costs me as a start-up nearly £18 because I can only aim to reach 50 pieces.
Large companies have enormous power which they use to help drive down prices. Factories owners often have the threat or worry of losing orders unless they can bring their units costs down to the point where they make very little money themselves. This is why the garment workers are paid so little and work in appalling conditions. There are so many factories and other poor countries vying for business that a retailer can easily go elsewhere to find a better deal.
Most budget fashion is cheap because it's made with synthetic fabrics. The price of organic cotton is substantially higher than these and conventional cotton because the extra money is used to grow cotton more sustainably, to cover certification checks and provide better lives for the workers. Big brands will often dye or print vast amounts of fabrics different colours or prints to use in different ways too, so reducing their costs further.
Big retailers have huge customer bases and massive marketing budgets, whereas ethical fashion is still a relatively niche market. Until there is more demand for ethical fashion, in a similar way to the organic food movement, the prices will stay high. Investors are less likely to invest in ethical companies unless they can see evidence of customer demand, so companies wanting to do the right things struggle to grow on their own.
Because large fashion retailers are able to buy their products at such low cost prices they are able to add on high mark-ups. Fashion items are normally marked up at 2 or 3 times the wholesale price. Remember that t-shirt that cost under £3 to make? With a retail mark-up the retail price would still be only £9. These large mark-ups also give big brands the ability to discount heavily when they need to shift stock. Ethical brands have higher making costs as seen above so can't add so much of a mark-up and are therefore limited to how deeply they can discount. This affects again how many customers they can attract.
So, does this make you think more about the value rather than the high costs of ethical fashion?
Hopefully it helps you to understand how difficult it is for ethical brands to survive especially in today's world of fast fashion.
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