Yeah, you are probably thinking 'why on earth is she posting about that?
I spend a huge amount of time researching products, how they are made, where they are made and how environmentally kind are they.
I also check out similar business's to ours and see what they are bringing in.
I think most of us can agree on one thing, we love the bargains, but on the other hand we seem to be very anti-China.
I am guilty of this also.
So I then began thinking, why is this?
Now, the western world loves all the cheap plastic that China can produce, from rugs, towels, plush toys to dollar store items. Consumers can't get enough of these products because they are cheap, sometimes have an important use, but tend to be throw away items that end up in the landfill.
But who's fault is this?
Is it China's fault? Absolutely not.
Is it the business's fault for carrying China made products? No. Business's bring in what customers are demanding. Lots of goods at cheap prices.
Then who's responsible for this? The short answer is, its the consumers who have built up this monstrous appetite for all things cheap. Instead of comparing quality or even demanding higher quality we have become a population of 'shoppers' trying to find the next best deal.
Does China also make really high quality items? You bet they can!
Are they more affordable than items found elsewhere? Well, shipping costs are astronomical in price these days, but China makes so many of the materials required to make products that it is still more affordable to have things made in China. Plus the labour is far less in cost in China.
So why does the western World like to announce that they don't want items from China?
A) Consumers don't want to pay the price for items made in North America or Europe
B) Racism; don't kid yourself, we were raised to hate the Chinese. Part of rotten western politics.
C) A history of poorly made, but very cheap, items coming from China. This is the general stigma. You must not forget that these items are made this way because consumers keep demanding cheaper and cheaper items.
D) The western world is jealous that China is so good at making things and selling in bulk.
So, getting back to sourcing different products to offer on our website.
I've looked at loads of sheepskin suppliers and sheepskin goods from the US, Europe and China. Lets use sheepskin cushions as an example.
All of the suppliers except one sell sheepskin cushions made in China. Yet all of these cushions have;
1) Polyester inner cushions (not eco friendly but cheap).
2) Rear zippers (hopefully metal but not always). Others are sewn shut with polyester insert.
3) One sided sheepskin most often dyed (not 'as' eco friendly but pretty)
4) One side fake suede which is usually a blend of plastics/micro fibers. (Terrible for the environment).
Disappointing, BUT this is what consumers have demanded-cheap but pretty and it fills the thirsty need for acquiring instant yet possibly fleeting satisfaction.
As you know, I make our cushions in the studio and if you've looked at our price tags on them they are massively different than what can be purchased on the market.
But until consumers are at all interested in anything other than the lowest price, finding a product made with care AND environmental friendly AND one of a kind AND something that will last for generations will be something that very difficult to find.
This is rather a rant isn't it.
I am going to perform an experiment. You might like to follow along.
I am working with a very lovely Chinese company that is very willing to go the extra mile and create a cushion line for us that is environment friendly, not dyed, 100% natural and made to my exact standards. I do believe that its up to all of us to demand better made products, that are more responsible for the environment (yes I realize that shipping products is a problem but its a start) and to lessen the stigma associated with purchasing from 'other' countries that have lower labour rates.
Updates to come.