Lets talk about values, ethics and prices

When the 2020 pandemic arrived, like
many other people I found myself looking for a hobby – and so one day I started sewing. It was just a way to fill my time really. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that it might snowball into a longer term venture, so I didn’t worry too much about things like costs or paying myself a fair wage. To me, beautiful fabrics and cool new products seemed way more exciting than all that boring business stuff!

Eight months later, here I am running SewnUpByJen - a small, independent, eco-friendly business – and it’s fair to say that the learning curve has been steep, with some tough lessons learned along the way! I knew from early on that I wanted to move towards providing eco-friendly and sustainable products, helping others to make the switch from single-use to reusable and zero waste items.

As the business has grown, I’ve gradually upgraded my products to use more sustainable and ethically-sourced materials. All the fabrics I use are now purchased from small independent UK fabric shops, and I’m in the process of  slowly moving away from polyester thread to ones that are natural or recycled. I aim to use suppliers who are willing to think about their environmental footprint, even when that means paying more for materials and services and I reduce the waste in my own making processes wherever possible.

So, that pretty much brings things up to date – early 2021. I’ve come an awfully long way in less than a year, and to say that I’m proud of my business is a huge understatement! But I’ve also reached the point where I have to make some tricky choices... My early business decisions were often delightfully “optimistic” in terms of the time and material costs involved in making my products! I have to revisit these if my business is going to have a long-term future. At the same time, I want to keep pushing my products to be more ethical, more eco-friendly and higher quality than ever before. And that’s where it gets tricky – because it just isn’t possible to use higher quality and more sustainable materials, pay both my suppliers and myself at a fair rate, and still keep my prices the same.

Of course, no-one is ever pleased to see prices go up! And it’s a scary moment for me too – it potentially jeopardizes the business I’ve spent the last eight months building. But in my heart of hearts I know that I can’t compete with cheap, mass-produced, single-use products – and honestly, it wouldn’t sit right with me, even if I could. That isn’t the business that I want to build.

So, very shortly I’ll be re-launching my new-look website to try and turn SewnUpByJen into the independent, ethical, environmentally-friendly, high quality company that I want it to be. I’m excited about the calibre of the materials I’m now able to use, and proud to be offering new products, with as much as possible a genuinely sustainable footprint. New website, new products, new materials, new photos… and yes, some new prices too!

It’s taken a lot of time and effort to put together – prices notwithstanding, I hope that you’ll love it as much as I do. Jen