At the beginning of this year TOBEFRANK was nothing but a concept, a little seed planted in my mind waiting to GROW! With only my credit card as comfort I was on a mission.
I had met Mehmet (TOBEFRANK’s now Sourcing Manager) in Turkey previously when I was on a sourcing trip. As soon as we met we were buzzing with ideas on how to turn my thoughts into reality. Mehmet took my concepts, my drawings and my fabric dreams and turned them into something tangible. We talked non-stop about sustainable supply chains, new fabric inventions and carbon footprint solutions. Mehmet stayed with me the whole time I was in Turkey as we went from farms, to mills, to recycling plants and factories. Everyone I met wanted to get on board as they showed me so many incredible projects they had been working on. I asked Mehmet why everyone was so excited to help me? I didn’t want to be seen as a pessimist, but I was a start-up with little to no finance, extremely low order quantities and merely just an "idea" in my head. He said they had all been waiting for a brand like TOBEFRANK to come along, a brand that actually cared!
This was my light bulb moment! TOBEFRANK needs to be a collaboration. We need to work together with people, brands, factories and communities in order to make a REAL difference.
On my last day in Turkey on our way back from a factory I asked Mehmet why he was so passionate to help me with TOBEFRANK? I was in no position to pay him a heavy salary or even anything at this point. He looked at me and said ‘We know what needs to be done, so it’s our responsibility to do it. If we know the secret to change the world and we don’t share this, how can we die knowing we did nothing, when we could have done everything’.
“ if we know the secret to change the world and we don’t share this, how can we die knowing we did nothing, when we could have done everything”
I truly believe that having a brand which places people before profits, and is driven by the want to make a REAL change to our world, will be a success. I’m not naive enough to believe we can run a business on thin air but this doesn’t mean we need to care only about the bottom line. Doing good has proven to be good for business so when you invest in your people, your people will invest in the success of you.
We can align ourselves with brands whom have the same goals, brands and companies that truly want to do good. But even more importantly we should look to work with those who do not yet realise that they need to change their ways and the good that could be done because of it. Fast fashion is not the problem, it’s the way its managed that is the issue.
“let’s come together to make a difference. Let’s not bully, let’s unite, let’s not pick fault or find gaps, let’s praise and rally behind, let’s not criticise or preach but instead advise and teach.”
TOBEFRANK does not believe in criticising other brands or retailers. Let’s not bad mouth brands and individuals for trying. Let's recognise, encourage and engage in how to continue to better our ways of working as an industry.
I remember my English teacher would tell me off for making so many spelling mistakes instead of encouraging me to do better or try harder. It would sometimes scare me out of even trying to write at all (and I still can’t spell). What I’m trying to say is, lets come together to make a difference. Let’s not bully, let’s unite. Let’s not pick fault or find gaps, let’s praise and rally behind each other. Let’s not criticise or preach but advice and teach.
Lets not hate, lets collaborate!