With fast fashion brands constantly competing on price, marking down their products for quick sales and continuing somewhat unsustainable practices to keep their costs down and bottom line up, I’d like to address the idea of price and how I feel about the True Cost of fashion.
Money is always an awkward topic; we are used to big brands posting massive profits and that connotation for the average consumer is fairly negative - “I buy something and all this money goes into a pot somewhere, there is no real benefit for me”.
When I first thought up the idea of Velma & Beverley I had a plan to have coats made offshore to keep the cost down and compete with bigger brands by selling online and creating a better product.
But I soon realised it clashed so heavily with my values that I wouldn’t feel good about it, and therefore my dream of providing a long lasting product made from one of our most special fibres - wool - wouldn’t actually come to be.
So, our coats simply have to be more costly... and here’s why;
We have gone to great lengths to source New Zealand grown, spun, and woven wool fabric. Basically this means, unlike almost all wool fabric (or product) you’d buy in a shop, our wool has never left New Zealand and at every stage of it’s processing has benefited a New Zealand Business. This was extremely hard to do, and Inter-weave in Auckland are now the only New Zealand weavers left, we are so lucky to have a partnership with them. 99% of wool fabric purchased wholesale even here in New Zealand, might be wool from our shores but has been shipped to China for processing and mixed with other, potentially inferior wools from around the world. Our fabric is also 100% wool, and not blended with any synthetic fibre like most winter coats you see in chain stores. This brings all the beautiful wool properties into play and allows our coats to be the only ones of their kind sold in New Zealand.
Quality is of huge concern to us. We have worked hard to find and create beautiful designs and make samples to test them, and along with our wool fabric, our cotton linings, buttons, toggles, and overall process for creating and sewing our coats is of the highest quality we have access to. This means that your investment in a wool coat made from quality materials will last you for many years to come.
We are all New Zealand designed and made. Along with Claire, our founder and chief creator, Ruth our pattern maker and sewer is from the Waikato and we make all our coats right here in Putaruru, the heart of New Zealand. We also pay more than the living wage to get the best people to help us create the best products and give you the best service possible. This is hugely important to us and it does increase our costs to more than double of what we’d pay if our coats were designed and manufactured offshore.
We use New Zealand businesses as much as possible in our supply chain. Our labels, packaging, fabrics, buttons, threads, and info cards are all created by small New Zealand businesses, and this is slightly more expensive than using larger offshore companies with large minimum orders. But we believe in our country and supporting local, just like you do, and this means we have to allow for this cost in our pricing.
Most of all, we are passionate about sustainably running our business. We streamline our costs as much as we can, but for us to be able to continue our dream to make the most beautiful, sustainable, handmade woolen coats in the world, and for all women to have access to buying them, we have to make a profit so we can continue perpetuating our story and showing the world how incredible our brands are here in New Zealand.
We truly understand that not everyone can “afford” to purchase higher cost products. But we make it as accessible as possible and remove as many barriers as we can. We WILL work with you to help you own your own beautiful Velma & Beverley coat, please just get in touch with us and we’ll make it happen together.
Buy your own coat today - our pre-sales are open from Saturday August 3rd - read all about them here!