We're currently working with a Sydney company on their rebrand, and thought I'd share a part of the process here.
This highlights a small component of the whole project, but demonstrates how were often battling against convenience in an effort to keep the rebrand as low-impact as possible.
This is from the physical assets stage which covers items we need to either find ready-made, or have custom-made, and have the new brand identity applied.
(There's more to it, but this is the basic gist).
For each item, we generally start at the top of the list and move down - local first, then ethical, then recycled - but it’s not always that linear. As we search, one supplier might start to stand out as a preferred option. Sometimes all the boxes can’t be ticked, so then it becomes a discussion of which compromises we’re prepared to make. Sometimes the company has terrible customer service, and that’s a factor too.
But the first challenge this presents, is that we rely on suppliers to actually know whether they tick any items on the bullet list above - not all do.
In the past couple weeks, the physical items we’ve been sourcing suppliers for have been signage, printed stationary, decals, vehicle wraps, uniforms, staff apparel, and staff laptop bags.
We're right in the middle of sourcing a supplier for these. We have some vetted suppliers we've used before who aren't suitable for this particular project (for quantity reasons mentioned below), so we're also researching new suppliers. Following is where all this stands as of today.
There are Australian-based ethical suppliers who use fair trade, organic materials for their garments, and the list in Australia is growing steadily which is awesome.
We also need embroidery, which many of these suppliers also do locally. However, some send garments overseas for embroidery work which increases the footprint of each garment significantly, but also brings into question the conditions their overseas workers might be subject to - some have great transparency around this, others don’t.
Unfortunately for us, there are also minimum order numbers which are far too high for this project (depending on the supplier there are often a few hundred minimum, but we only need 30).
If we can't find one supplier who can do it all for the quantity we need, the next best option is to split the project - find garments that tick as many boxes as possible, then go to another supplier to do the embroidery. Smaller embroiderers are capable of doing smaller quantities, and while Googling brings up some results, just asking around reveals many more local options - and we might have a few wins there.
The garments are able to be sourced online or locally at retail prices, or some also provide wholesale - again this comes with minimum quantities, but when you’re only purchasing garments with no customisation, there’s often the possibility to negotiate some flexibility on the quantity. Possibly another win.
For suppliers we’ve used before, the vetting process is quicker. For anyone new to us, there’s due diligence we run to ensure they can answer at least some questions about how and where their garments are made, what they’re made of, and how they ship them (shipping is a whole other rabbit-hole which I've barely touched).
Our suppliers haven’t been settled on yet, but this gives a small glimpse into just how “inconvenient” this can be!
It’d be easy to go to any faceless online store and pay $3-$6 for a fully customised printed shirt, shipped to our door, but we’d know almost nothing about how that product comes into existence.
There are many reasons I don't like this form of convenience, and I'm not alone - I know I'm not alone because people like our client here have hired us to help them not do it.
But as Sally Irwin from The Freedom Hub has said it most movingly: “You can almost bet the low cost of a product has been paid by another human being abused.”
Just one of the reasons we think it’s worth spending the time to find alternatives.
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