Selling pre-loved designer and ethical fashion brands. Fighting human trafficking with fashion.

Tips of the Trade

Working from home September 12 2012, 0 Comments

One of the many financial considerations of a start up is fixed costs.  Perhaps the largest fixed cost is renting office space making many entrepreneurs choose to work from home.  There are many pros and cons to this decision.

Advantages 

Costs

There are many who say that for a small start up it is not just prudent to work from home, it is the only cost effective way to work.  Working from home does not just save on the rent costs; it also saves hugely on the travel costs. The travel costs include both the actual price of train ticket or petrol tank and the amount of time it takes to get to the office. In London, the average worker is said to take 38 minutes to get to work every day spending 277 hours a year getting to and from work (http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/). One should never underestimate how valuable ones time is which makes the commute very expensive indeed.    

Work/Life balance

Work/Life balance is extremely important for employee productivity.  When working from home, the employee tends to sleep more, has less stress from late trains or road rage and is able to benefit from more flexible working hours, which is especially important for parents.  This increases employee productivity as long as there is regular contact, as the employee is happier, healthier and more willing to work. 

Wider range of applicants

Working from home also widens the application process as a more diverse range of people can apply for the job. This includes those who may not live in the city or have disabilities which mean they have to work from home.

Disadvantages

It is certainly harder to maintain a team spirit if the employees are working from home. For many people, work is a social place where they make friends and they may feel isolated when working from home.   There is also a higher possibility of communication issues as you cannot go over and speak to other members of the team as easily. This is especially a problem when there are technical difficulties which break down communication.

Home also provides many options to procrastinate.  Snacking, TV breaks, Family and friends popping in, feeding the cat etc. all provide ample excuses not to get on with difficult  tasks.

It is also important for many people to separate work and home life which is very difficult when working from home. The employee may feel they are always at work and find it hard to take a break.

Do you work from home? Do you feel there are benefits or disadvantages to this choice? Have your say here.


 Talia Chain



Unpaid Internships – giving opportunities or exploitation? August 29 2012, 1 Comment

When running a small social enterprise, funds are obviously extremely limited.  However to run a succesful and expanding business, it is necessary to  expand the numbers working in the organisation.  Here I will like to look into the benefits and problems of interns – an issue I am currently dealing with.  

Advantages

  1. Experience is really importent to employers.  Graduates often do not have very much/any experience and if they are not on a graduate scheme, it will be hard to get the big jobs without experience.  If an internship is run well with mentoring and teaching skills (not just making the coffee), it can be a really great place to gain experience.  The employer may not be paying a salary but the payment comes in the form of training the intern would not otherwise recieve.

 2. Deciding on a career is difficult. Many graduates are unsure of their career path. Nowadays we aren't born into being tailors, lawyers, milkmen – there is much more scope to choose and change our career paths. This can be extremely expensive to the employer (expensive enought to fold a small social enterprise) who spends money on recruitment fees and time training an employee only to have them leave after 3 months having decided it wasn't the job for them.  An internship gives an opportunity for one to learn about the job before they decide it is the right kind of career for them and gives the employer time to see that this is the right employee for the job.

3. Expense of employing. Even without high taxes and accountancy rates (HMRC's systems are very complex to navigate without an accountant http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/paye/employees/start-leave/new-employee.htm), employing someone is expensive. Too expensive for small businesses. The only option becomes: The employer offers the valuable service of training someone in return for the intern working at the company.

"Doing an internship was my way into the industry. I wanted to change careers from music to search engine marketing and having no experience an internship was the only job I was qualified for. After getting one at a small agency in south London, I worked hard and was offered a job at the end of my internship. In under a year I ended up being hired by one of the UK's biggest SEM agencies" Mr Charig, London, who now works in a large SEM company.

Disadvantages 

1.     Living in London. "Many sectors are based solely in London which means that those who do not have a home in the capital, (or even those that do have the home in the capital but without parents who are willing to support them) are more than disadvantaged, absolutely screwed." Ms Newman, Leicester, working on a paid Fellowship with Amnesty

 2.     Work Experience or Long term interning? "It has always been a reality that the upper-class in London have had the monopoly of contacts and networks which would help them get a job post University. It has not always been the case that there has been an expectation for long-term unpaid work before any chance of gainful employment can be attained.  ... I have nothing against short-term work experiences, which may be beneficial and useful to the students but the current stories of working as unpaid labour for companies are just to ridicuous for words... The fact that the country is suffering from high unemployment rates should not be an opportunity for the next generation to be exploited." Ms Newman

 3.     Legality. There is the important question of what consitutes a legal internship .  It basically boils down to whether they are an actual 'worker' or not. See here for more legal details http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/paye/employees/start-leave/new-employee.htm

 "The painful reality to face, is that the truthful teacher cannot tell normal pupils living in Britain in 2012, that if they work hard they can achieve their goals, as hard work going to university and getting experiences along the way is simply not enough, you need to be rich and to live in London to make headway in many careers.  Most jobs in the arts, the charity sector, the political sector, anything that's really interesting, now needs to have done unpaid work experience and the vast makority of that experience is located in London. But sorry, the teacher can promise 'kids if you dream of going into banking don't worry, they pay their interns!'" Ms Newman

 If you think you are a “worker” and not being paid the national minimum wage, they can ring the Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368 (Text phone 0800 121 4042). The Helpline is open from 8 am to 8 pm (Monday to Friday) and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. 


Talia Chain


Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, – is it all worth it? August 21 2012, 1 Comment

At House of Beth we love a bit of Social Media. Some might say we are bordering on addicted (we are on facebook, twitter, Pinterest,   Tumblr, Google +, youtube and Blogspot) and it might be fair to ask is it worth all the time and effort? As an ethical fashion company - is the amount of clothing we sell proportional to the amount of pins and tweets we send out into the world? Here are some pros and cons we have found in social media.

Cons

1: Social Media is a time investment. Though theoretically twitter etc. is free, the hours put in can get rather costly and depending on thesize of your business you may have to hire someone (or more than one person) for the job.

2: Is there proof of returns? Well all the Social Media companies say Yes! Definitely! But they would, wouldn’t they? The truth is sometimes it is hard to see the evidence. Though at House of Beth, we are quite popular on House of Beth Pinterest and we love the images  (which is why we use it) – it serves more as an inspiration for looks or lunch rather than transforming into sales. 

3: To be constantly interesting. The thing about Social Media is that if you want to do it well and see better results in terms of followers - you need to be constantly updating with fresh and interesting words of wisdom, humour, current affairs, great pictures etc. It definitely does not allow for those days when you are feeling boring and tired. Unless ‘hermit’ is trending at the time.

Pros

1: It is fun. We love it, which is always a pro.

2:  We can get in touch with anyone in the world. Social Media means you widen your connections to a ridiculous extent. Before Social Media how else would we get in touch with Livia Firth (go through a million PR agent hoops) – but through twitter we tweet her and she tweets back (because she has great twitter etiquette and is generally really nice).  We have made loads of helpful connections through twitter and even found people to hire, people to interview etc.

3: Speak to customers/users in an engaging way which increases return. If you post awesome photos on facebook then your customers will like them and keep coming back. They might even comment which means you can comment back and start a bit a of dialogue.

4: Post about competitions and events.  Competitions and events can often be awesome but might get swallowed up by your website. If you tweet them, facebook etc. you can tell more people and they can share and tweet and tell even more people which is good for you because you get more people coming to your site, and good for them because they can share cool info.    

5: Inspiration. Because of other people’s quality content, we are constantly inspired and learning about many different issues and topics in different fields – not just fashion. We feel connected and never before could we get so much interesting information so quickly which we can respond to just as fast.

I personally think Social Media is a great tool for learning and sharing content and that you can connect to anyone, anywhere. However in terms of translating into sales… I am not that convinced.


By Talia Chain 

How to use House of Beth August 09 2012, 0 Comments

Eco gorgeous at House of Beth

House of Beth is an ethical clothing company that sells unique items that are delivered straight to your door. Read about our ethical policy . We offer a rare opportunity of shopping for high-end clothes at high street prices, only online, so you can get exactly what you want in the comfort of your own home. Search through our eco friendly clothes by designer, size, product and charity. They will be packaged and posted to you and if they do not fit, do not fret, we offer free returns.

If you’re looking for eco friendly clothes that are fashionable first, ethical second, we are the shopping platform for you! All our eco clothes are mid-range and affordable so that you, the consumer, can be ethical, beautiful and frugal.

Don’t miss out on our huge fashion event, Fashioned for Freedom, on November 12th in Marylebone, where we’ll team up with some of the biggest names in fashion to present to you what promises to be, this year’s highlight in ethical fashion. For more information and to find out all about last year’s event, check out News & Events.

Get involved in all our upcoming events and all the latest on ethical clothing brands, by connecting with us on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest. Join Beth’s conversations on our social media sites, where we discuss emerging eco friendly trends, and discover some truly terrifying truths about fashion companies who do not subscribe to pro-human production lines. 

Discover our blogs on how to style ethical fashion brands, how to shop House of Beth and some insightful cultural commentary. It’s a place where our writers share all they find inspiring. By combining a love for intelligent fashion, eco friendly clothes and a sassy approach to life, our bloggers are a true reflection of the fashion conscious girl in the street. 

To be fashion conscious, means to believe eco friendly clothes ought to be all clothes, and that all models should be healthy and not perpetually starving. we never airbrush women’s faces or bodies and we endeavor for our beautiful models to come from a range of sizes, ages and ethnicities. Our eco friendly clothes are from ethical fashion brands and second-hand designer clothes that are sold to support different charities. These second hand designer clothes, along with our ethical jewellery, have been styled in collections that promote inspirational women, as we try to build a more positive approach to fashion.

Make House of Beth your favourite fashion platform, and enjoy being BEautiful and EThical: Beth. Beth promises to always provide you with the most fashion conscious clothes around and can’t wait for you to fall in love with her wardrobe.