Why FREE isn't actually ever FREE at all ....
What is fair & open pricing? Put simply, it's a way of doing business that is fair to everyone involved AND fair to the world we live in, It's what we practice here at Hey Lola and we wanted to expose a few of the unsavoury practices in the retail industry and why we are so against them. So many myths abound our industry, such as FREE DELIVERY, FREE RETURNS, FREE EXCHANGES.
When we hear customers suggest that us not offering 'free' returns is a 'rip-off' it is very hurtful, but we know that the 'FREE' phenomenon hasn't really been exposed properly for what it actually is, so we're attempting to unpack the 'FREE' myths here and then tell you how we do price. Small fashion labels like Hey Lola are leading the fashion industry into better working practices. Practices that are better for customers, producers and the environment at large.
DELIVERY: Can it ever be free?
Answer: Not unless you're in the same building. That's it!
Quite simply, whether you pick something up from a retail store, or whether you have something delivered from an online store - there is a cost. Fuel charges and parking when you're picking it up yourself, logistics charges from delivery companies if you're ordering online and having it delivered to your home. We might all LOVE the sound of 'Free Delivery' but what it actually translates to is 'We've included all of our delivery charges in the product prices we are charging you'. Now, that's not the same as 'Free' is it?
RETURNS: Are they ever free?
How can they be? There is a cost of returning your product. Again, you may drive your product yourself to a store for a refund, or you may send it back via a delivery company. Neither of which are free of cost.
AND it gets worse - it is estimated that of all 'free returned' goods, only 10% are ever re-sold and that at best, 60% end up in landfill.
At Hey Lola we are committed to a ZERO LANDFILL policy. That means that we make the most of every single resource we use and produce. We give our leftover materials to charities and schools for them to use in production of their own goods. We only use paper-based or compostable materials for packaging and we recycle all of our own waste here at our workshop. For the small percentage of waste that we can't re-cycle, we ensure personally that it goes to a waste-to-energy plant, which is better than landfill.
SO, WHAT'S THE ALTERNATIVE? OUR FAIR & OPEN PRICING POLICY EXPLAINED.
Fair pricing is exactly that. Fair to everyone involved. We're a small fashion label and whilst we happily do charitable fundraisers and have raised thousands of pounds for charity, we are at heart a business trying to make money. We're quite open about that and we don't feel the need to hide it! All businesses need to make money or they simply don't exist. We believe that our designs and our products are good and that we charge a fair price for them. But we never charge over-the-odds, we never pretend that things are free when they're not and we never ever rip you, our customer, off. You're far too important to us, so we charge you fairly.
When we price our items fairly, we start at the very beginning:
We source our products responsibly from wholesalers who guarantee by charter and industry body membership to pay a fair living wage to the manufacturers of their products, wherever in the world they are. No child labour, no sweatshop working environments, no farmers being unfairly paid for their cotton harvests. Additionally, we require our wholesalers to guarantee that their cotton is sustainably produced, which includes reduced water consumption in cotton-processing.
We pay our own employees a fair wage, above the national minimum wage. We don't personally believe that the National Minimum Wage cover life's essentials, especially with utilities bills sky-rocketing and inflation going one-way (upwards).
We don't add in hidden costs into our products. There is no such thing as 'free' delivery or 'free' returns - these things are ALWAYS included in the price you pay with bigger companies. But there is huge environmental pressure on them to cease doing this. It promotes massive levels of returns, which in turn means that huge amounts of garments end up in landfill, leaving behind a massive carbon footprint. This has to stop and small fashion labels like us are leading the revolution against fast fashion. It isn't good for business, it isn't good for the environment. Put simply, it just isn't good.
Add a delivery charge of £3.95 onto your order, as this is the cost of delivering it.
Ask you to cover the cost of your return if the goods aren't faulty
Ask you to pay the delivery charge if you'd like different goods sent out to you (exchange)
And that's it. Fair and OPEN. We're up front and honest about what we charge and when.
We publish this information in several places on our website and we're also now publishing it in a blog.
RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING
If you've been interested by our article, there are many others about this issue and the following is our suggested further reading list: