Katie, founder, joined me in this chat about Loft And Daughter. Her story about how she started her own brand couldn’t be more fascinating.
Katie’s background is in fashion, her last job was in Sydney for a fast-fashion company with a quick turnaround, massive volumes and cheap prices. She was working for the Buying Department so she used to travel a lot. Eventually, the pressure to get certain products under a cheap target price got to her, she started to ask questions and felt uneasy about the whole process. As a result, she ended up leaving her job five years ago.
Due to her experience, she decided that she didn’t want to be in buying anymore, she and her husband took a break and went travelling. That’s when she realised what she wanted to do next, create a brand with an opposite approach to the buying process that she had experience with: slow-production, small-batch and ethical. She desired to bring things to market that were beautiful and aspirational pieces fair made. They spent a lot of time in India, for her India is a very creative place where she felt very comfortable as she had a few contacts from her previous job (which was a good place to start). Then, she started the journey of digging around, researching, visiting different manufacturers looking for the right partner that would understand and share her purpose. For this reason, she knew that she had to meet the people to make sure they would be true to her values (if they were employing women, if they have certifications, fair working conditions etc).
Initially, Loft and Daughter were meant to be a womenswear brand, but she met with a partner that was very strong in jewellery, working with different artisans across India, with certifications and taking care of the people working for them ( they run a few social projects: schooling children, building health camps, providing potable water…). It was then that Katie had her “wow” moment, and she decided to give them a design and they started to make her jewellery. Later, she met another partner that was doing amazing stuff with disadvantaged women, and she found a way to work with them too.
We ended by talking about the current situation, Katie explained to me that she had a very challenging time with her homeware supplier as they wanted to increase her number of orders. She knew they were working with big companies, so she asked them if they had any cancelled orders she could purchase, and as they did, they partnered together. Katie told me that thanks to her background she knew how any excuse is good enough to cancel the orders for big companies (which is very sad).
When I asked her where she thinks the fashion industry is heading to, Katie said that she is hopeful but at the same time she lives in an echo-chamber, where although everyone seems to be making the right decisions, you then see the massive queues to Primark when they re-opened. Definitely, she thinks we are moving in the right direction. She mentioned as well how certain brands who were and are the target of the PayUp movement, keep promoting their collections because their target audience may not care about these issues as much as others do. In Katie’s own words “People are on different stages of that journey”.