In our blog post last month, we asked you a couple of questions that we have been wrestling with internally regarding transparency and costs.
The two biggest challenges are firstly the financial cost of creating 100% visibility into the whole supply chain, and secondly, finding suppliers that can provide that desired level of visibility while still being able to produce products at an acceptable price point.
Visible's goal has always been, and will continue to be, seeking to bring about a world where everyone in the clothing sector is treated fairly, yet we know that there different ways to build a business so we asked you for your thoughts.
How visible do you want us to be and what is the price point that you are prepared to pay?
Opinions were divided right down the middle as to whether we should be selling any products unless we could guarantee that everyone is being treated fairly. One of the biggest reasons for the slow growth of Visible has been the lack of opportunities (due in part to the relatively small quantities that we are ordering) to find organisations that can we afford to work with that give us the guarantees that people through the whole supply chain are being treated fairly.
However, your comments in the survey, and seeing first hand the appetite amongst consumers to see a more fair clothing sector, has motivated us to remain fully focused on our goal.
There has to be a revolution if our vision of a clothing sector where everyone is treated fairly is to become a reality and we need develop our business model so we can do that at an affordable price.
Whole Supply Chain
From day one of Visible we have been about the 'DNA of fairness' in any given company, and less fussed about ticking boxes. However the complex journey of fabric and the multitude of hands it passes through means certifications on fabrics and materials are a must. We are reliant on certifications to ensure fairness in the supply chain prior to the fabric reaching the garmenting factory.
Therefore, as a result of the answers you gave in the survey all Visible clothing will be produced from 3rd party certified fabric.
Having the goal of clear visibility to know that everyone has been treated fairly comes at considerable cost. Firstly, requiring that level of transparency comes at a financial cost, and secondly it comes at an opportunity cost to Visible as it dramatically slows down the pace and rate at which we can grow as an organisation and it hinders our ability to bring new products to market.
Because of our ethical requirements we rarely have the opportunity to bring Visible clothes to market without ordering large volumes directly from our partner suppliers.
It is within this context that we are especially excited to be selling kids' t-shirts (until Thursday at midnight!) which we can source in smaller quantities without any compromise on visibility. We have sourced these from a partner who we have met and trust, they are made in a Tanzanian factory where people are treated fairly, and crucially the fabric is GOTS certified.
Your feedback means we will only source products if the people throughout the whole supply chain are treated fairly.
Thank you for continuing to shape Visible and bringing about a world where everyone in the clothing sector is treated fairly.