General ramblings

A Dilemma

September 29, 2014

I have a dilemma.
And I’m interested to hear your opinions please!

I’ve been offered the opportunity to write a blog post for an online fashion and shoe website. They are creating content for some New Year’s Resolution posts and I have been approached to write a piece about my Make Do and Mend ethos and experiences, along with some tips.
It could potentially reach a few million people via the site’s social media and e-mail channels, so is a fantastic opportunity to get the Make Do and Mend message out there, to an audience who may never have considered it.

BUT does it mean that in some way I am endorsing this website, and the products that it sells? Do I want to be associated with fashion retailer, who sells mainstream (i.e. non-ethical) clothes and shoes, and is therefore inevitably is in some way embroiled in the whole fast fashion issue?

Do you see my dilemma?
I’m torn between it being a fabulous opportunity to introduce the concept of Making Do and Mending to a whole new (big!) audience, and being seen to be supporting or endorsing a huge multi-national consumption machine!

Any thoughts?

 

 

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  • Reply kimroper2010 October 3, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Jen, I see your dilemma, it’s almost supporting them by giving them content. However, I think the need to reach a wider audience of people who may not have considered your ‘way’ outweighs the potential support you give to a company that promotes potentially non make-do-and-mendy ideals.
    I think one of your most important roles is raising awareness, people like me are ‘sold’ already on your way of life. If you can convert or open just a few peoples eyes to the alternatives, then I think it’s definitely worth doing.
    x

    • Reply Jen October 6, 2014 at 11:05 am

      Thanks Kim!

  • Reply lizlovingandlearning September 29, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    I’ve been thinking about the business of not telling folk not to buy new clothes. You could take the angle of only buying stuff made to last, then learning to make best use of it, having confidence to repair it, etc. Given the likely readership that’s probably the best way to get the attention anyway.

    • Reply Jen September 30, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Great angle-thankyou!

  • Reply Jo aka Kiwijo September 29, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Adding my voice to the ‘go for it’ vote. As everyones else is saying it will be a chance for you to help people realise its not as difficult as they think it might be and will reach lots of people who wouldnt normally get exposed to that kind of thing. Youve said it yourself, little steps by many can make a difference. If only 100 people read the article and say 10% take it on board, thats 10 more people doing their bit. I think the very fact that they approached you menas they are open to hear what you have to say.
    Do it, do it, do it.
    :o)

    • Reply Jen September 30, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Thanks Jo!

  • Reply Kathryn Ayre September 29, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    What a great opportunity, go for it! As long as you are able to get your advice and experiences across as you want to – for I imagine essentially your message will be as odds with their desire to maximise profit by selling more clothes and shoes! Good on them for asking you I suppose.

    • Reply Jen September 30, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Thanks Kathryn

  • Reply Emma Croft September 29, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    My thoughts are: How could you possibly share your story without mention of not buying new?!!! Also, I think there is more of a story in you not doing this post than in you doing it – but then you would have to get publicity for not doing it! I think the advice to write the post you want to write and they can take it or leave it is good. Having said all of that, I learnt yesterday that newspapers are surviving on the advertising revenue so every time you make it into the media you are effectively helping to sell stuff anyway! Rationale aside, do what your heart tells you! x

    • Reply Jen September 30, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      Hi Emme
      I can mention Buying Nothing New, but just not not buying new clothes-does that make sense?!
      Some good points- I need to do a bit more investigating!
      Thankyou πŸ™‚

  • Reply Charlotte Clark September 29, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Hmm. If they have said that you can’t mention about not buying new clothes, then that cuts out a lot of what you would like to say. It also makes me wonder if they really understand what you stand for. Personally, I see too much conflict of interest. They will control what you can and can’t say in the article, as they won’t want to lose any of their customers.

    • Reply Jen September 30, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      Thanks Charlotte-I definitely need to clarify whether or not I retain editorial control over the article

  • Reply shelleykitten September 29, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I think you’ll be reaching people who do endorse the fashion industry so if you change one person’s attitude then you’ve won one and it will be worth it……only my humble opinion of course!!

    • Reply Jen September 30, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Thanks Shelley πŸ™‚

  • Reply Claire Lindow September 29, 2014 at 11:49 am

    I think you should do it. You will have the opportunity to get your message out to people who may have never thought about your make do and mend message before. If you stay in trusted forms of media it could limit your message getting out. I think it does not say that you endorse the magazine and what the magazine stands for. So go for it!

    • Reply Jen September 30, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Thanks Claire!

  • Reply Andy from Workshopshed September 29, 2014 at 11:17 am

    You can’t get big companies to change unless you involve them. If your article spurs a lot of interest then that might encourage them to improve.
    I’d suggest you go for it. Obviously if they over edit you’d need to follow up with response, it’s in their best interests to make sure you are happy with the results too.

    • Reply Jen September 30, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      Great points Andy, thankyou!

  • Reply miydiySally September 29, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Our tuppence worth … it’s a great opportunity and let’s give your online retailer a little credit for giving your message the opportunity to reach it’s customers. The vast majority will have no idea that polyester takes 800 years to biodegrade and probably can’t fix a hem or a hole in a favourite garment either. Baby steps with a new audience – still worth it!

    • Reply Jen September 30, 2014 at 7:40 pm

      Thankyou! Yes, baby steps πŸ™‚

  • Reply butijustwantedapintofmilk September 29, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Go for it, just think about what you want to say to that readership that might get them thinking (Nicola Baird’s reading tips in comments above look interesting) rather than thinking about what they want you to say.
    It doesn’t matter how “perfectly” a small percentage of people live sustainably if those ideas stay within the group and don’t filter out to the wider community. Hold your head high, write it with pride, you are an ambassador for change.

    • Reply Jen September 29, 2014 at 11:22 am

      What a fabulous thing to say-thankyou!

      • Reply R September 29, 2014 at 11:29 am

        Will they link to your blog? That would be good. Then even if you don’t mention not buying new clothes in the article itself, if you peaked someone’s interest they could find your “normal” posts and find more out about your ideas in their entirety.

        I think it can be worked at from both ends, if all the fashionista’s in the world bought one less item of clothing a year (or a season I guess, I forget that people buy new clothes each season) how many converts to make do and mend would that equal?

        • Reply Jen September 30, 2014 at 7:25 pm

          Hi
          I’m not sure if they link to the blog-I’m kind of hoping so if they are not going to be paying me!
          As you say, one less item of clothing a season, from a lot of people, would make a big difference-food for thought-thankyou!

  • Reply beautifulorpractical September 29, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I would go for it unless you are uncomfortable with the ethics of the company. It is an opportunity to reach a new audience with the message that caring for your things can bring so much more pleasure than buying and throwing them away after a couple of uses. I used to work in a high end shoe shop and while we were obviously encouragedd to sell there was a real emphasis on care and durability which seems to have been lost over the years – if you need any tips PM me!

    • Reply Jen September 29, 2014 at 11:22 am

      Thanks so much, that’s really kind πŸ™‚

  • Reply shelleykitten September 29, 2014 at 9:51 am

    It’s going to reach the people who do endorse the fashion industry so if you change one person’s consumer ideology you’ve won one…..I’d go for it…..

    • Reply Jen September 29, 2014 at 11:21 am

      Thanks Shelley!

  • Reply beautytherapystudent September 29, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Do it! It will get people thinking and this company are paying for the privilage of getting people to think about re loving their old clothes and making the most of them rather than always going out and buying new πŸ™‚

    • Reply Jen September 29, 2014 at 11:21 am

      Sadly, they are not offering to pay me at the moment. And they’ve asked that I don’t mention not buying new clothes..!

      • Reply beautytherapystudent September 30, 2014 at 7:45 pm

        ahh i see, seems pointless then telling people this is how you can save yourself buying new clothes… without being able to say it. Still – if it drives traffic to your blog then you can use that as your time to encourage them to shop less x

  • Reply lizlovingandlearning September 29, 2014 at 8:56 am

    I agree with many comments already written.
    I don’t think it’s a problem if you are being paid so long as you keep to your principles. Why should they fill their publication with articles for free? That’s an ethical issue in itself! If you are able to manage without the money you could give it to something like Labour behind the Label and say so in the article.

    • Reply Jen September 29, 2014 at 11:21 am

      They haven’t offered to pay! There is some talk of vouchers (presumably to spend on the site) but they are no use to me as I wouldn’t use them. Maybe I could ask if they would make a donation to Labour Behind the Label instead? Great idea, thankyou!

  • Reply Loven Sunshine September 29, 2014 at 8:13 am

    If you are in doubt (and it sounds to me as if you are) then maybe say no and trust that other opportunities to get the word out will come along. They have so far and will continue to do so! If members of this company’s target audience (purchasers of new items) read your article and decide to make do with or mend what they have (and not buy) then they’ve lost custom. So the only reason that I can think of for them wanting to partner with you is so that *your* following become *their* potential customer base. I’m all for such partnerships when the ethical values of each party are easy companions. It would have to be an ‘Absolute Yes!’ for me to partner with anyone. But you are known for spending a year not buying anything new and this is a site for buying new – a huge clash of values from where I’m sitting… :-/

    • Reply Jen September 29, 2014 at 11:19 am

      Thankyou! As you say, it is a huge clash of values, but also a great opportunity to reach a whole new set of people, and maybe influence them, even a teeny bit. It’s so hard!

  • Reply nicola baird September 29, 2014 at 8:05 am

    1) There is no point only talking to a safe audience – tho don’t expect those new readers to be converted. Just don’t compromise your message. And can I suggest you also read George Marshall’s book on climate change Don’t Even Think About It as there is a lot of psychology in there that is transferable for your own messaging. 2) Of course if they are paying you – and if not WHY not whether it is in kind or cash – there are different questions to answer. But again, as long as it is clear it is SPONSORED post in the SEO/title etc and also tweets then there’s not really a dilemma. If you don’t know here already do have a look at Dilys Williams’ work on fashion sustainability at the London College of Fashion. Good luck! Nicola

    • Reply Jen September 29, 2014 at 11:18 am

      Hi Nicola
      At the moment, they are not offering to pay-there is some talk of vouchers (presumably to spend on the site) but that is not much use to me!
      I really think they should be paying the bloggers who are contributing, as they are a company who are presumably making a lot of money and can afford to do so. I guess from their perspective, they are offering the opportunity to get a blog post out there to all their followers (millions) so the exposure is good.
      I’ll have a look at Dilys’ work, and the George Marshall book-thankyou!

  • Reply The Happy Beans September 29, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Yes, the company is embroiled in the whole fast fashion issue, but the only thing that will fix that issue is companies changing their approach thanks to customer demand, and customers will only demand change if they are informed. More and more companies are realising that things are changing but are accused of jumping on the bandwagon if they try to change too (they are in a ‘damned if they do, damned if they don’t’ position). The fact that they’ve asked you to right a post must be a step in the right direction, so I think you should take it.

    I think the best way to approach anything like this while keeping your principles intact is to not accept any money and write exactly the post you want – if they don’t like it or want to change it, withdraw your support.

    • Reply Jen September 29, 2014 at 11:16 am

      Good advice-thankyou!

  • Reply indie48 September 29, 2014 at 7:40 am

    If I was you I’d be interested in discovering what they know about you and your values and how they expect a blog from you fits into their business plan or would to assist them to sell more items. Maybe they have additional agendas. Find out. See what you can discover out about the company or the individuals behind it. make their offer a two way street, a negotiation. Then decide.

    • Reply Jen September 29, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Thankyou! I’ve been approached by an intermediary who is organising a whole series of posts on New Year’s Resolutions for the site.

  • Reply carla September 29, 2014 at 7:25 am

    I think if you wrote an honest post you might find they reject it. You could emphasis the point of if your buying new clothes get good quality that way they will last for years…or you can accessorise old clothes with a new scarf that way you don’t buy a whole new outfit. Clothes sharing between friends?
    It’s a good opportunity and if you can get your point across well enough it won’t look like you’re endorsing the site xxxx

    • Reply Jen September 29, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Forgot to say in the post-they have asked that I don’t mention not buying new clothes! More about the general ethos, and I guess talk in terms of not buying other things new!

      • Reply carla September 29, 2014 at 2:15 pm

        Hmm I don’t know kind of goes against what you believe in xx

        • Reply Jen September 30, 2014 at 7:29 pm

          Thanks for the thoughts Carla-it certainly needs some careful thought

  • Reply jhwilliams70 September 29, 2014 at 7:22 am

    Hmmmm big decision but I would do my research and make sure they aren’t using it to promote something that’s fad. Or they might take the mickey & then move onto something else. It does seem rather odd but I don’t know know the whole context. I would be wary but just research as much as you can. And good luck! X

    • Reply Jen September 29, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Thanks for the advice πŸ™‚

  • Reply helen marshall September 29, 2014 at 7:18 am

    i think if you do it then even if you only change or make one person think then it will be worth it.By getting the message out is the only way you can hope to affect change.Go for it and well done!! xxxx

    • Reply Jen September 29, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Thanks Helen!

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