Brand Values Matter!
In an age when online shopping is increasingly the norm, it is easy for shoppers to be won over by a slick website or a great deal, and to overlook the values that form the foundation of every business.
The news is full of stories of the way some large companies have built their businesses by paying workers unfairly, by using unsustainable raw materials and a host of other dodgy practices.
But equally there are some incredibly successful brands who owe their success not just to a great product but to the ethical way they produce and distribute it: Neals Yard and Stella McCartney are two that come straight to mind but there are so many other great British brands that have pioneered the movement to ensure their business is good for their workers, suppliers and clients, the environment and their bottom line too.
I often walk past this tiled advertisement for Sunlight Laundry. The business no longer exists and in its place on Pimlico Road in London is a gorgeous interior design shop. But the neighbourhood has decided not to remove or paint over the laundry's sign, no doubt because Best Work, Popular Prices and Prompt Delivery remain compelling objectives for any business.
Sunlight Laundry reminds me to constantly think about the values that underpin my own business, which I've never taken the time to overtly share. Well, no time like the present, as business values couldn't be a more important thing to talk about at a time when retailers are struggling to differentiate and define themselves.
OUR BRAND VALUESInitially London is one of the most extensive, full-service monogramming businesses in the UK. We don't just say that ourselves, we've seen it in print in Forbes.com! For those that don't already know, monogramming is personalisation on steroids: we use graphic design software to offer dozens and dozens of font style options, from the mundane to the extraordinary. So the same way a company defines its brand by its logo, a well-designed monogram expresses the personality of the wearer.
In going about our business we strive to achieve these core objectives:
To offer a fun and creative design experience for the shopper
Shopping online can be incredibly mundane and frustrating: everything starts to look the same and every website works the same way. Except ours.
We've developed an incredibly fun design app which lets shoppers on our website design their own monogram using the graphic design software we use in the studio. Choose from over 50 font styles and thread colours, preview the design on any product and change it as much as you like until you've got a design you love.
The result is a truly unique purchase. Our monograms are more than just initials.
To produce high quality, made-to-order goods in London at accessible prices
While many retailers buy in a large amount of inventory at the beginning of each season and sell it all by slowly marking down the price through the season, we stock a classic line of accessories, linens & gifts that are timeless, season-less and always accessibly priced. We rarely do sales because we don't have surplus inventory.
Each order we produce is made-to-order in our London studio to the client's exact specifications. Our team of skilled embroidery artisans, textile and graphic designers are on hand in our Fulham studio to offer advice and customer service to anyone wanting to work with us directly rather than through the website.
To use sustainable fabrics, packaging and delivery methods to minimise our impact on the earth's resources
We work mainly with lightweight, durable and 100% natural fabrics such as linen, cotton, canvas, jute, palm leaf, sisal and leather. We love these fabrics because they embroider beautifully, can withstand heavy use and are easy to ship. Where necessary, mainly to ensure water-resistance, we use nylon and microfibre.To quote John Steinbeck (from his 1962 novel Travels with Charley):
"Everything we use comes in boxes, cartons, bins, the so-called packaging we love so much. The mountains of things we throw away are much greater than the things we use. In this, if in no other way, we can see the wild and reckless exuberance of our production, and waste seems to be the index... I do wonder whether there will come a time when we can no longer afford our wastefulness."
Sixty years later, that time is now. To ensure our delivery methods are as sustainable as possible, our packaging is simple, unbranded and recyclable. We use plain linen drawstring bags as gift bags which can be reused for later gifting, or they make lovely shoe or lingerie bags. We hand-deliver in simple white paper shopping bags and we ship in recyclable Kraft paper bags and paper, or recyclable brown boxes for larger items.
To provide fulfilling employment and career development opportunities for embroidery artisans and fashion industry professionals
Our entire team is well educated, highly skilled and passionately dedicated to their craft. They work with permanent contracts and full benefits, giving them stable employment in an industry that is notorious for instability.
Each team member works only part-time in the studio, giving them time to run their own businesses alongside. The business skills learned while working at Initially London help their own businesses thrive. We love developing young talent and learn so much from them in return.We hope you'll shop with us confidently, knowing us a bit better now. We very much look forward to working with you soon.