Ask Us Anything V.2
And we’re back with more answers to your questions! We love the dynamic that YOU bring to Franc. Your feedback, comments, questions, and general interactions add so much to our brand and fuel us to grow. And so! We hope you enjoy more founder insights from Brandy.
I am curious to know more about your eco friendly/sustainability practices and General focus/priority in this regard now and going forward.
Our practices in all their forms are posted here, from being plastic-free to offsetting our shipping emissions and keeping our carbon footprint low. We hope to find a better way to reorder and hold stock to keep overstock to a minimum in the future. We also hope to improve our fabric (as technologies and options become available) and expand our fabric offering, including additional sustainable options.
What inspired you to build this business?
I worked in the fashion industry designing for many big and small brands for years, the experience taught me so much but also showed me things I wished were different in the industry. Ultimately I decided to stop thinking about those changes and just create a brand that made those changes.
What are your top tips for building a versatile, durable, and stylish wardrobe?
Buy only the things you love and need. Stick with timeless basics that fit, and layer in stylish items in your accessories, shoes, and layers.
Is the entire process ethical? Do you pay a living wage to all the people in your supply chain? Would you leave a supplier if you found out they were not providing a living wage? A CEO that DOES NOT make 100x more than the lowest-paid employee...
I currently am the only paid "employee," the business is still very young (started in 2017), and my wage is also very young. (Think how much you got paid when you were young fresh outta school.) I work with many freelancers, partners, and consultants to round out the collective us. They are paid ethically based on their respective personal rates - I am not in the businesses of negotiating rates and am happy to pay appropriate fees if my clearly laid expectations are met (this way we both feel great). I would 100% leave a supplier/contractor or partner if they were not paying their employees as per the standards I have set for Franc.
Do you sometimes keep stock low (on seasonal items specifically) to keep interest high?
Not at all. We keep low stock because that's all we have left in stock and we like to sell out of items rather than dispose of them. Disposing of leftover/overstock is the norm of the fashion industry (generally, brands aim to sell only 60% of goods and dispose of the rest), which is why it's not the norm to see low stock items still online. We also are not always able to restock styles quickly or within the same season. Once we are out of custom fabric, we are in a waiting game waiting for more to be custom knit and dyed for us sometimes, this process takes longer and doesn't allow for a timely restock. There is also another post that talks about how we handle overstock that might add more context.
Do you think you'll ever have a (permanent) physical space for your clothes where people could try them on before buying/ordering?
Maybe one day, at this moment, especially mid-COVID, it is not high on my priority list. My goal right now is to provide the best product lineup, with an improved restock schedule and safe and fast shipping.
How long does it take to make a piece?
From concept to production, anywhere between 4-6 months. Each stage of production has its own timeline: fabric itself can take 6-9 weeks while garment sewing and finishing can take about 4 weeks.
Why are your brand ambassadors selected on social media usage?
The only way for us to track if an ambassadorship was mutually beneficial is to see it personally, which is why social media usage is essential. Otherwise, we have no view, gauge, or measurement. It is also helpful as we can share content, show more ways clothes are worn in real life.
What are your goals for the coming year?
Right now, my goal is to provide the best lineup of styles, with the best fit (constantly improving) an improved restock schedule safe and fast shipping, and a reevaluation of our sustainable practices to see if any improvements can be made.
How many people do you employ?
Currently, I am the only full-time employee. Though I have many freelancers (bookkeeping, copywriting/blog content, pattern drafting), partners (knitting mill, dye house, label manufacturer, print house, sewing studio/factory, third party fulfillment), and consultants (digital marketing and accountants) who help to round out whom I "employ".
Whats the biggest ethical struggle you've faced where profit is up against the more ethical decision.
Honestly, this has never been a struggle (yet). Of course, there are some cases, like running out of compostable mailers, and it'd be cheaper and easier to just use poly mailers to get orders out. But it's just not an option for us as it doesn't meet our brand values.
What does your commitment to size inclusivity mean for you as a brand? Why do you think brands should offer size inclusivity/ why do you?
I wrote a post on the importance of inclusive sizing a few months back, it might better explain what we feel. Also, we wrote an older post before we added our new extended sizing, which explains some of the common thoughts brands have before adding inclusive sizing.
Why not use hemp that is grown in Canada to cut down on carbon footprint?
Currently, there is no yarn spinning in Canada, so even if the hemp is grown in Canada, it would still need to be shipped overseas to be spun into yarns before being sent back to Canada to be knit. What a dream it would be to have it all done here in Canada, but maybe one day as the Canadian fashion industry grows back to its robust self (here's hoping!).
Why are your stripes only black and cream?
To make stripes the yarn needs to be dyed before knitting, the cost of dying yarn has incredibly high minimums that we are not able to meet, yet. We do black and cream stripes because we can purchase pre-dyed black yarn at the same cost as the raw natural yarn (which is what the cream stripe is made of).
Why don't you have tall sizes? When will you have petite sizing?
This comes down to minimums and money, I know it's the most cliché answer, so I'll explain a bit more, so it's not eye-rolling.
Currently, each style we make has production minimums, which are no longer a concern for individual styles as we grow.
Production minimums are based on a single pattern. If we were to (for instance) make a tall (or petite ) version of an existing style, it would mean a new pattern and a whole new production minimum for that tall (or petite) style.
We don't quite have deep enough pockets to afford the minimums, nor the storage room to house that amount of variations of styles.
Thank you for asking great questions and for coming along our journey. As we grow, we will continue to uphold our standard of transparency and authenticity. Keep the questions and the comments coming! You are the reason Franc exists and we are so honoured to talk to you.