Today is the last day of our brick and mortar store in Snohomish, WA. Natural Clothing Company will stay with our small location in Bothell, WA and a website www.NaturalClothingCompany.com
Closing the store is quite a humbling experience for us, bitter-sweet. Hundreds of people walked through our door in last month with the same question “WHY are you closing?”
For the ones who then walked through the store without picking up even a pair of socks, I think the answer is obvious. For others, we’ve tried the most honest explanation but it was difficult. I spent many nights pondering an answer. The store products were loved and admired by many. Our sales volume kept growing though never in sustainable profit range. Yes, I guess the love is sometimes not enough.
Natural and organic products are still a tiny niche. I think that natural made fibers should be on endanger species list! They are more expensive to grow and make, sometimes prohibited by law -- like hemp plant, they are not as stretchy like oil based textiles, cannot be easily printed in millions of colors and designs like nylon or polyester. The challenges of making them soft, flexible and stretchy to flatter our imperfect shapes is huge. The process does not allow for making it cheap, small distribution has narrow range of sizes, etc etc. It gets often cast aside by average consumer. Even by consumers who cannot tolerate other fabrics.
This fall we have brought our best collection of gorgeous clothing, in natural colors and organic fibers made in sophisticated fabrication but the cost of items went up. As I have been beating myself over why I can’t keep the store afloat, I did not come up with sufficient answers. So the store is officially closed. We will continue online with less overhead and more focused attention. My husband might get occasional dinner. Customers will hopefully receive better service.
In the end, I’d like to share with you one more point, not very practical but nevertheless I think valid:
I don’t want to see the world dressed in plastic clothes, sitting on plastic furniture, eating plastic food out of plastic containers. When we go for the walk in a forest, we admire the beauty of life without bringing our aesthetic standards. We see rotting wood, broken branches, moss and dirty rocks and we see beauty. We admire these elements because they breathe, live, interact with each other. They give off the vibes that our body understands, our soul revives on. It gives us very much needed assurance of continuity of life. To me, the natural fibers give the same life. They are not perfect, they are muted in colors and since rare they keep going up in price. But they breathe. They are alive. They have been companions to us humans for zillion of years, our DNA growing together. They can use our love.
Unique products will survive probably only in small unassuming shops. like the one not far away from you. The bakery with a bit higher prices than the chain grocery store, the small bookstore that does not have the selection of Amazon. The gift store with beautiful Christmas gifts and a small restaurant that’s one of the few family restaurants left. Give them your love, hug your merchant, spend your dollar there instead of department store. You know well, watching the political debates, that there are no solutions coming from above. But it is our important choice – to whom we give life and love and whom not. It can change everything. Even the world.
Leave you with Lennon, sung recently at our Thumbnail Theater:
Thank you very much. As always, we cannot express enough thanks for kind words and support from you, for all you taught us and your friendship.