Profit / How we operate / slow business - Our goals for 2022

Posted by Info Montloup on

“The rhythm of making garments and other items helps us feel at home in our bodies, no matter what is going on within them. It’s a coming home of sorts, to the rhythm we know we hold and to the act of making itself.

That’s the magic of making and sewing and stitching. That we hold it within us. That it’s a home we can return to again and again. By ourselves, with others – it’s the same rhythm regardless. It is ours. And it lives within us.” “

This quote by Betsy Greer was first read in an article for Tauko Magazine.

Its’ beautiful, transcending truth made me want to share it with you.

At Montloup, the new year symbolizes both a fresh start and a moment to ponder over last year’s endeavors. It’s also a period where I rekindle with my very first love, knitting, by teaching classes at Montreal’s Contemporary Textile Center. I reconnect with the fibre, the yarn, to create various patterns and textures upon inspiration. I feel very privileged to be able to teach this craft and share some of my knowledge with the real world.

Throughout February, I felt compelled to share a little bit more about Montloup’s operations. For transparency purposes, but also to help you better comprehend our mission and hopes for the future.

[ Credit Adriana Castillo ]

Montloup’s prime purpose is to contribute positively to an industry that has grown to be disconnected from its’ origins, the earth, tradition, and beauty.

To do this, we invest much of our time researching new fibres and new suppliers. Unsurprisingly, this quest comes with a cost.

Let’s talk about these costs…

If you buy a garment under 10 dollars, it means that someone, often a woman, is paying the full price somewhere on the planet. This isn’t breaking news: word that “fast-fashion” is a system of oppression that pollutes, exploits poverty, and reduces some of our fellow humans to slavery has finally gained some ground in mainstream media.

In this system, neither the manufacturers nor the consumers pay the fair price. Those who pay are the ones making the clothes in despicable working conditions, those of whom were not paid throughout 2020 (you may want to look up the #payup movement on social media for more information). Those who pay the price are also us, indirectly, throughout the numerous climate catastrophes that we’ve witnessed these past years that can also be traced to the two-year pandemic we’ve been dealing with.

Nonetheless, those paying the big price are the countries who export fast fashion, commonly known as the “Global South”. En anglais, on les appelle les pays du « Global South ». These people are in extremely hot regions of the world that will soon be unhabitable if they aren’t already too arid to allow cultivating the land. It goes without saying that climate justice goes hand in hand with racial and social justice.

At Montloup, we prefer paying more money, knowing that our expenditures aren’t promoting a system in which we do not believe. Investing in quality eco-fibres is adding weight to the scale of justice. It’s firmly standing by our choices; it’s actively working toward a paradigm shift.

So, this cost is split between you and us, when you choose to buy our fabric.

[ Credit Adriana Castillo ]

The price of each fabric is calculated using a simple rule.

About 60% of the total sum is used to cover fabrication costs: the fibre, the yarn, the thread, the knitting and the finishing processes. Then comes the percentage associated to our various exploitation fees, be it our salaries, rent, electricity, web site expenses…). Lastly, we add our profit margin, and I would like to elaborate on this point.

For the time being, Montloup is an incorporated business with only one owner, me (Lila). I say “the time being” because other administration schemes interest me, but I’ll elaborate in another article.

Technically, the benefits I gain from my enterprise are mine to hold, and every year, I choose to reinvest them in my business.

Rather than take on a loan, I chose to sponsor my own projects. It’s a blissful reappropriation of my choices, without owing anyone anything.

Our profit margin is what allows us to benefit and invest in the research and new material development. After salaries, this is the second biggest annual expense, and the reason why I chose to pursue Montloup’s quest for better options.

[ Credit Bergman Rivera ]

By buying our fabric, you are indirectly financing this research, and for that I am extremely grateful.

So, if our fabric is “too expensive”, we are not sorry.

Therefore, our core mission remains to render accessible quality fabric to the actors of our local fashion community. This is the reason why we developed our collaborative presale program. I intend on promoting this option to gain more participants who can actively help create the next available collection, in the upcoming year.

In a previous article – As we strive to do better – I shared with you the obstacles we’ve faced in the last year regarding organic cotton supplies. Shortages, inflation, transport crisis, pandemic… this unexpected cocktail of challenges forced me to rethink our supply chain,and our ways in general. Before the pandemic, people would pressure fabric and thread fabricants into creating a certain amount of supplies in advance to satisfy a potential market. Today, the tables have turned, and we can observe a clear paradigm shift. If we want to encourage organic agriculture, we must first support the farmers. By promising them constant orders, they can start investing in more expensive and efficient methods, as their investments will be compensated by important orders, at a more interesting price than that of conventional cotton.

For this exact reason, we’ve added a new supplier to our list : Bergman Rivera.

[ Credit Bergman Rivera ]

Bergman Rivera is an organisation based in Peru. They work with over 200 cotton producers, going from long to extra-long (the Pima) fibres, as well as native cotton (naturally tinted). They are currently developing projects in regenerative agriculture because they deeply care for soil health.

Their aim is to create a link between the enterprises, the designers, and the producers by giving more power and value to the farmers. They are also the only South American enterprise that is certified GOTS..

All the organic cotton fabrics sold during this month’s collaborative presale will be made from their fibre.

[ Credit Bergman Rivera ]

Sustainability is also making choices and compromises that will ensure business prosperity. Once again, this year I choose to keep working with bamboo viscose.Ideally, I would eventually find a substitute fibre for it.

Why?

Because the process of making viscose can be a dangerous one for the environment and for workers. It’s classified as an eco-friendly fiber, because bamboo is a shrub that grows abundantly and without pesticides. Bamboo forests regenerate quickly and reabsorb an important quantity of carbon.Therefore, the transformation process requires chemical agents, and must be rigorously supervised. . Viscose can be created in more eco-friendly ways, but most fibres come from overseas where it is difficult to obtain transparency regarding the process.

Although we continue using this material, we do not wish to promote it.

There you go! Now you know our secrets.

We wish you a wonderful 2022!

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