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Featured small business - The Adorned Duo

I truly believe in buying local, supporting small businesses and buying ethically! As an extra bonus, the first of my featured brands recycle and rework most of their products!

The Adorned Duo is a mother - daughter duo based in the North East. Margarita and Sarah have been working together on creating jewellery and clothing since the early 2000's and did their first market stall in 2012. In 2014 they relaunched as Adorned and are now regulars at markets and clothing shows around the country, as well as selling worldwide on their own website, ASOS marketplace and on the Depop selling app.

Adorned's signature hippy style can be seen in Margarita's reworked beaded jewellery and Sarah's hand painted denim jackets with elephant designs and sparkly embellishments. They also source Fair-trade clothing including their popular harem pants, perfect for yoga, festivals, lazy Sundays and even for sleeping in!

I got hold of Sarah for some quick questions;

1. How did The Adorned Duo come about? It happened really naturally, and sort of back to front in business terms. I embroidered a shirt for myself as a relief from university work, and mum suggested making more garments for a stall she had booked just to do a bit of a jumble sale. The pieces were were really popular so I re-invested in more garments. And it just kept growing! Although we've both always been really creative people; I used to help mum sell jewellery as a kid and learnt to make for myself. So I suppose it makes sense I've ended up running Adorned full time.

2. Why is ethical fashion so important?

It comes down to environmental impact, unsustainability and treatment of fellow humans. You only have to look in one branch of Primark, or H&M, or Topshop, to see the staggering amount of clothes that is produced is both unnecessary and unnerving. A lot of people are ignorant to the realities of cheap overseas labour and that the fashion industry is the second most polluting in the ENTIRE world. It literally scares me sometimes. Whilst most people are thrilled to go shopping on the high street, I see the bigger picture and get nervous.

3. Where do you see the brand in 5 years?

Ah I can't think that far ahead! It's becoming more feasible for Adorned to have a premises to work from. So right now I've only got the next year in mind. However, I envisage a bright and airy yet boho studio. Because I'm doing all of the different jobs for Adorned all the time, from the sourcing and making to the accounts and the marketing, I'm stretched quite thin at times. So, I'd like to have a small team of people to help, especially in those areas that get neglected or I'm not so good at.

I'm also on the verge of getting a car, which means we can do more vintage and craft fairs, and small local festivals. It means we can make the stalls look better, and saves me trying to take two cases of stock and a rail on a 6am train!

4. Why is it important to support small businesses?

I think it's important to support small ethical businesses especially - I see people who still take vintage and sell it so cheap it's still keeping it like fast fashion, and those who are maybe an independent but only sell mass produced rubbish from China. But ultimately, you're supporting an individual and making a difference to their lives. Adorned is my full time income now and that's reflective of years of work - some months I would be pleased if I paid myself £200 for full time hours!

Coupled with this though is putting a little pressure on the industry to change its standards. If the high street start losing profit, ultimately it will be the low paid worker overseas who loses out but who needs the money most. So, it's about striking a balance I think. Fashion Revolution are a really good community to watch - look them up!

5. What’s your favourite item to sell / what would you recommend right now? (and link please!)

Right now I'm painting lots of big sunflowers on things, from jeans to jackets to shirt pockets. They're just so happy and summery. If you keep tabs on our instagram you'll usually see when I've just listed some more pieces (they go pretty quickly).

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