Interview with the founder of Belles of London
Thank you for wanting to be part our exclusive network. What were your reasons for joining us and investing in the Ethical Brand Directory / Academy and community?
We wanted to join EBD to firstly collaborate with the community and engage with the movement of being more ethical in our every day decisions in buying but also as creators to understand the market progression.
Also we wanted to share and develop ideas and also attend events to broaden the brands horizons and get the message out that fast fashion is no longer the way forward
Working with Roberta who shares the same views and ethics was a key factor in joining EBD and collaborating with EBD
Can you give me a brief overview of your brand and the type of products you sell?
Belles of London is a fashion brand designed by real women for real women. With an uncompromising commitment to quality each garment is ethically manufactured in Fashion Enter’s factory by a talented team of highly experienced pattern cutters, cutters and machinist
Each collection is designed by a Belle which comprises of dresses, soft separates, gym wear, beach wear and tailoring
Belles of London is a brand that is made and designed by the local workforce in London
A UK brand that is sustainable and ethical working in a safe and fair environment for all
The brand offers premium quality fashion and offers a bespoke service
What was your WHY? What inspired you to set up your business?
The brand was set up because of the climate and attitude to fast fashion. It was only natural to create Belles of London inspired by the workforce at Fashion – Enter and it naturally became a brand made and designed by ordinary women for women from all walks of life
The story is real people being engaged in the design process designing and making modern pieces that can be worn time and time again. Bespoke fashion is also a part of the offer where Belles make one offs for clients
What challenges do independent brands like yourself face?
Brand awareness is a challenge.
The tools of marketing is a full time job to get the brand name known Marketing comes at a cost, and with so many brands using low level celebrities and social media influencers to endorse their brands we need to make sure that we are everywhere and are making waves without the back-up of celebrity influence this can be costly and time-consuming. Once people know of us we will thrive but it is getting that social media footfall
Why is it important to be ethical in business?
Being ethical is a key factor in the brands success
It starts with the people behind the brand fair wages and working conditions, utilising and maintaining skills also up skilling our workforce creating jobs and creating a brand that is transparent and the environment we occupy on a whole
Our story is the people behind the brand and the consumer who wears Belles of London
We are committed in being ethical and sustainable and follow good practices this filters into the brand
What steps are you taking to ensure your brand operates as ethically as possible?
Fashion Enter Ltd (FEL) is committed to promoting sustainability. Concern for the environment and promoting a broader sustainability agenda are integral to FEL’s professional activities and the management of the organisation. We aim to follow and to promote good sustainability practice, to reduce the environmental impacts of all our activities and to help our clients and partners to do the same.
How important is sustainability for businesses? What are you doing in your business to reduce your environmental impact?
We have a policy is based on the following
To comply with and exceed where practicable
To integrate sustainability considerations into all our business decisions
To ensure that all staff are fully aware of our Sustainability Policy and are committed to implementing it and improving it.
To minimise the impact on sustainability of all office and transportation activities.
To promote our sustainability Policy to our colleagues and stake holders and encourage them to adopt
What are you not doing in your business but want to improve on?
Everything we do is monitored through time and motion and the use of raw materials
We can always improve and keep this at the for front of all we do
This is monitored through monthly senior staff meetings and addressed accordingly
What is your supplier and sourcing policy?
We only source from the UK mills in Macclesfield and Huddersfield and also dead stock fabrics in London and Leicester
Fabrics are not made especially for the collections
Being ethical and being aware of our carbon footprint means that we take great care in sourcing our fabrics
We take pride in the fact that we are bringing manufacturing back to the UK.
In 10 years from now where would you like to see the fashion/beauty/travel world? From a business and a consumer perspective
The world in 10 years time will be more community based
Working with skilled people and purchasing goods within their own areas and promoting good business practices supporting one another
Do you have any favourite ethical and sustainable quotes, or any key influencers that inspire you?
Stella McCartney “I was brought up to understand that we are all here on planet earth together
Why should the general public care about supporting ethical and environmentally responsible brands?
The public are now waking up to the impact of their buying decisions on many levels from product, service to packaging and eventually discarding the item
This all has a impact to a degree and the general public are waking up to this with mass demonstrations it is becoming the norm
The public see they now have a social responsibility