Jonathan Crocker makes the case for investing in ethical sourcing.
When the founder of Chavin first asked me to assist in the launch of an ethical silver jewellery brand I had an immediate ambivalent reaction – engage in a strong ethical debate or run away?
I actually chose a third way. I started to think about the proposition and found myself intrigued and engaged. What is the most responsible way to make a business in selling luxury goods?
I see the market in much the same state at the moment. Mention the word ethical and people have an immediate reaction – not normally one that stimulates a transaction.
In the work that we have done with Chavin Jewellery we are discovering a broadening of attitude towards this subject and an increasing level of interest. We have found that the market likes our approach of re-investing into communities and that having a partner like Children’s SOS to help us directs this value efficiently and safely.
Unfortunately it is still very much a matter of price – we have not yet reached the tipping point in the psyche of the consumers whereby they will naturally pay a little more for ethical or socially responsible practices. We are, though, at a stage where the discussion volume and frequency is growing. This indicates the time of acceptance of this fact is close by.
Therefore it is my belief that this will be a decisive factor in which brands sell well in the coming years. We have found that being clear with the message, not compromising on quality of design or manufacturing and showing the difference made by the brand are the best ways to demonstrate our stance. Being a socially responsible brand essentially offers the customer the opportunity to consider the impact of getting the product to market and to see how the brand is acting.
This is an important element of branding that is sometimes overlooked namely ethics and values. Our view has on this matter is to be clear in matters of sourcing, manufacturing and supply chain and then to make the very positive step of giving back both financially and in expertise to Peru.
The latest collection from Chavin includes brightly coloured bracelets each named after one of the mothers we are helping to support in Peru. Not just a good story, but something that makes a difference to people’s lives and makes us feel good too.