Hello and welcome to my first blog post of the year my friends.
As it’s a quiet period for physical trading I’ve got some time on my hands to write down a few words at long last which I hope continues the theme of being upfront and transparent regarding what I do and what you experience from me and the service I provide.
This one is called ‘Why Did I Do It’ and refers to the launch of my new ‘LOFT55 Owners Club Collection’ I feel it’s important to add a solid account of why it’s come to life and it's timing.
To set the scene correctly I’m going to explain my motive behind this launch so here goes but first some background detail.
Running a ‘small batch’ operation like I do comes with certain benefits and challenges.
On the one hand I’m able to keep close and connected to my customers be online or through my pop ups and festival appearances which I love. On the other hand it’s always a month by month exercise in how to keep going as I progress organically whilst keeping my feet firmly on the ground.
Being able to keep going as such is dependent on the amount of investment available which ends up as new stock. Any business owner will tell you this if you were to get under the ins and outs with them. However, many won’t be so open about this but I’m not that way inclined and feel comfortable sharing the reality.
In a nutshell once that investment reserve goes then the whole thing is gone for good. There’s no return other than through perhaps private investors or crowdfunding, both of which aren’t an option that will be presented or in regards to crowd funding I shall ever decide upon.
It’s always been the way that the lifespan of LOFT55 is dependent on the community and myself together side by side. Feels perfect and comes without any expectancies of others on my part.
As we know disposable incomes are being stretched like never before (including mine and fellow micro business owners) which means potentially difficult decisions are always on our minds.
My choice is to keep going as requested by my loyal customers and casual onlookers yet like many I’m taking on work outside of what I do. In my case cleaning my local hospital to attempt to safe guard what investment I have to continue the LOFT55 Community through clothing.
Nothing is set In stone however and over the last few months I’m now thinking about the legacy of LOFT55 should I end it and I do something different.
In essence, what was it all about? and who were involved that can be looked back on one day with a sense of pride and gratitude.
With this in mind I decided to create a new collection ‘The Loft55 Owners Club’ at a time of great uncertainty (which continues) yet with enough time to get this out there should ending become a realistic path to go down.
My journey over the past 5 years wouldn’t of happened if it wasn’t for those people investing in my clothing and as such I made the decision to create the new collection to show my gratitude in some way towards everyone who wears my work.
Better to do it when I did than wait for when there was absolutely no way to support the production of this collection. Remember, it’s a month to month situation over here with no guarantees whatsoever so timing was crucial.
The design itself was carefully considered to reflect my experience of the support I’ve been given as I feel without any of this there wouldn’t even be this blog post almost 5 years in.
From the name, to the clasped anchor that signifies everyone invested holding me as tight as they can and eventually down to the strapline of ‘By The Few Not The Many’ this being a clear indication of how small my customer base actually is.
From the start in 2018 I’ve always made it a priority to put myself at the front of LOFT55 and to never hide behind the designs. A faceless approach being impossible and way too late in the day now to start trying to achieve. Hence why I’m writing this post as I feel you know me and I know you. Or at least it feels that way after half a decade.
I shall leave you with the words I chose that accompany this collection and say a big thank you for all that have been part of this idea of a community influenced clothing label since pre- Covid.
It may continue, it may not but if you wear the anchor and my associated work then please consider yourself part of the last 5 years my friends and very much part of LOFT55 moving forward should you continue or historically looking back if that’s the outcome presented.
At least you now have a clothing collection inspired by you and I hope this brings to you a sense of individual or collective achievement as it does to me.
‘By The Few Not The Many’
The LOFT55 Owners Club started when the first ever piece of work I designed was handed over to a work friend of mine. Thank you Daniel Buckfield for taking that first ever tote bag. The picture of Daniel was stored away in a online space that I called The LOFT55 Owners Club which overtime grew with more and more pictures either taken by myself or sent to me personally of people wearing my designs. Eventually this resulted in a hashtag that I use today alongside continuing to save pictures like a visual diary of the people that have helped to establish LOFT55.
The hand clasped anchor is me acknowledging all the support that has been kindly bestowed on me through each and every purchase of my work. I feel and appreciate that I've been held through the enthusiasm and goodwill of everyone invested in LOFT55 since 2018 and I wanted to be able to show this.
'By The Few Not The Many' remains the true account of the size of The LOFT55 Owners Club in relation to the world of retail and clothing I work within. Organically growing one step at a time with myself and the owners side by side is the way it works.
Thank you to all old, current , returning and future owners.
LOFT55 wouldn't be here without you all.