A little vegan knitwear business with
Hello! Thank you so much for taking time to read this and consider supporting us. This is Samantha, the founder proudly wearing one of her own creations !
In brief / summary:
- Looking for funds for working capital to rebrand and relaunch as 'Clever Cotton'
- New start up with rapid growth wanting to kick on to the next level
- Wanting to be a source of flexible employment in an area of high deprivation and to provide enrichment and mental health well being through knitting workshops and community groups
Who we are and what we believe in:
Vegan Handknit was started by Samantha in October 2020 as she tried to find a suitable hat for friend who had shaved her head in a moment of lockdown madness - and failed miserably. All the hats she found that were marketed as vegan we acrylic - which is a petrochemical and therefore from a non-renewable, unsustainable source. Samantha found this to be a massive contradiction her to vegan ideals as she strongly believes in living sustainably with minimal environmental impact, plus also how many wildlife habitats are destroyed through petrochemical production? So Samantha decided to make one..... not the actual hat pictured but it was most definitely our best selling hat!
So why do you want to rebrand?
Our current name and branding does not match what we want to be and what we want to achieve. We want to be designer, boutique and above all classy and sophisticated - our current designs, website and branding is far too homely and DIY (which it was essentially was). We also found that the name 'Vegan Handknit' was more of a barrier than a selling point - whilst our products will continue to be handmade , they are not exclusively for vegans. We feel that our name needs to be more inclusive and accessible. In essence, people don't want to wear acrylic ( or they don't once they realise how toxic it is - we do need to educate people on what they wear) and wool is full of allergens as well as being cruel no matter how its dressed up. Cotton is versatile, flexible...well, just clever!
Ladies, gentleman and anyone who doesn't identify with either, we give you:
The initial response to our new name has been excellent, and therefore we strongly believe we finally have this right.
In addition - we are also going to go 100% organic. This is going to marginally drive up our production costs but we feel in the long term, both for ourselves and for the plant it is utterly worth it.
SO WHAT IS THE PLAN?
Global domination through the medium of handmade vegan knitwear!!! Seriously though, we are unique and we are different and there is certainly a demand for our products - as Vegan Handknit up until 15th February from the start of our business in October 2020 we have consistently achieved more than 150% month on month growth. However, we need to be better - the website, the branding on items, the packaging...the whole shebang quite frankly. We have started to make the changes we need but this is where you come in - we need funds and finance in order to achieve our goals and ambitions.
We want to grow to the point where we have others making the items - we have already got the pricing structure in place for us still to be profitable yet paying a living wage to those who will be making our products.
We have consulted with ACAS on what we need to do to provide an ethical sustainable sub-contractor model that pays a living wage as well as providing flexible employment opportunities in SE Northumberland, which includes areas that have high unemployment, high numbers of people on zero hours contracts and just generally among the poorest parts of the country.
How we will achieve it:
Erm......money? If you do decide that you wish to donate to us, this is how we will spend our donations.
No matter how we try and dress this up to look sexy - we need money to exist. We have the bare bones of a profitable and successful business, but in order to achieve that we do need investment.
1. Increase sales through advertising and marketing.
Its a harsh reality of the world that we do need to plough money into advertising our fabulousness, but it really does work. So far our budget has been sporadic as money is tight, but when we have run Facebook Ads we have a seen a fabulous return - we are seeing a x3.5 ROI and our website has a conversion rate that is slightly higher than other apparel websites. Now imagine what could be done if someone who actually knew what they were doing was to run the ad campaign? This is why we are saying we have bags of potential - once we get the sales, we can start to subcontract work out once we get to the point where Samantha has more orders than she can comfortably do in a day, ore orders will mean a bigger budget to spend on advertising...you can see where this spiral is going! We just need that initial investment to push to establish
2. Investment in product development - labels, buttons, yarns ...we so want to get this right and you only get one chance at making a first impression!
3. Vegan Fairs and Markets. Currently we have hand made signage and a bag full of recycled bags. As society starts to reopen and events start to take place again, we would love some professional signage to take us from being a little handmade knitting company to an established trusted vegan accessories brand.
How you will help:
We cannot even begin to say how much a donation will mean to us - and we really mean that. No matter how large or small, your donation will help us achieve our aims. Samantha has always said 'Go big or go home' - the model we have does have growth and expansion built in, and we do want to sell our products globally in the future. You can say you were part of this right at the beginning - and that you for believing in us and sharing our hopes and dreams for a more sustainable and ethical future for all.