We use organic cotton in our collection which is more expensive. So what is organic cotton and why should you buy it?
No Toxic Chemicals!
Conventional cotton is grown and treated with many cancer causing chemicals including frightening ones like cyanide[i], formaldehyde and sulfuric acid[ii]. Organic crops do not pollute natural water courses, thereby helping to protect aquatic and wildlife, promoting biodiversity and precious ecosystems. Chemical free crops also mean that local communities have clean drinking water without toxic run-off poisoning them. Conventional cotton growers have high rates of cancer and death by suicide which has decimated large communities.
"A single drop of the pesticide aldicarb, absorbed through the skin can kill an adult."[iii]
Safe for Children
Clothing by its very nature is in close contact with the skin which allows for easy absorption of harmful chemicals. Young children are at a greater risk of exposure to these chemicals due to their size, behaviour and metabolism[iv] Exposure to these have been have been linked to a whole range of medical conditions from eczema and asthma to ADHD[v]
Lower Environmental Impact
Organic soil is very healthy and fertile helping to store carbon while also acting like a sponge soaking up flood water, in both ways directly helping to combat climate change. Most organic cotton is rain-fed reducing the strain on water supplies especially in countries with high drought levels. It uses 88% less water and has 62% less energy use. Organic cotton also lasts longer[vi] than the standard meaning it can be kept in use for longer.
Organic cotton farming is subject to higher ethical standards than conventional cotton. They have to follow very strict guidelines which are regularly checked and scrutinized[vii]. Standard cotton growing is rife with child and forced labour in places such as Uzbekistan[viii]. As they don't grow organic cotton it is less likely such practices are used in organic growing areas. As the workers and farmers are not exposed to the nasty chemicals used in standard cotton growing they have better health and wellbeing where others suffer from acute pesticide poising often requiring hospitalisation.
Organic cotton is grown alongside food crops allowing farmers greater food security for themselves and their families and can provide extra income. Conventional cotton is grown as a mono-crop where nothing else can be grown with it and any nearby food sources are contaminated with high levels of toxic pesticides and fertilizers.
Genetically modified seeds are owned by large corporations who farmers have to buy seeds from every year[ix]. As organic cotton never uses GM seeds farmers can save the seeds for the following year without extra cost or getting into debt. They can control the quality and type of seed they want to grow giving them better yields.
How do I know if it's organic?
Certified organic cotton should have a GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), OCS (Organic Content Standard) or Soil Association logos either on the garment labelling, on the retailers website or they will have a copy of the certification if you ask them.
I hope this helps you to make an informed decision about buying organic clothing.
Water, the latest fashion Victim
Tale of a T-shirt
Wake up to Child Labour
#organiccotton #sustainablefashion #nontoxic
If you have been following the blog and Boy Wonder for a while you will know that we first launched our collection on Kickstarter back in June. Sadly, the crowd fund campaign was a big failure and it's taken a while to get back to the point of being able to relaunch again.
One of the big reasons I have really struggled to keep going was that I had been offered help by various industry experts, which for some reason evaporated. I totally understand how busy people are and so maybe it just wasn't practical for them, but it left me feeling very lost. It can be really difficult making decisions when you are running a business single-handedly, but as a widow I also have no life partner to help me either so it's doubly hard. I do have amazing friends and family who do what they can and have had some wonderful help and advice from various contacts, but the expert industry support would have been invaluable.
One of the hardest things to decide on is how high to set the funding goal. As Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing crowdfund site I have to set the target high enough to cover my anticipated costs but low enough to be realistically met. I have also decided to cut back what I am offering to just the jerseys which should help with reaching a minimum of 50 units per style. Any lower than this could make the project unrealistic unless I invest in the rest as stock which is very risky.
Anyway, after everything I have faced in my life I knew I couldn't just give up and had to give the collection one last shot. I have since been doing substantial research and analysis to try and work what went wrong (aside from the high prices) and what to do differently. So this time round I will have discounts and special offers to help stimulate pledges and will be featuring more about our amazing makers, press features and follower feedback during the campaign.
I have put an enormous amount of time and energy into promoting the collection and campaign across social media and mass media this time. Having contacted hundreds of contacts, journalists and bloggers, I have at least doubled my previous reach, but only had about a dozen people who are happy to feature us without charging me. So your help as my dedicated readers will be essential. You can help spread the word by telling your friends, sharing and commenting on our posts and signing up to our mailing list here.
Another time-consuming and costly element I have been dealing with has been switching to a new printer. On recommendation the new one will be far more reliable but it has meant having a third lot of fabric test prints done. Hopefully these will work out ok, as they haven't used the fabrics I wanted before.
Having invested so much of my own money in the business already this is really my last opportunity to have a successful launch and possibly to continue with the business. at all I don't have to resources to do it again, so if it fails again I will have to make some hard decisions and reconsider what I am doing.
On top of the all the cost and hard work of the last few months my old car died and needed replacing (we have a secon-hand electric one now!). We have also had various bouts of illness between me and my son and his school was flooded out and had to be closed. Then factor in the usual juggle of motherhood with working whilst being on my own, which sometimes seems an impossible thing to balance. My late husband's birthday has just passed too adding another layer of emotion to deal with. So we could really do with some good luck and for all my efforts to finally pay off!
On a good note, I have had lots of lovely responses to the Boy Wonder designs. Our subscribers list has increased by 116% since the last launch and our social media following is slowly growing. We had a double page feature in Future Textiles magazine here and been named in Drapers as ‘Childrenswear brand to watch’ and one of the ‘Alternative Occasionwear: The Brands to Know’ - high praise indeed! So, maybe things are moving in the right direction.
Thanks for sticking with us and I hope you will join us for the launch on Friday 6th December.
#brandrelaunch #startupbrand #businessstruggles
What Now for Boy Wonder
What do you Need?
Fashion resale has become a big thing over the last year or so and is a good sustainable option. In fact the second -hand clothing market is predicted to grow faster than new sales. I have been buying second-hand clothes and selling my old things for a while now, so thought I could pass on some tips to you.
There are so many platforms online where you can sell your clothes now. Depop is a great app you can have on your phone to buy and sell and is my favourite. eBay is an old trusted platform, Vestaire Collective is for designer goods and there is also Facebook Marketplace, Vinted, ThredUP and Poshmark, to name but a few. Choose the platform where the person who is most likely to buy your clothes from will be looking. If you're not sure, then where would you be most likely to buy from? For example Depop has a younger audience than eBay and Facebook and Vestaire Collective is for the wealthier customers. There are also some brands like John Lewis, Levi's and Patagonia that now take back their clothes giving you a discount or payment and they will resell them. This is something we have in mind for Boy Wonder in the future.
First of all make sure that the garments are clean and ironed. Nobody is going to want to buy a crumpled old thing from the bottom of your laundry basket. It's probably worth even fixing any repairs too. It is also much nicer for the buyer when they receive it when it's nice and clean and ready to wear. You will get better feedback too which is important to build trust if want to sell anything again.
The key thing if you are selling online are the photos. There is nothing more off putting than a terrible photo. Most mobile phones these days have really good cameras, so there is no need to worry about expensive kit. You will need somewhere that has good, preferably natural light, but not so bright that it throws strong shadows. You may be able to brighten them up a little on your phone afterwards if necessary and crop out anything you don't want on the image. It always look better to show garments being worn as they look very different on the hanger. Most people don't have a great imagination and if they can't imagine how good it could look on them then they won't wear it! Try also to have a plain background behind the wearer, that won't distract too much from what you are trying to show. Photograph key details too, especially any branding if it's premium or designer to show authenticity. Be honest about any imperfections and show them too, as you don't want unhappy buyers. The more photos you have to show the garment off the better.
Pricing is a tricky one and will depend on the platform you are selling on. eBay is an auction site, so maybe start at the very least you are willing to accept and you can always relist with a lower price if it doesn't sell. Depop is not an auction site, so it's worth doing a bit of research to see what prices other people are selling similar things at. Consider how much you would be willing to pay for something similar if you were a buyer. Items that are brand new, have never been worn and still have the price tags on you can obviously charge more for, but you will not get the retail price back. It's important to check as well how much a platform will charge you for selling with them as they vary from a 10-25% commission.
Describe the item well and make sure you include all the key information honestly. Most sites will require you state size, colour and brand at the very least, but an indicator of quality is also really helpful. Other useful things to mention maybe the fabric, washing information or even for strange sizes some dimensions too.
I have sometimes also included images for how to style the garment or links to fashion bloggers reviews. Buyers love to see if something is a bloggers favourite so include it in the headline too.
When it comes to adding on postage and packaging be honest and only cover your costs. High postage is off putting and most people would rather wait longer than pay more. You can weigh your item on home scales along with the mailing bag and then check out the royal mail's website to find out how much you are likely to pay. If you are sending multiple or heavy items it might be worth comparing costs with a courier company instead. Try to be quick in dispatching the goods after someone has paid and let them know it has been sent. It's always safer to send something with a signature on delivery and with enough insurance to cover it as there are rogue buyers out there who will say they haven't received it. Send the tracking number to the buyer too and an estimated date of delivery.
Answer any questions that prospective buyers may have quickly and clearly otherwise they will go elsewhere. If there are any problems with the sale or afterwards deal with them as soon as possible and in a polite manner. Problems can happen to anyone and if its at your end being honest and upfront with an apology will go a long way. Remember to rate your buyer afterwards and give feedback and ask them to do the same. That way you can build your reputation as a seller and hopefully have customers returning to you.
This is stating the obvious, but don't try to sell winter coats in the summer and vice versa. But, also consider scheduling the item to start when people are most likely to be on the internet browsing for stuff. I often start eBay items on a Sunday afternoon as people often are free then. With auctions you also have to consider ending them at a time when people will be able to bid. No one wants to get up in the middle of the night to bid on some old jumper! Another thing to consider with timing is what time of the month you are trying to sell in. Near the end of the month a lot of people won't have much disposable income to spare, but after payday they are more likely to part with their cash.
Realising the potential of your unwanted clothes can be quite lucrative but also they are then going to live a second life with someone else which is better for the planet. Hopefully these tips will help you od just that.
#resalefashion #secondhandfashion #consignmentfashion
So lovely readers I need your help...
I need you to tell me what YOU need.
Over the last three years of blogging I have had over 40,000 unique visitors to this site from all over the world. It takes up a lot of my work time writing the blogs and getting them out into the world. But, there seems to be a problem. When my crowdfund launched in June I had little to no visitors from this site and when I recently did a survey to find out why it hadn't worked I discovered that most blog readers didn't even know the crowdfund campaign was happening.
Now, the big news is that we are re-launching a paired-down collection on Kickstarter on
Friday 6th December at 11AM GMT
and I want you all to know about it and visit the crowdfunder, so you can get your hands on some lovely Boy Wonder stuff. The best way to do that is to get you to sign up to the mailing list. In fact, my subscribers were the only ones in the survey who all knew about the campaign. Sadly, considering the amount of visitors I get here not many of you actually sign up.
So what can I do to change that? What is it that will encourage you to join us as a subscriber?
Firstly let me tell you what you get from signing up. The current enticement is access to a 10% early bird discount on the launch. You will also recieve a monthly newsletter (sometimes bi-monthly, but I am doing my best!) which has the highlights from the blog over that month. There is also a news section that keeps you updated on what's happening behind the scenes, exclusive content and also details on giveaways, prize -draws and other exciting stuff. Sometimes I will also email you to tell you about important events such as the launch so you don't miss out. The best thing is that it is all delivered to your inbox absolutey free!
But maybe this is not quite what you want? Maybe there is something better I can offer you?
So, I have been doing some research and wracking my brains and I have a few options to offer you. These would be free downloadable content for you to access on signing up:
In the meantime I am going to busy rejigging the blogsite a bit to prepare it for the launch and make signing up more obvious. So please bear with me if you encounter any problems.
Thanks for reading and hopefully your feedback too
#subscribersignup #mailinglist #freebies
I penned this brief piece to mark Extinction Rebellion's first birthday on the 1st November which was read out at my XR group's celebrations. It is further insight into the October Rebellion and why I am involved. I hope you like it x
I first grew rebellious in my youth, but matured into sensible behaviour in my thirties. Now, I am rebelling again and I have to say I have rather a taste for disobedience! There is an illicit, childish thrill to sticking your fingers in your ears and humming, whilst an officer of the law is issuing you with a section 14! And a swelling of pride in seeing the boys in blue being diverted by chasing after a decoy structure, so we could get more packed into our little love rebellion village.
My activist parents have led by example, both having been arrested in their past for direct action. So, a family tradition had perhaps begun, as I sat in the Rose blockade with my mum by my side. A passing down of values and protest, which I hope to instil in my son too as it’s his future I am fighting for.
But fighting for action shouldn’t be so much fun though surely? Although tempered with discomfort from the cold, rain and restricted space at times, it was also a bit of a wheeze. The first night on the Poppy blockade the air was filled with the sound of our harmonious rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody led by a young Freddie Mercury lookalike (moustache and all), I am sure Boris (Johnson) appreciated our singing talents as he tried to get to sleep!
I made the decision to be arrestable some weeks before London and wrote a pre-prepared statement that could not be read without tears streaming down my face. Although I was ready and in the right headspace the day it looked possible, I was still very apprehensive. My stomach churned as my flight response kicked in. I knew I could back out at any time, but the camaraderie and energy of the day kept me true. I told myself that I have faced far worse in my life than a few hours in a police cell and it’s certainly not as frightening as what is coming.
We sat on the Rose blockade for many hours, our spirits kept high with the help of the samba band, rounds of singing, Rebel Roos and copious amounts of snacks generously handed out. Please note, I will be happy if I never see another flapjack again! The incredible ingenuity of the Da Vinci bridge matched by the amazing temerity of the young woman atop kept the buzzies busy for some time. I was asked if I had anything to say, and being very smart I had written SAVE EARTH on my hands, which I held aloft for all to see. Embarrassingly, as my hands were turned the other way they actually stated EARTH SAVE sounding more like an ethical bank account than a plea to the authorities!
Finally arrests began to happen in earnest and it looked like our waiting was over. With lock-ons and glue-ons around us the adrenaline was coursing… only for the police to walk away! Their cells and vans full and rebels being de-arrested. Although I was disappointed, I like to think I made their job a bit more difficult and what’s more important I stood my ground for what I believe in. I do feel that I should have stayed as the later threat of forceful removal did move me away. But, I now know I can put myself in that space when the time comes again.
When people ask me what the rebellion was like, the first word that comes to mind is intense. The mixture of emotions coupled with a high dose of adrenaline is a heady cocktail (with a similar hangover afterwards) and difficult to express to the uninitiated. Expectations after my April rebellion experience were high, but I was not disappointed. The incredible sense of community, love, power, purpose and hope embraced me in an almost spiritual way. So much so that when I am now asked if I am part of Extinction Rebellion, I defiantly said “yes, I am!”
I once read that activism is like ripples in water, every action spreads out even when it feels like it hasn’t achieved much. We will be mostly unaware of how much our efforts have affected other people and drawn them into the fight. I had a friend down to visit us on our blockade, who until I met her would have only been a petition filler and an MP writer, but my bad influence has led her astray. But better than that she is singing the praise of activists like us in the very conservative town where I live, where she holds far more sway then I have.
Finding XR has been like finding my tribe. After losing my husband, I lost a lot of friends and have been very isolated. Becoming aware of the true extent of climate crisis was doubly isolating. But now I am finally surrounded by people who are willing to do pretty much anything about it and are pretty amazing too. So, I feel honoured to stand beside you all and call you my friends.
#tellthetruth #actnow #rebelforlife
Rebel for Life
Why I am Rebelling
5 Ways to Save the Planet pt2
Responding to Criticism of the Rebellion
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