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Is it time to close LOFT55 ?

So with a rather lacklustre end to 2023 in December and the compounding affect of tight household budgets / start of 2024 being a slow month it's apparent that I'm edging every day closer to ending what has been a most incredible experience with LOFT55.

When I set out on the path of becoming a clothing designer I purposely put two things firmly in place. One being the message my work sends regarding community and the other being to put my mush out in front of the clothing itself. It's no secret I've found my purpose trading on foot meeting people whilst steering the community feel that LOFT55 I'm told holds amongst those that wear the clothing through my engagement in the real world and also online.

However, this is not enough for a micro level creative sort such as myself even with quality made products / a socially positive purpose to continue what I started in 2018 without a clue what I was doing.

As mentioned household budgets are tight (including mine) and on reflection I should of put my price points higher at the start. Maybe a little imposter syndrome has been my downfall or maybe I'm just a very price sensitive retailer that thinks 'customer first' to his own detriment.

All aside one thing for sure is that I chose to organically grow LOFT55 when I had my single full time year going into and coming out of Lockdown. It felt the right thing to do as any marketing budget would have to of been soaked up in higher prices for my clothing funded by my friends, customers and ofcourse customers who have become friends.

Writing these thoughts feels good as I'm comfortable in the knowledge that I've achieved more than I ever thought and up until now I've been blessed that many (but not alot) have found something of value through my efforts and constant struggles to keep my head above water. I can hold my head up whatever happens and say I've played it with a 'straight bat' all the way.

Most recently I did a rough calculation on how many garments that have the anchor on them are in circulation after almost 6 years. My deduction being globally less than 3000. Just think about that spread over 6 years. Not alot that really does cement the notion of by the few and not the many.

To the casual observer this number may seem dubious considering the amount of garment choices / variations I've made / man hours I've put in trading but I can assure you this isn't a million miles away from being dead on and with every single aspect from production details upwards once again follows my belief that honesty is key.

So, it's 23.05 on the second Thursday in January 2024, I'm up late mulling things over and staring the end of my community based clothing journey square in the face. This being a regular week by week situation for over 12 months now so I'm used to it and it doesn't phase me thankfully.

Maybe it's time to start thinking about writing the book or maybe once again I'll fluke it and keep the good ship and the most excellent community that sails her going for another 6 months.

TBC as always

*image at the top taken from NYD at Stompa Phunk here in Brighton from behind my two clothing rails. Just how I like to trade on foot I've now discovered.

Thanks for reading, your continued support and general aceness. Couldn't of done it without you so far my friends.

Ali x

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