Ethical Approaches to Running a Designer Maker Business
Last Friday, as part of New Designers, a large and interested audience gathered to hear top tips and advice on ethical approaches to setting up and running a business from Cockpit Arts designer-makers Ute Decker (pictured) and Sophie Holloway (work pictured below).
Ute Decker is renowned for her jewellery in recycled silver. In 2011, she was one of the pioneering jewellers to create a collection in the world’s first Fairtrade and Fairmined gold www.utedecker.com
Sophie Holloway runs an accessories business with Alice, her sister who has developed and produced an ethical materials database for Central St Martin’s. They incorporate ethical sourcing into their work. www.hollowaysmithnoir.com
Both Sophie and Ute discussed how they, via research and development had built up their businesses with ethical values at the core.
The speakers also outlined that running an ethical business extends further than just the sourcing of materials and suppliers – and includes researching, for example, who is employed in the supply chain of your suppliers, ensuring fair pay to staff, being transparent in your communications with customers and giving something back to the community amongst other elements.
The main points to consider, when setting up a business covered were:
- Researching and finding fairtrade suppliers
- Using recycling and upcycled materials
- Finding non-toxic studio chemicals
- Using recycled and recyclable packaging
- Finding eco-friendly print materials
- Using carbon neutral web hosting
Ute also lists where to find suppliers of ethical metals and traceable stones.
The speakers also noted that for those setting up or running a fashion business a very useful resource is the Ethical Fashion Forum which provides information for sustainability and a useful: directory of fashion businesses and resources.
The speakers top tips for designer-makers interested in setting up an ethical business were:
- Perseverance and persistence
- Sharing of information
- A passion for what you do
Do you have any top tips on ethical practices which you use to run your business? Please let us know so we can continue to share top tips and information.
You can also sign up to Making It – news and opportunities for designer-makers to hear more about our workshops and seminars to hear more about running a designer-maker business.
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