As a small business with sustainability at its core, every decision we make has an amplified impact. 2019 has been the year where we have left our comfort zone and made rather bold decisions; not without a little fear, but also with excitement and enthusiasm.
As we recharge and refresh to embrace the new decade with all that it will bring, our founder Katherine Maunder, looks back to the 365 days that have defined Thread Tales’ 2019.
What have you learnt this year?
That an ethical ethos is not the simplest path but it is rewarding in multiple ways. And that sustainability in business is a work in progress; there is much to improve upon and this can only be achieved with patience, collaboration and regular revision of your practices - there is always room for progress.
What has been a particular focus of this year?
Our social impact. We know that behind every pair of hands in our hand-made product range, there is a person whose dreams, ambitions, ideas and feelings matter. This year we felt the desire to further strengthen and deepen this relationship.
All of our suppliers are part of small communities of local artisans, very often comprised of women. While the mechanisation of production typical of fast fashion leaves many without jobs, we are proud to help preserve traditional skills and offer dignified work with good living wages and flexible working arrangements to our Artisans, many of which have families. We could only do so by travelling and establishing a deeply personal relationship with them.
And when you take care of your people you also necessarily take care of the environment and vice versa. For example, preserving traditional skills means creating skilled jobs but also using production techniques that do not rely on electricity thus reducing our carbon footprint; while eco-dyes are not only less toxic for the planet but also for those who work in contact with them.
We also take pride in our multi-cultural approach, working with models, photographers, videographers, embroiders, weavers and partners of different cultural backgrounds, including Nepalese, Iranian, Vietnamese, Burmese and Italian, as well as age and shape.
Talk us through your brand highlights for 2019:
- Our products have been in the Conduit, Harvey Nichols, at Soho Farmhouse and Beaverbrook Private Members Club. This year we have also landed in Italy with the iconic 10 Corso Como created by Carla Sozzani in Milan, a global fashion capital, as well as Donne Concept Store in Cagliari. We’ve even gone as far as Buthan, at the prestigious sustainable resort Six Senses Hotel.
- We have been endorsed by the Times, Telegraph, Financial Times, Vanity Fair and Forbes.
- Sustainably-minded media personalities and stylists such as Lily Cole and Jasmine Hemsley have Thread Tales pieces!
- We have been growing and are on track to triple our revenue in the our 2nd year of sales. The growth of our business means we are able to contribute towards maintaining the traditional skills and supporting over 30 artisans in sustainable employment.
- We believe that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure...Which is why we have developed our zero-waste policy. We take pride in using the off-cuts of yarn to create other products, such as our key rings, note-pads and headbands. Although many of our yarns, including Lotus, Linen and Seacell already have a zero-waste production cycle!
- We have started work on developing our relationships with like-minded charities. This year we have worked with Room to Read, (our Cashmere neon tipped-wrap raised £750 at auction!) and Helping the Burmese Delta - the charity that our intrepid midwife mum works for.
- We are currently and successfully crowdfunding on Seedrs, a prestigious equity crowdfunding platform which invests in start-ups throughout Europe. We are at 75% - please do consider joining us! click on this link
- We have started an exciting collaboration with the London College of Fashion at the University of the Arts London, one of the top Fashion institutes in the world in 2019 and beacon of sustainability on the international academic and fashion scene. A talented team of Students across marketing and design will be working on a collaborative unit with us to utilise the waste product from our production, as part of our ongoing commitment to eliminate as much waste as possible from our production cycle.
What does 2020 look like for you?
We are excited and already working on some new projects.
- Incorporating more circular design principles into our products.
- Exploring innovative new yarns made from food production waste.
- Expanding our bespoke made to order service. We are Exploring 3-D Technology to design virtually and produce to demand
One final word?
Thank You! Thank you to all those who believed and keep on believing in Thread Tales; to those that make our products; those who buy it; those who talk about it. Thank you to all our team, and to our extended Thread Tales family, and thank you for reading and celebrating with us this year full of learning, challenges and successes. We are looking forward to a year of new opportunities and we hope you will be with us to chase them!