How do you select your brands?

How do you select your brands?

A deeper dive into how we select the brands we carry at Little Wares.
Reading How do you select your brands? 5 minutes Next Sustainability Terms Cheat Sheet

I prefer black & white matters. Getting used to grey areas is hard for me, and that is exactly what the world of retail is-- grey. There is no one single formula that dictates what brands are and are not worthy of supporting. 

Fast-fashion retailers make some really cute, really affordable clothing but at the cost of producing massive environmental waste, using toxic chemicals in manufacturing/production, and ultimately making low-quality garments that are literally NOT supposed to last so that you will buy more. A never-ending process.

When you start examining smaller, slow-fashion brands, you realize just how many opportunities there are from conception of a garment until it's on your child for the company to hold itself to a higher ethical standard. I don't know about you, but with the state of the planet and its people right now, I feel strongly about only supporting brands that are doing their very best to be mindful of this. 

The difficult part is, it is easy to get mislead by brands that look cute. I can't tell you how many brands I've had to cross off my list because although they have cute, affordable, gender neutral offerings, they are producing without paying mind to the where/how/why behind what they're doing. It's so frustrating. 

When you purchase from Little Wares, this is what we are evaluating in the brands we carry:

1. Are they transparent in their practices from the start? 

If a brand isn't already practicing transparency, chances are they're not making the most environmentally, people-friendly choices. Most of our brands have pages on their websites dedicated to sharing about their sourcing, manufacturing, ethical and sustainability efforts. Others even talk about their ongoing efforts or achievable goals that they are working toward. 

2. Are they focused on using natural, organic and/or recycled materials?

We want organic materials because a world with less toxic chemicals is safer for both the people handling and wearing the materials, but also for the planet. We want to use natural, sustainable materials like cotton because, well, they're grown in the ground, not made in a factory. There are however instances where materials that we wear or use aren't able to be grown naturally. That's where we look to choose brands that are innovative in working with recycled materials, and using as little synthetic material as possible. (more about this in a blog post about our shoe selection). 

Just like our clothing, our toys and essentials are held to the same standards. The vast majority of these are made with natural materials like wood and water-based dyes. Our essentials are made from sustainable materials and even selected based on their recyclability. (see each product description for a further breakdown).

3. Are they mindful of their employees?

When we say employees, we mean the people working directly for the company as well as the people manufacturing their clothing/products. We want to support companies that are investing in the fair pay, fair treatment, and fair working conditions of their employees. It's just a non-negotiable in this day & age. 

4. Are they mindful of their customers?

I consider myself a customer of these brands, just like you. Ultimately, everything boils down to creating the highest quality products at a fair price for us, the customers. We exclusively work with brands that we believe offer a fair price to their customers for the quality and efforts put in to every item. This will look different from brand to brand, based on their size and scale. We also expect these brands to take responsibility for themselves if anything is amiss-- they need to have excellent customer service and ensure their customer is satisfied. 

5. Are their products meaningfully made?

The mentality of Little Wares is to have the essentials and keep your items to the minimum (I know, I know, sounds crazy to have a retailer telling you to buy less). That being said, we want you to invest in clothing & products that are absolutely necessary for development and will actually last you for months or years to come. 

 Every brand is different from one to the next, but you can rest assured that if they are sold on Little Wares, we feel confident knowing that they are making the best efforts in all of these ways that you can feel good supporting them, too.