Words by Hannah Beaumont-Laurencia; Director of Beaumont Organic.
‘Children under the age of 16 are giving blood and sweat for 120 rubies and less on a 10 – 12 hour shift allowing corporate companies to get richer and richer whilst the life of the workers is getting worse. Each and every thread they spin is tainted with the blood of these child workers.’
‘The textile industry discharges about 300,600 tons of Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and contributes to 8.2 percent of COD pollution in China.’ Tree Hugger
‘Consumers in the United Kingdom have an estimated £30 billion worth of unworn clothing lingering in their closets.’ Tree Hugger
These statistics are not new, in fact I am scared to admit they may not shock you at all. For years the news has been sporadically highlighting the atrocious conditions that clothing supply chains are forced to work in. Unfortunately, it seems to be forgotten too fast by the next piece of awful news, and as a nation we don’t seem to understand that if we don’t start making changes from here, at home in the UK, then we are no better than the factory owners exploiting their workers. Well I for one, cannot watch this social injustice and do nothing!
Now, let me tell you I am not a fanatic; I don’t vote Greenpeace or eat a fruitarian diet, I am merely a concerned citizen of the United Kingdom on a journey for change. Previously whilst working in the corporate world of high street fashion, I have seen the reality of buyers being dismissive of suppliers - lacking respect and squeezing prices, and I do not believe that this is the way business should be conducted. Success should be achieved with integrity. It should feel valuable and you should be proud of it; empowering, trusting and respecting everyone along the journey whom has made that success a reality. This my friend, is the fruitful soil in which the Beaumont Organic seeds have been planted.
My career in fashion began at a large high street chain. I have always been a passionate fashionista and loved to shop but in 2007, I felt disillusioned by the industry when I witnessed first hand the truth behind our high street clothing production. I knew in my heart that it didn’t have to be this way and that clothes could be beautifully made from start to finish, with a perfect social and moral story behind them.
I also knew that we did not need to be damaging and exploiting our earth to make these clothes and that by using organic farms and crops, not only would the workers benefit but so too would the world we live in.
I am a hard worker - diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 6, I learnt quickly that without hard work you get nowhere in life. I also spent the most enchanting and life changing year of my teens in Fiji; a country stricken by poverty, but also being home to the happiest people I have ever met in my life.
However, it was neither the hard work or poverty that has driven me on a journey to create a brand of contemporary conscious clothing. It is the lack of honesty, integrity and social justice. It is the exploitation that the government and factory owners deem as acceptable over their own people. It is their outright greed and importantly the pollution to our beautiful world that drives me every day to create beautiful clothing with a clear conscience.
I am telling you as a friend, colleague, ambassador and business woman that it CAN be done fairly. Everyone and everything in the supply chain can be treated with respect and integrity, from the organic cotton farmers to the seamstresses to my amazing agents and staff here in the UK. You can trust us to ensure your Beaumont Organic garments are made with only love.
So, I will let you decide - as author Tony Robbins said: ‘Your destination is determined by the decisions you make, choose now, choose well.’
In 2008, Beaumont Organic was born from my love of fashion and a lack of organic and ethical contemporary clothing in the market. I knew from a young age that I had my own voice and that I wanted it to be heard in the wider world. Beaumont Organic became that voice; it allowed me to combine my creativity and business sense in an authentic way, because I created a product I believed in and was passionate about. The company started with eight organic cotton ecru t-shirts and just myself - designing, selling, buying, marketing... you name it, I did it! I have certainly encountered challenges as an entrepreneur; you must be resilient, headstrong and focused, but when I consider the challenges I’ve overcome, I am so proud of where Beaumont Organic is today.
We now sell in 12 countries across the globe, have a team of staff in Manchester, bricks and mortar store and an online store with a database of over 70,000 customers, who resonate with and support our vision.
2017 has been our most successful and challenging year to date. At the beginning of the year, we were faced with the information that our very reasonably priced Ancoats office had been bought and was to be demolished and turned into flats. My first thought was fear that I would not be able to find other premises at such a good rate. I looked tirelessly at options to no avail, but then out of nowhere I saw the opportunity that would change the path of the business, the momentum and our voice. A three storey Victorian town house in the Northern Quarter that could become the home of Beaumont Organic, with concept store on the ground floor and offices above. After a battle to secure the impressive building, we finally moved into it in June and work began to ethically source all the interiors for the September store launch. I sourced everything for the store true to our brand and on a modest budget with reclaimed, restored and locally sourced furniture and products.
The store, now proudly named 49 Hilton Street, is a destination retail space and creative hub housing the renowned contemporary conscious clothing collection along with a selection of luxury artisan home and accessory pieces.
The creative hub was born through my vision of conscious living, to raise brand awareness and ultimately deliver more footfall to the store. The space hosts regular workshops and events from local artisans, from macrame making to nutrition and mindful eating, allowing our conscious customers to really engage and become immersed in the Beaumont Organic lifestyle and community.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read our story. This is a journey and I would love for you to join us on it. If you'd like to keep up to date with all things Beaumont Organic, you can sign up to our mailing list or if you're local to Manchester, you can pop into the Northern Quarter and speak directly to one of our team who will be happy to chat with you.