So with 2017 over, me and Chris thought we'd take some time to reflect on the most insane year of our lives. We also wanted to give you guys an update on things, we feel like you're all as much a part of this as we both are so our NY rez is to do more blogs and keep you guys in the loop a bit more. We think its important that you get to know us a bit...
So here we are... In 'Yak' our Camper
We're not entirely sure how we've ended up here, not that this is the end by any stretch, but we've been trying to think about where this all began. We vaguely agree that it started in New Zealand about three years ago. We were hitch hiking around the North Island and were on the brink of being completely broke (the first of many times it turns out). So we came up with an idea to make tobacco pouches from the clothing left behind by travellers in some of the places we stayed, and then sell them to all those smoking travellers! The idea worked and people loved it! We continued to travel for another year living from day to day selling our creations. We recieved messages months after leaving NZ from people who had met fellow pouch owners and struck up a conversation about meeting me and Chris. It was an amazing year of freedom! We taught oursleves how to live with very little and loved this way of life.
Hitching a ride in NZ
We came back to the UK at the end of 2016 and bought a Campervan; we couldnt give up the freedom of life on the road. We named our new Campervan 'Yak', he wasn't the best looker but he was a hard worker. We decided we wanted to live as simple a life as possible, we began selling vintage clothing that we sought out up from Charity shops around the country, Parcelling them in our Van and luckily it turns out you're never less than a mile from a UK post office! Seriously we know every post office in the Country (we have our favourties)
The Next Chapter we spent Volunteering at a mediation centre 'Vipassana' if we could give credit to anything for the success of Lucy & Yak it has to be this amazing Place! We did a 10 day silent retreat in NZ and since that we have never looked back! They have a centre in the gorgeous countryside of Hereford and we spent 5 months here.... After this anything felt possible, no more mental barriers! We left for India straight after our time here in January 2017, we spent 5 months travelling India, if you havent been you have to go!! It's as crazy as it is magical.... I have a love hate relationship with India and you'll understnad why if you've been, the people are amazing, the streets are crazy and the cows wondering around actiing as the calm amongst the storm just make it the best place on earth!
We had some Ideas in our head that we wanted to bring to life, so we searched high and low for a tailor, we wanted to help a poorer part of India and a family that needed it, we had been to other countries in Asia and seen how the huge factories work and we wanted nothing to do with that! So we decided to try 8 different small tailoring business in Inida to decide who we wanted to use, the 9th guy was our man.... Ismail! Possibly the best person either of us have ever met! I have never trusted anyone more, he cares about everyone, his tailors are his friends before they are his employees! And this was the start of Lucy & Yak! our first dungarees designs were created, can you guess which one?? 'The Original' our first ever design and the one that you guys love the most!!
The Opening Party for Ismail and his teams new factory
When we found Ismail he had 2 Tailors working for him, he now has 20!! You guys have made this possible!
We came back to the UK in July and Registered 'Lucy & Yak' as a business... and now the 6 month old baby has grown so fast, thanks to all you amazing people, who trusted us and took a chance on us! We were overwhelmed by your response and still are everyday, as we sit and read all the amazing reviews at the end of each day it makes us smile... our team in the UK is growing fast and our Team in India even faster... All thanks to you! You are helping some amazing families in India get paid an amazing and very much deserved salary for their craftmanship!
We have just moved the business out of my parents basement and into an actual business premises, shout out to Angie on reception at the business centre for doing some magic and getting us in there before xmas.We haven't finished unpacking everything yet, which is maybe why some of you got the wrong orders over christmas, oops sorry about that! But the new studio, office and warehouse are fabulous and it should make things a bit easier for us, which means we can do a better job for you guys. In even better news;
We are now running on 100% renewable Biomass gas in the UK!
We are working on our electricity and should hopefully have that switched to renewable very soon....... its all very exciting!!
We have huge plans for Lucy & Yak.... Success (modern day interpretation) is not our dream, our dream is change, progress, to make a difference in the short time we are here on Earth...
We will begin moving Lucy & Yak to all Low impact GOTS approved organic dye in early 2018!
Theres still more work to do on the fabric and cotton farming; me and Chris are heading to India at the end of January to visit some cotton farmers and corduroy and cotton factories. We want to know everyone in the process, become friends with as many of them as possible, to make sure we know and can honestly to say to you that the clothing you own was made by real people, people who are getting everything they deserve.
Its easy for us to shout about "ethcial this" and "fairtrade that" but without certificates from people like fairtrade, does it really mean anything?! We have looked into becoming Fairtrade certified, but it is so expensive that its not something we can entertain right now. So we we've been talking a lot about how we can be super transparent and demonstrate how ethical our production is......
In 2018 we will be taking 1 lucky Dungaree Appreciation Society member and their friend to India!
We need to figure out the details and we will create a page on Lucyandyak.com with full conditions etc. What we do know is that we will visit Ishmails factory, the factory where our corduroy is made and the cotton farm where we get our cotton. We'll also visit some magical parts of North India, its going to be incredible!
Our ethos is to try and give back more than we take out. We have spent a lot of time researching and speaking to charities that are doing things that resonate with us. But we want to know exactly how our time and money is being used so that it has the greatest impact. We are getting close to something beautiful and we'll keep you posted on how that develops.
As some of you know we also want to do things differently here in the UK... We want real models! We want you guys to model Lucy & Yak's, again its you that will be wearing them so why not see them on you!! We will be having a big photo shoot hopefully in Feb (date to be confirmed) we want girls and guys of all shapes, sizes, ethinicities and ages! We want real life to shine through our brand, we want you all to be happy and feel good about yourselves! We also just want to have loads of fun and involve you guys in that, the more the merrier as the saying goes! Life is for sharing, ideas are for sharing... Lets all get together and have fun.
Happy New Year, hope you all had a fabulous 2017 and thank you so much for all your support!! Keep your peepers peeled for all the amazing new Lucy & Yak's to come in 2018!
Lots of Love
Lucy & Chris
Illustration by Toni Bee