Kintsugi is changing - an open letter from our founder

Disability, Fashion, Inclusion, small business -

Kintsugi is changing - an open letter from our founder

Hi guys,

It’s been a whirlwind year so far – for all of us. But, I’m sure many of you will agree, it’s also been a time for reflection and for thinking carefully about the future we want to create.

Since founding Kintsugi, I’ve always been sure of one thing: I want to create a future where disabled people are represented, valued, and understood by the fashion industry. One small brand can’t achieve all this, but there were disability-conscious companies before ours and a whole load more have sprouted up since. If we collaborate and highlight each other’s strengths, we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

The past couple of years have been tumultuous for me personally, punctuated by a mental health crisis that landed me in hospital. My privilege – in that I can lean on family and friends for financial, practical, and emotional support – has protected Kintsugi, which is itself an extension of me. I have also learned a lot about business.

I realised recently that I need to surround myself with people who know more than me – in all sorts of areas. I met a co-founder who has been brilliant at looking at Kintsugi as a business under a microscope and free from the emotional attachment I have to it. Together, we’ve made a few decisions for the sake of the brand’s survival, strategy and (hopefully) success and I want to share those with you now.

Kintsugi Clothing has just launched an offshoot brand: K, Babe. This brand sells our printed tees (and our upcoming designs) as well as some other pretty rad stuff, all focused around diversity, inclusion, protest, and empowerment. The prices will be lower than the ‘core’ Kintsugi collection and the vibe will be different.

We hope this is reflected in the name.

“K, babe” – to me – is something you’d say dismissively, with an eye roll, when someone said something offensive to you but it’s alright because you don’t respect them anyway! What I’ve heard a lot of from the disabled community is that microaggressions (and sometimes outright aggressions) are rife. But I’ve also seen the sass that is so often served back at the aggressor/s and I’ve LOVED IT! This is the thought process behind the name of Kintsugi’s offshoot brand.

Kintsugi Clothing will also continue to have its own collection of smart, high-quality womenswear, with both inclusive and adaptive designs mixed in. The original concept for the brand was sustainable, beautiful, long-lasting capsule wardrobe pieces with clever design features. But, in an attempt to serve everyone as soon as possible, I've made life incredibly difficult for the brand. 

By dropping the original retail prices, I’ve squeezed an already tight margin to breaking point. Our materials are high-quality, sustainably sourced and from factories with fair working practices. We have to start reflecting that in our retail prices, especially at this early stage when we’re simply not big enough to lower our prices by ordering thousands of each design!

Within the coming week, I’ll be raising the prices of our garments slightly. There is still nothing in the collection over £100 and we are as competitive as (often more than) similar brands in this niche when it comes to price. We will continue to work towards honing and improving our designs, so they add the most value to our customers in all sorts of ways – as is the nature of inclusive design.

We offer Klarna as a payment method too, so customers can split the cost of any purchases into three, interest-free payments. It’s important to me that the brand is accessible to as many people as possible and I think this flexible approach is a good way to address that. Additionally, we’ll throw end of season sales going forward, so anyone subscribed to our newsletter or following us on social
media will be informed of those events when they occur.

Another of our priorities is to increase the size range of our garments across Kintsugi and K, Babe. This is something we’ve heard loud and clear from across our customer base and we are responding. So, stay tuned!

Finally, thank you to everyone who has supported Kintsugi (and me) so far. I’ve made some real friends out of this experience so far and I’m so here for the sisterhood I’ve felt from you guys!

Stay in touch, stay safe, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything.

Love from Emma.

K, Babe is on Instagram (kbabe_apparel), Facebook (kbabeapparel) and Twitter (KBabeClothing) 

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