T&N, Fair Trade and Quality
A Scottish Sale Tale
I (Grant) visit the more upmarket chain stores only when they can tempt me in with nice round figures like 50% off and the like. They look so pleasing to the Scottish eye and make you feel like you are going to go home smiling, one way or the other. It means I can confidently look at items with other round figures such as $80 or even $100 on them and do so without my 'short arms, long pockets' heart stopping momentarily. I recently replaced one or two of my ten year old shirts with some sale items and took them home with that warm bargain glow clearly ‘on’.
The first day I wore one shirt, I noticed a few stray threads hanging off the buttons, which I promptly snipped off. The warm glow dulled the pain of this first disappointment and on I went. Later I found more threads on the inside and some on the outside which the warm glow could do nothing about! Many pictures of poor workmanship because of cheap labour and cramped conditions came to mind and sighs of “what is the world coming to” etc. One jumper I had bought from the same higher end establishment had a “pilling free guarantee”. I was more than a little ‘pilled off’ when I found pills appearing when I had worn it seldom and not washed it once! How low would these guys stoop to make things appear classy and well made when the product is obviously well below this standard.
When we started at Tribes and Nations we worried that the first shipment, after the initial samples, would arrive dirty, unfinished and a mere shadow of what the samples had been. Our worries proved futile as our first container turned up, from Heed in Bangladesh, looking fantastic. Every item bore the expected slight inconsistencies of handmade products while giving us the very clear picture that somebody, maybe two or four bodies, had poured over their work until it was deemed ready to package and send. Our worries however persisted as we were still to receive shipments from Sri Lanka, Cambodia and India! What would they be like!? One after the other, each shipment and every bit of packaging and finishing articulated pride in their craftsmanship, a concern to give value, a love for their work. Without exaggeration, each parcel was a joy to open and lead even me (who has been accused of having meagre communication abilities) to write gushing letters of thanks for the effort they had put in. This is the stuff that partnerships are built on, not just between them and us, but as we passed these products confidently onto our customers.
When you buy products from us we stand on the value that we have seen given by workers and their bosses who see business as a relationship and not a money making enterprise. As a result they give value for money, they take time to make sure we have received the best they can offer. As a result, if you are interested in price alone or label alone, we will not be able to satisfy you. If you would like to know that your products came from the hands of properly paid workers, that their conditions were good, that their bosses see them as more than just a money making tool, then you are in the right place. If you ever find one of our products that has “slipped through the cracks” then send it straight back for a full refund or replacement.