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The Future of Jean Franklin + Made-to-Order & Vintage Sale

The Future of Jean Franklin + Made-to-Order & Vintage Sale

Hi Friends,

We’re running a 50% off sale sitewide on both vintage and JF styles now through Dec. 1st. I wanted to share with you why we’re having such a significant sale. 

I should point out that we don’t normally run any sales. Our philosophy is to offer the fairest price possible. This also means our profit margin is low, which makes running a sale difficult without losing money on each item we sell. 

Many fashion brands have significant mark-up on retail prices which allows them to offer deep discounts while still making a profit. Our choice on pricing is not typical for a fashion brand, especially considering our extremely high quality, fair-trade, and environmental standards - but I’ll explain more about that later.It's been quite a journey over the last 3 years, from first defining the idea of what Jean Franklin should offer the fashion world to watching it grow with the support of wonderful customers. 

JF is a clothing line dedicated to making you feel great about what you wear. That means paying a fair wage to the people who make the clothes and doing less harm to the environment by sourcing eco-friendly and recycled materials. 

Nothing about this process has been easy, although it's been extremely rewarding to meet so many great people trying to change the fashion industry for the better. This includes people who work in fashion or those who help support this movement with purchases and by spreading the word. 

This journey has also been disappointing and painful at times. As an entrepreneur I've learned that you don't always succeed the first time you try something new. I've been taking some time away from Jean Franklin the last few months to think about the future and to reflect.

While I don't yet know how Jean Franklin will evolve in the coming months, I do want to share with you some areas I've struggled with as a designer and business owner. I do not believe I’m alone in facing these issues. 

From the beginning, I wanted to try and overhaul the bad practices of traditional fashion companies that persist to this day: 

  • I wanted to ensure that all the people we worked with - pattern-makers, sample-makers, production cutters, and sewers - were paid fairly.  
  • I wanted to tackle the environmental issues associated with manufacturing new clothing. This included solving  style and quality issues that often times lead people to wear an article of clothing only a few times and then throw it out. 
  • On top of these challenges, I wanted to create an inclusive line for people of all sizes, ages, and incomes (which is why we made the business decision to buck the trend of fashion industry pricing and keep our margins as low as possible).

As I got deeper into the process of designing clothes, I quickly realized that there was no way to achieve all of these goals at the same time with the tiny budget for the business that I was self-funding. So I set out first to tackle the challenge of making made-to-order clothing. This was to cut down on the waste associated with fashion labels placing large orders for styles in multiple sizes vs. making each piece as a customer placed the order. This alone meant the price per piece would be more expensive. Plus, my goal was to pay at least $15 per hour for cutting and sewing. We’re not talking about a very generous annual salary at $31,000 per year even though it is slightly higher than minimum wage. 

I also found that even offering five sizes to start (XS-XL) was a daunting task to ensure each size was graded correctly. As I'm sure anyone who understands grading will tell you, this is a process that doesn't stop. You're constantly trying to get a better fit for most people in the size range you offer and it's not as easy as adding an inch to every measurement and moving on.

It also quickly became clear that the price tag of each item was not going to be affordable for many people. I've tried to justify this by saying what many other brands and people say - "Buy quality, not quantity," "Shop for items that really speak to your heart, that you want to wear forever," "Support local businesses,” "Buy fewer, better things," etc. 

But at the end of the day, the majority of people cannot afford to buy our clothing. If we truly want there to be change in the fashion industry, we need to empower more shoppers and consumers to vote with their wallet. 

For this reason, I’ve started to explore how I can achieve the goals of Jean Franklin while offering products at a lower price. Recently we’ve been trying out recycling scraps and unused fabric into new home goods - you can find these one of a kind pieces we've experimented with in the Home Goods section of the site. I'm also contemplating focusing more on vintage clothing again, as I did in a past life on Etsy. I'm also looking into creating useful content around mending and altering pieces you already own to extend the life of clothing you already love. 

At this time, I am offering a 50% off sale on all existing JF pieces (while we were mainly made-to-order, we did produce a few pieces for events in the past, which is why we have some inventory available for sale now) and vintage clothing. This discount will appear automatically when you checkout. All sales will be final. 

I'm not saying that we won't ever produce new styles again, but for now, I'm taking a beat to consider these bigger challenges and opportunities that we face as a business.

Thank you all for your support, it means the world to me.



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In the Pursuit of a Deal, What's the True Cost?

In the Pursuit of a Deal, What's the True Cost?

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Did you know that studies show the pleasure areas of our brain light up like a Christmas tree when we’re pursuing something we want? And that once we’ve invested time, energy and money into this something, those investments make it hard for us to let go of the item we’ve grown attached to during our hunting?

This is an example of how fast fashion plays into our neurological pathways. There is real pleasure in the act of searching for the perfect piece of clothing and when we find it on sale or at a great price, we’re sold. However, a University of Michigan study showed that liking an item wasn’t enough — it was how much the person liked it and what they paid for it.

Did you also know that Americans are buying and throwing away 80 pounds of clothes per person a year? Talk about a HUGE global textile waste issue.

To keep up with the fast fashion mentality, retailers put pressure on factories to reduce costs and to produce clothing faster. The factories in turn, put pressure on their staff, neglecting worker safety as well as turning a blind eye to the environmental impacts of cutting, sewing and dyeing. This leads to wasted resources and deaths — 1,137 people to be exact when the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013.

We're bringing these issues up to raise awareness behind one of the biggest industries in our world and how we can make little shifts to bring about much needed change.

When you shop Jean Franklin’s made-to-order pieces, you’re recycling deadstock fabric and saving wasted resources, which helps support our environment. Our vintage pieces already exist with their own stories of the past to tell, and are looking for a new home. Buying clothing that already exists eliminates all of the energy and materials that would go into making something new.

When you shop Jean Franklin, you’re collaborating with self-employed women in LA, helping to support their dreams, their families and their craft.

So when your brain lights up again while hunting for a great deal (trust us, we get it — we’re not perfect, either), remember that the real gift is the choice we make when we value each other, our Earth, and a fine piece of ethically + sustainably made clothing.

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Jane Blouse + Favorite Vintage Pieces From the Shop

Jane Blouse + Favorite Vintage Pieces From the Shop

We've pulled together some of our favorite vintage pieces currently available here in the shop and paired it will our Jane blouse which we are wearing all the time right now.

We love how easy it is to dress this blouse up or down. We've created a couple looks to show you how versatile it really is. Pair the Jane blouse with shorts and chunky heels for a spring day or brunch. The Jane blouse is light and airy and easy to tuck in or wear out.

Or take it up a notch and dress the Jane blouse up with a pencil skirt, like the one pictured here, also available in the vintage section of our online store. 

Here are a couple more separates we think look would great with the Jane blouse:

Black and White Houndstooth Pencil Skirt

Silk Print Trousers

Khaki Cropped Trousers

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Jean Franklin Values

Jean Franklin Values

Our founder, Amanda, was tired of businesses who buried details in regards to how their products were made and didn’t attempt to educate consumers. She is a believer that a business directly affects its customers with the way it’s run — a tremendous responsibility she found herself called to. Because of this, Jean Franklin works to educate its customers on the facts of sustainability and continues to promote diversity within the fashion industry.

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What Does Sustainable Living Mean Anyway?

What Does Sustainable Living Mean Anyway?

We’d say our love for supporting sustainable fashion methods is greater than our love for black coffee and succulents (and that’s saying a lot).

In fact, we’ve found that the world, including black coffee and succulents, is a whole lot sweeter when we take the time to slow down and invest in the things that bring us joy.

Believe it or not, slowing down is a direct side effect of shopping sustainably and for that reason and more, we’ve said goodbye to fast fashion and hello to all things vintage and sustainable.

Another side effect of supporting sustainable methods is the connections you create. When you’ve made the choice to move with intention in both small and big ways, you find yourself attracting people who share the same values as you. You find open conversations about uneasy topics, a multitude of interests, decades of stories, delightful diversity and common issues that people are yearning to find an answer for. Issues such as low quality in clothing, limited style options for all body types, and an industry that is seriously harming our planet.

Sustainable living doesn’t only connect you with the Earth; it connects you with other beings of the Earth.

Jean Franklin was born from the belief that women shouldn’t have to conform to a certain style, size or shape; that fashion shouldn’t be fast, but made to last; and that who we are and what we do makes a difference.

So, let’s do, shall we? We’ll bring the coffee...

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