I started Freja with a lot of ideas, and two big goals.
1) To make the highest quality, most thoughtfully designed, handmade vegan leather bags.
2) To make them with no leftover inventory.
Over 100 billion items of clothing are made every year. 20 billion go straight to landfill.
The clothing industry is the largest polluter in the world, second only to oil.
I didn't want to create something that people didn't want. I most definitely did not want to add to that pile.
I thought 250-300 bags would be a good place to start for Freja. Problem is, most factories will ignore you for anything less than 1,000 units. Their equipment is simply designed for mass production. And factories really don't like to work with new brands. New brands are risky.
After a few months of searching, we had a list of ten factories who were willing to work with smaller minimums. I scheduled a trip to tour the factories with my dad. He took a nap at one of the factories on our last day, so we only made it to nine. Then our flight home got cancelled. Totally worth it.
Fast forward four months later, I placed our first order of 300 bags. The latte color sold out quickly. But we still had half our black bags in stock. And we’re still working through that inventory today, even after having restocked our second order of totes in Latte.
Brands are supposed to grow. The faster, the better. Expansion is exciting. But at what cost?
We’re slowing down. Until we grow to have a bigger community, I’ll be ordering 100 units at a time. I've somehow convinced our factory to work with even smaller minimums :)
More importantly, moving forward we’ll be launching each new style with preorders first. By preordering, you let us know what what we should make before we cut into a single piece of (vegan) leather. By preordering, you have 8 weeks to get to know your bag before it arrives with you. I’ll be sending biweekly progress updates!
This is not the typical or “right” way to run a business. But my goal was never to make the most bags. From day one, my goal was to make the best bags for people who are excited to wear them, and work towards being a truly zero waste brand.
I know 8-10 weeks sounds like a long time. But there are no shortcuts when we’re trying to create a meaningful product, one you can get to know throughout the entire design and manufacturing process. It’s the perfect time to catch up on that podcast you’ve been meaning to start, or even learn something new. I learned how to hold a (very shaky) handstand while waiting for the last batch.
Thank you for preordering, thank you for being a part of Freja, thank you for coming on this journey with us. I hope the time we invest into making each piece means your Freja bag is a purchase you can feel good about, and be proud to wear.