The Market Begins
As the Edinburgh Christmas Market opens and goes into full swing, I’ve found the kind of work that I have been doing to be incredibly different than the behind the scenes work that I did in Ireland. This kind of experience has been very eye-opening in regards to the versatility that is required of a small business owner.
Speaking with customers has been a rewarding experience as someone that is learning about the business of sustainable fashion and has given me the chance to put all the theorizing I have done in the past month to practice. Overall, I’ve been very surprised by the reception of that aspect of the company. We’ve had people browse at our stall, leave, and then come back and state that we are the only vendors selling goods that don’t appear to be mass produced or factory made. The awareness of people towards that element of shopping has actually given me a lot of hope towards the consciousness of the consumer and opens up a conversation with them about textile sourcing and labour practices. I found that as soon as the customer had the opportunity to actually speak to the owner and designer themselves, they tended to be more keen on making a purchase.
However, the people that didn’t seem to care at all about the sustainability of Celtic Fusion were immediately turned away when told the pricing of the items. An alarming situation, as the prices of the designs we are selling are quite less than outrageous given the lasting quality of the item. This is something that I believe is a result of the fast or ‘disposable fashion’ phenomenon that is taking over the style world. Over the past month I have been paying closer attention to the pricing of department stores and large companies like H&M, and the low prices are nothing short of shocking. In a world were people can buy a winter jacket for just $20, small designers like Regina need to really have a solid narrative and positive ethical position in order to keep people from forgetting about them all together.
While I continue to work the stall for the next week and a half before returning back to the USA, I will be keeping an eye on the items that sell quickly, and what aspects seem to be selling them. Upon wrapping up with Celtic Fusion, I’ll write a final blog post on my conclusions about best practices for a ethical business and how to sell those ideas to the public that both satisfies and educates the customer.