In Search of a More Immediately Quantifiable Value Proposition

One of my first ideas was “Copywriting Packages” and I believe this option continues to be the best value for money and effort spent for my potential clients

I’ve been doing a lot of reading, considering and consolidating recently and have some big adjustments to make on my website, which will include removing (or reassigning) Small Business Excellence and replacing it with an Insight section that will serve as a new small business marketing education resource –

Something similar had of course been my intention with SBE, and I hope to be able to return to this initiative one day, but right now it has been recommended (by one of the authors whose work I’m currently reading – Dave Holloway, Wonder Leads) that providing educational and informative resources for visitors to view and gain value from is indeed part of the way forward.

I also intend to focus my efforts on providing a more immediately quantifiable value proposition, “Increase your brand influence online”, as opposed to any synonym of “boost your business” –

Because it is easy to discover the rough amount of web space (including social media and 3rd party space) which one business possesses – it is harder to track their paid online advertising but those such as Google and Facebook ads are also easily discoverable…

  • I can research the sales landscape/ industry which a particular small business is seeking to make an impact and make gains within, assess which competitors have the strongest and most effective marketing campaigns, and build a marketing strategy to cut through such competition.

When I started my business, one of my first ideas was “Copywriting Packages” and I believe this option continues to be the best value for money and effort spent for my potential clients.

But making gains and keeping gains will require clients to make a commitment to producing great marketing material and content, and for new businesses and those on low budgets, such a commitment to up to date marketing and content material may appear like an unaffordable investment, at least to begin with –

But this is why all my services are currently free (no strings), I want prospects to be able to Try Before They Buy, and this trial will consist of a significant sized digital marketing/ copywriting package: The first step towards gaining and maintaining brand authority online.

I very much need to change my Information and Services page especially in order to focus around this better quantifiable product, “Increase your brand influence online”, and personal proposals to business owners all need to be focused around this more specific value proposition too.

I have my first lot of business cards, my “keys to the county” South Yorkshire travel pass! And I have the other stationary I need to create and hand deliver personalised product offers –

It will be a slow process, but as we know, a year has already passed, and to give up on patience or not to trust the process right now would be foolish.

In the meantime, I have a pilot podcast episode to analyse and edit! I recorded it sat at Doncaster train station several days ago, and in between train station noises, wind plus turbulence, and me being unsure how close I should hold the microphone, there might be some salvageable pieces to make into a short podcast –

I certainly hope so anyway as this is another avenue I’m seeking to use to build trust (through dialogue, even if only one way…) Podcasting is another form of media creation digital creators/ small business owners are encouraged to embrace! Plus, I enjoy listening to a good podcast (usually something paranormal, but that’s besides the point) …

I’ve had the choice between concentrating on unemployment or self-employment and small business-ing for podcasting, and although focusing on building small businesses will theoretically earn me an audience closer aligned with my prospective target audience, I feel a great solidarity with the great many who are unhappily unemployed, and want to acknowledge and encourage those individuals too –

After-all, “ungainfully self-employed” and “unemployed” amount to the same thing. So, maybe I’ll just have to start two slightly different podcasts, but again, the issue of productivity, efficiency etc arise – How can I create valuable, up to date content, read relevant materials and conduct research, create pitches/ proposals, and complete a variety of other business tasks, AND stay on top of everything?

I need more voluntary experience and I need clients, so unless an activity does not positively improve my prospects of such, then I will need to reassess if it’s necessary.

There’s plenty more to say but even more to do, so –

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What Would Grant Cardone Do?

I need a new angle, a new idea, a better way to communicate my value…

“Terms of Ill-Endearment” has closed the chapter on my first attempts at gaining interest in my products –

The bottom line is that I’ve little clue how to introduce myself in a way which effectively communicates my value.

At the job centre, they tell me not to draw attention to the length of time I have been job searching: I ask them, Isn’t it better for me to acknowledge it openly, rather than attempt to hide or lie about it to a potential employer or customer?

Whichever one of us is right can be disputed, but it cannot change the fact that on paper, my years of unemployment and health problems means that I have very, very little to recommend myself with.

No matter how skilled, competent or qualified a writer I am, I still struggle to come across as inspiring or trustworthy –

I’m still a stranger. So, can I draw people’s interest in another way?

I have spoken about this before, but what if I lead my business ambitions with teaching English to foreign learners –

I only need to prove I’m a native speaker, and my copywriting can prove my strength at written language too. I may even gain work writing English language marketing material for foreign companies this way, or proofreading English marketing or documents…

Whatever I choose to do, I cannot continue along the trajectory I’m on currently on of trying to build trust with British companies in the way I am doing.

My confidence wavers every time I have to mention my current situation as a long-term unemployed person (known colloquially as a “benefits scrounger”), and I fear I may be becoming less and less convincing with every attempt at confidence.

I need a new angle, a new idea, a better way to communicate my value –

And a new audience.

Perhaps it is not scientific to seek to change so many variables at once, but the only element of my business model which is strong is my product itself.

This product needs to be presented to someone with a reason to trust me – such as a business owner abroad with a need to advertise in English.

I’ve spoken often about the law of averages/ LoA, and my need to simply speak to a lot more business owners –

But the LoA requires the basic business pitch and value propositions to be sound, and from the lack of interest in my product so far, it’s reasonable to conclude that my pitch and value proposition are not sound.

What Would Grant Cardone Do? He’d sort it out, then begin relentlessly pitching again.

So I need to Sort it out… And begin pitching and pitching some more.

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The Self-Employment Pathway

Do I sound like a scammer, offering free/ no strings support?

For my next trick, I will begin contacting local newspapers and ask if they would like to support start ups and small business owners in their area – 

A small ad here or there offering professional, digital marketing support 100% free to local businesses isn’t hugely unreasonable!

I had an interesting exchange with a Facebook user in the early hours of this morning after I had introduced myself and offered to support a fellow start up with free marketing support – he accused me of being fake, a charlatan and a scammer. He also said that copywriters don’t have “insurance” and that he works in marketing so he knows

Well, I knew immediately, of course, that this man was ignorant, and an internet troll (he had continued on to insult another user’s web design ability and to question their legitimacy), BUT it made me think just a little… 

Do I sound like a scammer, offering free/ no strings support? Perhaps I should instead stress that I am new and eager to build my portfolio THEREFORE I’m offering free support? I do say this sometimes, but not every time…

An advisor at the job centre scheme I attend said I should stress my need to build upon my portfolio. She also said (and after much build up from another advisor that she would surely be able to help), that she couldn’t be my advisor as yet because I’m not currently gaining clients.

This is after the self-employment advisor at the job centre said similar – they won’t help me until I’m earning. 

This was after regular advisors at both places had told me so many times that their in-house “self employment expert” would be able to advise me.

This is the help those on “self-employment” pathways receive where I live. Perhaps it is just me – perhaps every other person who has been allowed to follow a self-employment pathway has become gainfully self-employed quite easily by themselves, and without any prior business experience.

I won’t further discuss the gnawing sadness I felt at this second and final refusal of help. It does nothing for my eternally diminished sense of ego – yes, this is me with a diminished ego!

Perhaps you think I’m neglecting to share some part of the story? That they would agree to help if I wasn’t so…? 

I hope you can accept the answer is simply, “If I wasn’t so hopeless” –

But owning a business is SO NEW to me… And before I can receive advice from either the job centre or their associated schemes, I have to make it work alone.

But maybe that’s as it should be. They will have no part to claim in my success because they will never have aided me.

I will endeavour not to be made spiteful by such things, but again, it is a sense of humiliation. Also, however, it is a loss for other start ups who could benefit from my skills as a digital marketer – I speak, of course, in reference to my offer to support others on the self employment pathway with free digital marketing consultancy and assistance.

So, I’ll get on with the offers I want to make to those local papers and publications. And I will consider how not to sound like a scammer…

I am also considering how to begin a YouTube channel and use it to include presentations of the possibilities available with great copy – a channel I can refer potential clients to and also include as an extra resource on my website.

It’s pointless having a dedication to the “law of averages” when I don’t have the best version of my value proposition to share with those I am contacting – it’s also pointless spending forever considering this value proposition because I needed it done yesterday. So many yesterdays since.

But, again, this is my impatience. And I need to get on with the best, short scripts I can, along with the Canva presentations I’ll need to use for video.

Still a long road yet, but at least it’s an open road!

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Break Through the Babel of Your Competitors

The goal isn’t simply to gain a purchase from a customer, but to gain and KEEP their loyalty

My target audience is compromised of individuals with small businesses trading online. These businesses include independent fashion brands, sustainable brands, artists and crafts persons.

Key to understanding the motives of my customers will be studying their industries, competitors and other related products available to them, such as those also focused on building small business influence and success –

These alternative products (including but not limited to other copywriters) are my competition, and whichever one of us presents the best value proposition will win business from small business owners searching the market.

I will focus my initial efforts on researching and thoroughly understanding three of the main online industries, which I’ve already listed above: Small fashion brands, sustainable brands, and art and crafts work.

When I began to build my own business, much of my initial research gleamed much the same in way of motivations, limitations and aspirations for my target audience as for myself:

  • To gain a wider online influence
  • To stand out from my competitors
  • To increase my market share
  • To become a leader in my industry

But each industry has its own additional factors and nuances, and to cater properly to my target audiences, I must commit to discovering them all.

Much more research is therefore vital for any MASSIVE, and effective action to take place – my value proposition has to be both prolific and strongly relevant.

Every brand requires an authentic BRAND VOICE in order to be heard amongst the babel of their competitors –

And if your brand STANDS FOR SOMETHING which RESONANTES with your target audience such as:

  • Good quality fashion produced by UK designers (for fashion lovers wanting to support local brands)
  • Eco-friendly products sourced fairly from suppliers and which respect the Earth and all its inhabitants (for the ethically conscious)
  • Locally produced artwork and crafts work (for supporters of artistic creators and lovers of unique, beautiful things)

Then proclaim your brand’s MISSION from the metaphorical rafters!

Business is EARNED through:

  • FANTASTIC SALES SPACES (such as online shops featuring excellent user experience)
  • SHARP, CUSTOMER-FOCUSED MARKETING (jam-packed full of value, benefits, and in a LANGUAGE your customers can respond to, across a variety of popular SOCIAL PLATFORMS)
  • VALUE PROPOSITIONS which beat those of your competitors (give them what they want, and do it better than anyone else!)

There is (DIY free or paid) customer demographic and psychographic data to discover and assess (in order to further understand your customers means and motivations) by means of research through forums or surveys, and there are particulars such as BRAND TONE and CONTENT VIBE to scrutinise and improve.

Those on ALL BUDGETS must be creative and INNOVATIVE in dealing with the frequent challenges which occur with ever evolving INDUSTRY TRENDS and CUSTOMER TASTES –

And of course, the GOAL isn’t simply to gain a purchase from a customer, but to GAIN and KEEP THEIR LOYALTY and build your brand through ORGANIC MEANS such as WORD OF MOUTH.

It’s a lot to consider for start ups, including my own. And only massive, positive ACTION will see these challenges CONQUERED –

 Action and patience.  

Pressure and time. That and a big goddam poster.

Red

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Missing Something?

It doesn’t matter that I can do it, it matters that I have not garnered the trust necessary to get on with doing it

Yesterday evening I came to the conclusion, “I think I’ve missed a step.”

I have discussed “trust building” and the issues I have faced regarding “collapsed connections” as a result of long-term unemployment etc etc.

And in response to my difficulties connecting with small business owners presently:

I have neither the recent, relevant employment history –

Nor the level of experience –

Nor the basic personal or professional connections required to get off to a strong start building a copywriting business…

It doesn’t matter that I can do it, it matters that I have not garnered the trust necessary to get on with doing it. 

But she told me I was like water. Water can carve its way even through stone…and when trapped, water makes a new path

Chiyo, Memoirs of a Geisha

It feels like a damning conclusion, but it isn’t really. It means simply that I have missed a step –

I have offered voluntary copywriting services to more than several organisations; charities, good causes, but correspondences have collapsed as work has not been found for a voluntary copywriter.

However, I haven’t applied the law of averages well in this regard – I can certainly contact many more organisations and offer free digital marketing assistance. 

Therefore, this avenue is not closed, although it has been quiet to start.

Helping another business or organisation achieve it’s marketing objectives seems, in theory, (at least to me), like a positive way to build trust – and the social proof – I need to, in turn, build my own business. But like applying for any sort of voluntary work, you need at least a CV full of warm words and glittering skills in order to even have half a chance …

(Inaudible sigh)

I’ve plenty of examples of voluntary copy in my Portfolio, but nothing beats a personal recommendation from a friend or trusted party.

So, what to do?

Well, I did feel despondent for a moment, and then I realised, “Well, I’ve just jumped a step.”

So, I’m going to have to think way far outside the box in order to achieve the level of “social proof” I need to appear remotely trust-worthy.

Does it seem impossible? No – but then again, nothing seems impossible when you’ve committed to never give up.

I had an awful time in school and left without friends and without the confidence to make them. I then began to relearn how to connect with my peers in my early twenties, but a few years after that I became ill and crashed out of university and work.

And you already know what happened after that.

Fate has had it that I am pursuing a type of self-employment which relies heavily on “Who you know”… And perhaps I should have thought more about this when I started my copywriting course last year, but I had reasoned that voluntary work would help me gain the trust and experience I needed.

Teaching English as a foreign language/ TEFL was an employment path I pursued long before this, and before my manual dexterity problems made it nearly impossible to use a computer or smartphone for several years.

Last night it occurred to me that TEFL does not require the same amount of “Who you know”, although lots of great reviews does help – it always helps!

Maybe the trust-building step which I’ve missed, I can achieve through a combination of proper law of average intros and proposals to organisations and good causes, AND a great TEFL offer –

I remember, and it seems so many years ago now, planning and designing English courses. It helped that I had a strong interest in language learning myself as I could anticipate which part of learning would require the most attention and innovation, and could it help if I returned at least three quarters pelt to this manner of pursuit…

If I returned properly to my TEFL responsibilities, might I connect with more learners and business owners who simply want to improve their English in order to improve their own opportunities, professional or otherwise?

Is there an appropriate target audience to understand and cater for –

Might opportunities be more forthcoming for Ruth the English Tutor, than for Ruth the Copywriter?

I’m qualified for both and I will pursue both… Maybe I can recover from my missed step, like water which weaves through stone.

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“Mental Health at Work”, a summary

“You don’t need to rush. You’re doing a lot just being here with me.”

– Dad, poorly and 71

I’ve tried not to be overly personal with any of these posts because I’m here as a professional –

But “mental health at work” is a thing, and it could be deemed appropriate or acceptable for me to discuss some of the human challenges which influence my journey as a start up (and low budget) business owner.

I have once shared that long-term unemployment can leave you very isolated. Without the cash to go out and enjoy good times with friends, nor pay for presents or holidays, let alone contribute fairly to normal things like food and fuel, connections quickly begin to breakdown.

I’ve met a couple of women I’ve cared about very much, and been unable to develop healthy or equal relationships with them. The second woman I actually warned in advance that I didn’t know when I would be back in employment (and so was unsuitable for a relationship), and we had a bad relationship for a long while before mutually agreeing we were no good.

I remember my nan always told me, “Make sure you have your own money”, and I did manage that for some years before illness and mild disability struck.

And now I can choose to look at myself and see “Failure”, or I can see “Survivor”.

Either way, I’m broke. My CV is shot, my connections are mostly dead and I’m introducing my unemployed but self-employed self much like a girl shouting down a dark corridor hoping that somebody at the end might be listening.

And all of that can make you despondent, or determined –

And I’m determined. My determination is tempered (or interfered with) by such as “imposter syndrome”, but any self-appraising individual can be guilty of accusing themselves of occasionally not being up to the task at hand.

But nothing ventured, nothing gained:

None of us has the time to tell ourselves, “I’ll never be able to do this”. If we only live once, then why not put our all into our one go at life?

I can find a pit and shrivel up and die in it, or I can say, “Sod everything – I’m alive and healthy enough, and I’m going to keep fighting.”

And that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll just have to keep jabbering into the ether and trust that if I cast a wide enough net, healthy leads will follow.

I hope that whoever reads this post will not think less of me for sharing what I have labelled as “human challenges”.

Nobody has a straight path through life or maybe not even through their career, and I only have sought to share a piece of mine –

My business exists to strengthen the work of entrepreneurs similar to me: Those who are striving and who could benefit from accessible, skilled support in order to help their business be as successful as it can be.

I’m Ruth and I do digital marketing through copywriting –

Feel free to get in touch and introduce yourself and your business!

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Not a stupid question: Consumers have different priorities, why should saving the planet be one of them?

Can “sustainability” be sold differently… Maybe more selfishly, to appeal to people’s highest priority, themselves?

Another Christmas come and gone, another New Year, and has society changed?

Has the Greta effect worked, or perhaps have we been inspired by the green messages of (globetrotting) celebrities like William Windsor, and David Attenborough?

Do we remain unmoved by the plight of the Earth, or are we slowly starting to change?

The continual uptake of plant-based diets is a significant, sustainable change which many individuals and families have made. But many who follow vegan diets still contribute to greenhouse gas emissions through other purchases such as fuel, energy, and fashion.

Much fewer sustainable alternatives are available to replace car fuel, aeroplane fuel, home energy and fast fashion however, and because of this, and in order to “live sustainably”, consumers need to go out of their way to find eco-alternatives.

But why should they do that?

People have busy lives, difficult lives in many instances. So why should people care about living cleaner, and less wastefully? That would surely be at the bottom of a consumer’s list of priorities.

And it is in most instances.

But maybe people just aren’t being sold “sustainability” suitably?

Perhaps the wrong benefits are being emphasised?

Instead of “saving the planet”, maybe consumers should be encouraged to “save their wallet”…

All that clutter used to be money, and that money used to be time

Anonymous

So, every disposable item we buy and waste is money taken from our purses and dropped straight in the rubbish. But is this entirely accurate?

Money may buy us cheap, poorly-made goods, but it also buys us cheap, reasonably-made goods, and therefore, convenience.

So, whether as a sustainable option may be better made and may save us money in the long run, how many of us are patient enough to even wait “for the long run”?

How many of us instead prefer to replace items more regularly in order to avoid “shabbiness” or to follow new trends?

I recently saw a post on the #sustsinablefashionblogger Instagram hashtag which showed a fashion blogger standing before a pile of vintage clothes and holding a sign which read:

You can buy all the expensive vintage tees, but you can’t buy good vintage style

Instagrammer

You know where you can buy style?

From fast-fashion juggernauts like Shein. And on Shein online, you can buy six items of clothing for the same price as one expensive, vintage tee.

It’s a similar story for other purveyors of fast fashion…

Wanting to be stylish isn’t a behaviour which changes, especially not among younger people (the biggest consumers of fast fashion), so how is it easiest to follow fashion, and remain ‘in style’?

For most people, you remain in some semblance ‘stylish’ by seeking the least expensive and most accessible options available.

If fashion is still important to vintage customers, can fast fashion consumers be blamed for adhering to new trends and their ever-changing rules?

These are the things which are important to consumers; seemingly shallow and unimportant things (in the vast scale of existence) such as popular fashion, something which is still more important than “saving the planet” to most consumers.

So, where does that leave you as a sustainable retailer?

Well, until there’s a shift in consumer priorities, the uphill battle to convince consumers to “live beyond themselves” will continue.

But can “sustainability” be sold differently… Maybe more selfishly, to appeal to people’s highest priority, themselves?

What sustainable goal can be achieved by customers making purchases which primarily, as far as they can see, will benefit themselves or their own?

How can sustainability indeed be made selfish?

Selling personal benefits to the buyer will always be the easiest route to convince a consumer to open their wallet.

So, how can you adapt your marketing to appeal to consumers who buy only to benefit themselves i.e. most people?

And how can you make your product more relevant to the Now and not simply The Future?

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How playing devil’s advocate will help you improve your sustainable business

Because practicing being devil’s advocate means expressing the most challenging sentiments possible – how else do you check your campaign or business messaging is sound?

So, why do I keep asking awkward questions – am I secretly anti-sustainability?

No, but I am actively avoiding preaching to the converted.

Because we can sit here and complain about the same things:

“The planet is dying”

“Various species are doomed”

“More needs to be done”

Or, we can explore together why more people aren’t engaging in simple climate action, such as making better consumer choices.

So, in my previous blog entries, I chose to outline common objections made by many consumers (including myself) such as, “Fast Fashion: If you’re on a modest wage, why should you buy sustainably?”

“One person’s efforts can’t make a difference” is another old, familiar sentiment we hear, and one with no easy answer.

But before we try to engage with these objections, let’s check whether it is our practice to acknowledge different aspects of customer motivations, or whether we dismiss opinions we don’t like as simply selfish or ignorant.

Because practicing being devil’s advocate means expressing the most challenging sentiments possible – how else do you check your campaign or business messaging is sound?

So, let’s get quizzical!

I found the following lesson in ‘How to alienate non-vegans further’ circulating around the internet lately …

Human women on all fours are trapped in cages. A chicken in uniform is collecting their used sanitary towels for market, and the explanation given below?

“Eggs are hen’s menstruations, so eating eggs is like eating used sanitary towels… And you wouldn’t want to do that, would you!”

If chickens laid spoonfuls of uterine tissue-laced blood, only the most experimental of eaters would try it. But what do regular people care if a shell-encased egg is a chicken’s period?

We don’t care if burgers or bacon are made from animal’s flesh, right? So why waste time trying to appeal to our sense of squeamishness?

Or is this image only intended as an internal, anti-meat-eater joke?

If that’s so, is an attempt at humiliation of those seen as ‘the enemy’ helpful to the pro-vegan movement?

I venture that such an image and description are an own goal to the vegan cause. Not least because such a comparison between period blood and chicken eggs is ridiculous and betrays a relinquishment of rational thinking (maybe due to exasperation?) from some animal rights campaigners.

So, what’s next? How about trying to answer the question, “What’s the point, what can one person do?”

As devil’s advocate, I proffer that there’s no point answering this question with, “You’re not just one person, you’ll be one of many who –”

No.

As far as most customers or any given individual is concerned, we make decisions based on what is beneficial to us as individuals, not what may be beneficial to the world at large should many more people make a similar decision or compromise.

If you can’t sell your product or way of thinking as immediately beneficial to any given customer, then you need to improve your offer.

In a previous blog entry, I indicated that regarding veganism, selling an ethical eating lifestyle “for health” might be the quickest way to connect with new customers.

“For health” means customers will gain an immediate benefit from adopting a safe and healthy, vegan (or plant based) diet, as opposed to adopting veganism “for the environment” or “for the animals”, two benefits which can only be effective if large numbers of others make purchases with similar intentions.

These examples briefly demonstrate why a “devil’s advocate” role is so important for understanding your customers priorities –

Ask every awkward question you can imagine about your product and your intentions as a sustainable retailer.

Because “It’s an ethical alternative” doesn’t work for most customers still happy to forgo ethics in favour of price and convenience.

“What can one person do?”

One person (you) CAN build a business campaign based on acknowledgement and understanding of all points of view (All Plants did this with their vegan meal delivery service and message “We’re all plants, but you don’t have to be!”)

This important step will help you better understand the motives and priorities of potential, new customers. And in doing so, it will expand your brand’s influence and increase your customer base.

So, whilst it might be easy to openly judge the ethical standards of others, or even to laugh at them and accuse them of eating chicken periods, such an approach is not good for sustainable living campaigns, and it is not good for sustainable business.

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Fast Fashion: If you’re on a modest wage, why should you shop sustainably?

Not all fast fashion is poor quality. In fact, it’s usually reasonable or decent-enough quality.


I love vintage clothes! Not that I’ve been able to afford them in years gone by –

I live in Sheffield and we have so, so many vintage stores here but since forever, they’ve been out of my price range.

Most the items I own are “fast fashion”, and most of them are actually older or even plenty older than one year.

I certainly don’t treat my clothes as dispensable and most of them have been relatively long lasting, especially my #Primani jeans and chinos.

So, I’ll start this post by stating that Not all fast fashion is poor quality. In fact, it’s usually reasonable or decent-enough quality.

Sometimes, fast fashion is even decent quality.

With this in mind, sustainable fashion vendors and retailers won’t easily connect with new customers by telling them that cheap clothes are all cr*p.

Secondly, eco-friendly retailers will all do well to remember that sustainable shopping is a privilege.

No matter how environmentally damaging, unethical and unsustainable the fast fashion industry is, many customers only want to buy what they can reasonably afford.

Just like a meat-eater regretting the animal abuses involved in producing their favourite foods, fast fashion shoppers may regret the working conditions of garment workers in foreign lands.

But what should they do?

Spend £55 on one, nice top sourced sustainably. Or spend £50 on two pairs of jeans, four shirts and a jumper sourced through exploitation.

To someone on a tight budget, only one of those options is reasonable, and justifiable.

And even though a higher price tag on sustainable clothes pays for decent wages and working conditions for workers, and more eco-friendly textiles and manufacturing, ultimately, why will your average consumer be concerned over such things?

If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on clothes, then why shouldn’t you invest in what is best value for money –

“Value for money”, this usually means how much you can get for as little spends as possible.

And as I’ve said, longevity isn’t only a characteristic of ethical, sustainable clothing.

It’s easy for anyone with plenty of disposable income to declare what is and what is not ethical purchasing, and to make often costly decisions accordingly.

But if fast fashion is reliable, accessible, and affordable, what weight can be put on the fact that it’s not ethical?

It’s legal, isn’t it?

Can consumers be blamed if governments allow such exploitative items to be distributed by retailers?

It’s true that many consumers buy fast fashion and discard it frequently. But this is a behaviour mirrored by consumers of all budgets, whether buying cheap or otherwise – people simply like to shop and have new things.

Textile waste doesn’t only contain fast fashion items.

But can opportunities be made which enable people on modest incomes to buy sustainably, and still get what they consider to be “value for money”?

It seems unlikely. As I’ve acknowledged, high or higher price ranges for sustainably and ethically sourced goods are justified – fair sourcing of materials, fair pay and working conditions are all reflected by a higher garment price.

But we’re simply not used to paying fair prices – many people in our own countries are not paid fairly and are therefore at an immediate disadvantage before they even enter a clothing retailer.

We live in separated worlds – the privileged and the poor. But really, I’m not talking about those who can shop at Gucci and those who can’t –

I’m talking about the poverty-stricken, exploited and exhausted factory worker in Bangladesh, and the privileged person in Primark with a basket full of new, cheap garments.

So, sustainable clothing vendors and retailers…

How are you adapting your unique selling point to appeal to fast fashion loyalists who can:

  • Already get decent quality clothing for a fraction of the price, and –
  • Have many other things to worry about besides the unethical, non-environmentally friendly reality of fast fashion?

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Reduce your impact on the planet by going vegan, says researchers at Oxford Uni. But can one more vegan make a difference, or is a compromise needed

Somehow, Rooney Mara cradling a live turkey has failed to convert the hungry masses.

Food delivery platform, Deliveroo, shared last year their projection that as many as 20% of British families would have a vegan menu at Christmas.

With more and more information available to support meat-eaters make the transition to veganism, and more vegan alternatives available in supermarkets and on the high street, a vegan lifestyle is easier to follow than ever before, right?

Well, it’s certainly more accessible than it ever was before. But still most pet owners (like me) and wildlife lovers, enjoyed an array of meat and dairy products for Christmas.

Even following vegan social media accounts, with their frequent use of shock (truth) techniques, such as sharing videos and images of the appalling conditions of many animals destined for slaughter, has not been enough to stop me including so many animal products from my diet.

Though I have unfollowed several, vegan accounts because I’m hungry, and I’m obviously too fragile to know where my food has come from.

I know, however, that if I was left on a farm and told to slaughter my own dinner, I wouldn’t do it.

I doubt if I’d even want to milk a cow, but lucky enough for me as well as most others, there are still more others willing to do those jobs for us.

We just pick stuff off shelves and pay for it.

But I want to know, would my unlikely embrace of veganism really, suddenly, make a difference?

That seems to be what the clever people at the University of Oxford think.

But such a claim to one person’s ability to make a significant difference misrepresents the truth.

Cynical? Yes. Also, honest.

One person’s individual embrace of veganism can only assuage their own conscience – it can’t make any measurable difference to a society’s collective carbon emissions.

Indeed, one person reducing the time they spend in their car makes only a negligible difference.

But it’s said that many people “doing sustainability” imperfectly is better than one person “doing” it perfectly.

Perhaps, therefore, flexitarianism is a more reasonable recommendation than veganism.

This mainly vegetarian, occasional meat-eater diet can be adopted on a wider scale – since it’s a more tolerable compromise than veganism – and if embraced by enough people, may actually one day make a difference to emissions.

Purveyors of vegan goods and ideals, Shock tactics are not effective.

Meat-eaters like me are far too acclimatised to our usual favourable position within the food chain –

We love our pets, and our exciting sightings of wildlife, but we’re not prepared to go vegan “for the animals”…

And it’s unreasonable to ask us to go vegan “for the environment”, for the reasons I have stated above.

“Go vegan for health” might work for some, but with little conclusive proof that veganism will stop you getting cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, your best option is to tell people, “Go vegan to lose weight”, since this is more realistic and attainable.

“Go flexitarian and commit to vegetarianism most of the time and have meat as an occasional treat” is again, a more reasonable suggestion and expectation.

“Go flexitarian for the environment” might even work if you can get a lot of people to do it.

But who am I to share so many opinions?

I am the stubborn meat-eater you want to convert.

I am also someone who is dedicated to supporting sustainable businesses including vegan businesses, because I know that they’re right.

But I’m not yet prepared to compromise my exploitative diet because like a child who has acquired a stolen toy, I don’t want to give it up.

I don’t want to be amongst the 20% eating only plants, I’d be too jealous of the 80%.

But making efforts to become more flexi doesn’t seem too unreasonable.

Vegan businesses, can you think of any ways to half-convert the masses?

Would you yourselves be willing to make that compromise?

Can flexitarianism be the future? At least, the beginning of a cruelty-free future?

And how might meat-eaters be led to a life more flexi?

Isn’t it time some celebrity vegans and vegetarians made a bigger effort to inspire their followers?

Somehow, Rooney Mara cradling a live turkey has failed to convert the hungry masses.

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