It's pretty fair to say that 2018 has been the year we've all become more 'woke' (yes I said it!). We've been up in arms about the treatment of women with the #metoo movement, most of us (maybe not Trump, but that's another post entirely!) know that global warming is a very serious, universal issue and the trend of buying local, better quality products has come into the spotlight, meaning good things for independent brands like us!
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This year has had it's ups and downs for everybody; and with Brexit mere months away, the UK's industries have been a hot topic. Last Christmas Not On The Highstreet said that there had been an increase in people buying more thoughtful gifts for the people they love, with where the product has come from and the materials used, being more important than ever. We're pretty sure we can speak for all small businesses, when we say; EVERY sale means so much. ROR started with our boss Holly having a vision of creating fun, individual and unique clothing and accessories for everyone. Fast forward to December 2018 and we work with our incredible illustrator, Dom & Ink, our wonderful team (may be a little bit biased) is growing, and we have been busier than ever. This didn't happen over night. Every single customer has made ROR what it is today and we couldn't be more thankful.
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Small businesses are a 24 hour job. It's our baby and our every thought, idea and plan is a constant stream. We don't stop, and we're thankful we get the opportunity to bring our ideas to life through our work. To us, looking after our planet is not a trend. From the start, we've made sure we source ethical, fair trade cotton clothing and accessories, to ensure our dream is also helping others. Creating something that is great quality, that someone can keep and treasure forever is one of our motives. Personalisation has always been our thing, and we know (from many messages!) that this always makes our gifts special, and makes the recipient feel a lot of thought has gone into the gift.
Christmas is a time when little businesses like ours work over time! I mean, we're pretty busy all year round, but the festive period is when you lot like to really make us work! It's actually one of the best times of year, as we get to see what designs you really like, who you like to give to and you also come up with some very cheeky ideas for the personalised tees (you naughty lot!). It genuinely makes us smile when you pick a design that we've come up with in one of our many brain storming meetings! The fact you choose to buy and give our designs as gifts makes us smile every single day. Buying from any small business is also great for the British economy! Yes, Brexit may seem scary, but whatever happens, supporting UK businesses will always be a good thing.
With many large chains sadly going out of business in recent years, it is proof that we're no longer shopping like we used to. Amazon and other large online retailers have been growing and although you may be able to find a bargain, you can't always guarantee the quality or longevity of the product. This is not to say don't shop on there (we still do on the odd occasion!), but we try our best to think about sustainability and the ethical journey of the gifts we buy, to make sure the people who made it, are treated fairly.
We're also very conscious that this time of year being a tough financial time for families. With reports of the average family spending an extra £600 in December, the pressure to buy can be unbearable, with many people going in to debt. We don't condone buying for the sake of it, and last week Martin Lewis was trending on twitter after he declared that more families should let each other know when they can't afford gifts, and instead should concentrate on spending time with each other. We have to say, we think this is a brilliant idea, and many people will be relieved they don't have the financial pressure. This is what makes buying from smaller, independent businesses extra special, as you know, when you do choose to spend money on ROR products, you're not just helping the British economy, but also the people who provide our fair trade cotton, and of course a very grateful ROR team!