For the past month we've been getting in hot new Spring items about once a week. I haven't had time to update you all until now, but I'd encourage you to get in soon and check out these beautiful, lovely organic fashions.
We just put several of the items on our homepage: nakedclothing.com
We'll continue to see more summer dresses and skirts, lighter fabrics and very soon now - Nomads! We actually just received and are processing box #1, which should be out on the floor in the next few days. This beloved brand is seriously awesome, and if you know it already you'll know to get in sooner than later, because we usually cannot reorder more after it sells out!
I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful sunshine. I love hearing about your gardens and projects, and look forward to seeing you soon.
Supporting local families and individuals is one of our core values at Naked Clothing. Why? Because during our time on earth, Jeff and I are finding it rewarding to be a part of vibrant community and help encourage it, rather than the default of many communities today, which is to stay isolated from your neighbors and not even know who they are, let alone understand how to support them. I feel this isolation is one of the things that causes depression and anxiety. Literally it can be a little scary to be surrounded by people you do not know, and could not turn to and trust if there was, say, an environmental disaster. It isn't always all peaches and cream, but we try to foster ongoing relationships with all of our nearest neighbors.
It is simply more fun to know the designers and families who we support with our store. One of my favorite stories is of a jewelry designer who came to collect her check with her husband, who cuts trees for a living. "Whoopee!" He screeched when seeing the amount. "Now I can cut down one less tree." The real impact of that payment to their family and even to the trees in our community hit home with me. It is moments like this which make my job rewarding.
The default method of retail stores in the States is to attend trade shows and then order products mass-made overseas, usually poorly made and by some variant of slave labor, and then exploit those communities by selling it here for a high profit. The whole practice puts a bad taste in my mouth, but it has become such a normal way of business that I do believe most people do not even question how they can get something for so cheap. When I was traveling in Bali, Indonesia, I visited a small island that promised a view of "local" culture. What I saw there was a strip of small motels and pricey restaurants along a pretty beach. The locals worked each day on the South end of the beach, dragging out and picking through seaweed. I then found out they were processing this seaweed for a high-end and internationally renown cosmetic company. These people lived in shacks with dirt floors. It didn't take much imagination to understand that for what the cosmetic company was charging, these people were being outrageously exploited.
Besides supporting local families, another intention of ours is to get as many people as possible into organic clothing. We believe the breathable and delicious quality fabric makes for happier, healthier lives. In the last twenty years our country has seen a significant decline in the quality of clothing available. Moving production overseas, where labor is vastly cheaper, has driven down prices and quality. Additionally, the usage of polyester (plastics) in clothing has become so normal that one is hard-pressed to find even basic cottons at their Fred Meyer or even locally-owned boutiques. Who suffers the most? One could argue women, who absolutely suffer when going through the hot flashes of menopause while also wearing unbreathable, plastic clothing. They are some of our biggest fans.
To meet these two intentions of supporting local artisans while also getting people of all economic brackets into organic clothing, we strike a balance here at Naked. 100% of our clothing and other products are fair trade. That means no one is being exploited, to our knowledge. If it is sewn overseas the people are being paid usually 2x the average local wage, and have excellent, clean working conditions. There are some beautiful community projects going on with these small companies, that we are happy to support. 95% of our non-clothing items are crafted in Whatcom, Skagit and other Pacific NW counties. The remaining 5% are crafted in Africa by AIDS widows and refugees.
Things sewn in the U.S. cost more, because you are paying wages for a U.S. worker, not a Chinese or Balinese one. Many customers are happy to pay this price, but others simply could not, for various reasons economic or psychological reasons. That is why in addition to several lines of U.S.-sewn clothing, we also offer lower-cost yet still high quality items made overseas, fair trade. In this case about 70% of that clothing is still designed within a 2-hour driving radius.
I have seen more than a few "fair trade" stores try and fail at business. My sense of this is that they focus more on knickknacks (there are many in the fair trade world) than on truly meeting a need. Here at Naked we're highly focused on helping people get access to fashionable clothing which fits so much better than what you'd usually find, which is also fair trade and organic. Some people do not care that our offerings are fair trade/organic, and that's okay with us because the bottom line is more people are getting into these breathable and amazing fibers, and more local designers and fair trade companies are being supported.
We're not idealists, and sometimes it can feel this world is doomed so why even put in the effort to do it differently? Again I return to the selfish factor of fun. It is more fun running a business that connects me to local families, to nurture them in my own way, and to also be connected to these overseas communities which are providing at the very least more money and healthier conditions to their workers, which I hope leads to better education and opportunities for them.
Quick Facts About Naked Clothing:
Tell the world, tell the world, we are open! On Halloween we had a very soft opening, mostly because we still had not had our health inspection (check-mark) and we still had many moving details to sort.
We have now been given the full go-ahead to serve our in-house baked sweet and savory pastries, and delicious espresso drinks.
If you did not know, with the re-opening of Naked Clothing we added a cafe! Indulge, nourish, delight yourself at Munchies! We are already becoming famous for our cheesecake, and our baker is truly talented at pastry crust, cookies, quiches and more (all incredibly light and yes, gluten-free).
Our clothing is delightful. We've increased our stock of wool this Fall. Sources say it could be a cold Winter, and you know, you just can't beat wool for a warm layer to ward off the chill. Check out our home page to see some of our new styles which we just made available in our online store, too. Not online yet: Gorgeous Nomads Hempwear, Sweet Skins and new Soul Flower, too!
Our new hours are Monday-Saturday 9:30am-6pm. Munchies opens at 9am.
Directions: If you are not familiar with this area, as you travel East on Highway 20 from I-5, look for the hospital on your left. We are the next business after that, just before a Motel. Our signage still needs some improvement, so watch for the enormous "Smuggler Brothers" green sign, just before the motel. We are in the same building as Smuggler Brothers, at the front of the spacious parking lot.
The address: 1912 SR-20*, Sedro Woolley 98284
(if SR-20 does not pull up on your map try W. Hwy 20, Hwy 20 or State Route 20)
See the map of where we'll be: Map.
Store phone: 360-746-9916
Additionally, do you have a genuine interest in making ecological life choices?
Then you may be a good fit for our new ecological boutique, opening in Sedro Woolley this October. We are a bright spot in the community and seek to spread the good by helping customers of all sizes (XS-4X) find clothing they'll feel beautiful in, while facilitating choices that are softer on the environment than conventionally manufactured clothing. We carry only natural fiber clothing such as bamboo, hemp and organic cotton with the addition of a few recycled-poly pieces, and 100% of our products are fair trade.
We believe in providing an experience for customers that is useful, nurturing, attentive and fun. Most of the time, you'll be "playing dress-up" with customers, and helping them find the outfits they will adore. Additional responsibilities include tracking and updating inventory, creating displays, and assisting with ordering.
We seek to hire a cheerful, conscientious, dependable part time assistant manager at 15-30 hours a week (we can get more specific on hours to suit your needs.) Starting date is the week of October 26th, or a little later if necessary.
Retail experience is preferred although not necessary if you can show that your life experience has led you to excel at working with people, and that you also have an eye for style and detail.
Please send your cover letter and resume to Amy, at amy (at sign) nakedclothing (dot) com or call 360-seven-four-six...nine, nine, one, six.
Dear Bellingham Customers and Business Neighbors,
Thank you for all your well wishes and for stopping in to support us with your purchases before we closed our doors, yesterday. We reopen Oct 31st at 1912 SR-20, Sedro Woolley, and we'll be introducing a new baby in the clothing store: a cafe! Our last day was filled with beautiful surprises, with visits from many long-time customers and even customers who very recently discovered us, who expressed sadness about the move. The last person to stop in was my very first employee, Rhiannon, who is opening her own boutique downtown, in just a couple weeks! (Fringe Boutique on N. State) I'm very proud of her and all my present and former staff and artisans who have contributed to make this a great experience for me, and apparently many others. When I say artisans I mean the 15+ talented people (99% women) in Whatcom county who have hand-crafted cards, soaps, perfumes, jewelry and more to provide us with gorgeous and uncommon gifts. My mission from the beginning was to choose local wherever possible, and I was suprised and delighted to find so many quality products being made right in Whatcom County, that deserved a space to shine. I hope other shops will now take up the mission to showcase local artisans and teach consumers the value of choosing to support a neighbor, instead of a corporate brand name.
A special shout-out to my main employee, Hannah, who took the bulk of hours for the past several months and with the touch of a true entrepreneur, owned the store with beautiful leadership and kindly helped so many of you discover the right outfits and products. Along the way she earned kudos from the EPA for a solar window project and now, will leave us to pursue a fellowship from MIT while she continues studying at WWU. Thank you Hannah!
Another special gift yesterday was a surprise visit from my husband, Jeff, who started the store with me. This was the first business we opened together and two months after opening Jeff proposed to me in the store, so the space has held special memories.
We see good things developing in downtown Bellingham and hope you will continue to support the many awesome shops for years to come. With your help, it's just going to become more and more vibrant!
With that I leave you for now, and hope we will reunion in our new space. Until then, take care, and thank you again for your generous support.
Last Thursday three of our team - Hannah, Amy and Jeff, dressed up in Naked Clothing outfits and walked the catwalk for the fashion show portion of an important local fundraiser, the "Handbags for Housing" benefit put on annually by Lydia Place.
We decided to strike yoga poses on the catwalk (Hannah's idea!) to show how our clothing, with its natural fibers, is so comfortable that even in a dress one can ease into complicated yoga postures - no problemo! We had fun.