G O I N G O N S A L E
When I first started Lois Hazel I remember never wanting to go on sale. I didn’t understand why brands did it and saw it merely as a way to try and convince people to buy things they didn't need. Honestly, it would make me wonder what the ‘actual cost’ of the garment really was - how could a brand go to 50% off or even 70% off and still pay their workers a fair wage? Or was the pricing too high to begin with, and the brand was just greedy, trying to take more money from their customers than they needed to?
It wasn’t really until starting LH and making and selling that first collection that I began to understand why sales were a necessary part of the business. I started to understand more about how mark ups worked and gained an appreciation for all of the individual costs existing throughout the supply chain (which we covered in our blog about the cost of our rib tee which you can read here). I also started to understand about all the hidden costs that often people don't even think about - like marketing, rent and even simple things like electricity! How do you factor those costs into the price of a garment?
Running a business is a complex thing and I know when I started LH I was a little naive and had a lot of strong ideas of how I wanted to run the business, both due to my personal morals and also a general lack of understanding of the industry. And while it is still so important to me and the brand that we have strong ethical underpinnings for the business, I wanted to share my thoughts with you all about why I have changed my mind about going on sale and how it can actually help me run my business the way I want to.
At the beginning of each season we plan out how much stock we need, taking into account our sale targets for the coming season. This includes figuring out how much we need to sell in order to keep the business going across online, any pop ups and wholesale orders (all the wonderful stores that stock Lois Hazel). Fulfilling our wholesale orders often gives us an idea of which styles we think you guys will love the most, but we also look at past seasons, what's trending, and any feedback you guys have given us (so thank you in advance for sharing what you like/ don't like with us - it's always so helpful!). Once we’ve figured out the units we then order the fabric, get our patterns graded, and finally send everything to our local factory and get it all produced in time to release the collection online and in stores.
Sometimes we nail it - we produce the exact right amount, our styles are received as we had hoped, or even exceed our expectations (this is always a wonderful surprise!) and have very little left over at the end of the season. Other times we don’t - sometimes we don’t order enough stock in certain styles so our customers miss out, but also sometimes we don’t get as many sales as we originally predicted and are left with excess at the end of the season. This can be due to many factors: not marketing or communicating the collection to you in the right way, maybe missing the mark in terms of what's on trend / what our customers are looking for, and also factors that are out of our control, such as COVID-19. The pandemic has affected everything from what people are wanting to wear and buy to when we can even physically get product made and shipped. COVID has definitely made the market a much harder place to navigate.
But fashion and time in general stops for no one, and we constantly need to look to the future. So as the season starts to change we turn our attention to the next season, which has already started behind the scenes. We’ve already sampled the next season collection, shot it, sold it to our wholesalers, and now we have to order our bulk fabrics, get it graded and start production at one of our local factories. So not only do we need to make room in our studio but we also need to make sure we can cover the costs involved in running Lois Hazel and producing our next range, especially if a season hasn’t sold as planned. This is where a sale can help.
While we never like to reduce our prices (and we spend a lot of time working out what the right price is for each garment to begin with to make sure everyone in the process is paid fairly), we know that for some of our customers being able to buy LH at a lower price is the only way they can support and be a part of the brand. If we can give some of our customers a way to support sustainable and ethical fashion in Australia that makes it easier for them financially, then it's a win-win. Not only does it allow us to make room for the next season and "keep the lights on" so-to-speak, it also means we are not wasting lots of beautiful clothes that have already been produced. Just as we are committed to using deadstock and sustainable fabrics only to reduce our footprint on the planet, we would rather give our clothes a home than see them end up in landfill.
So if you see a piece you love in our sale range, please know that even though you're buying it at a discount, we are still running our business the way I set out to from day one - fairly and honestly.