Can Sales Ever Be Sustainable and Ethical?

Every so often, we offer sales across a range of our shoes. As we value the ethical production of our shoes – which means spending more on making them than fast fashion and other brands largely do – sales can lead to questions around the true cost of our shoes, and if they truly are ethically produced. At the same time, questions around overconsumption often come up when we talk about sales. So let's explore these questions.


sale sign


Why do you offer sales?

We offer sales for two main reasons.

The first, is that moving stock helps us to keep our small business afloat. It's for this reason that older styles often go on sale, when there are only a few pairs left and we want to make space (physically and financially) to bring in something new. Other times, really new styles go on sale, as they're sold at a lower, pre-order price. This lower price exists for a limited time, and incentivises people getting in earlier, which helps us cover the cost of actually making those shoes. Sometimes, simply, we have a sale to get us through a rough patch. 

On the flip side of this, we like the fact that sales not only help us when we need a little extra support, but they do the same for our customers, too. When we have sales, people who have been admiring shoes for a long time, that they can't quite financially justify buying, are able to. This makes us happy. 



buy less choose well make it last

Don't sales promote overconsumption?

Sales absolutely can promote overconsumption, and we think the way that some sales are marketed is irresponsible and unsustainable. With that in mind, here are a few ways we do sales differently: 

  • You'll notice that in our sales language, we never tell you that you need something – because who are we to tell you that? You can't buy your way to happiness, and we won't pretend you can. 

  • We never create false markups just to bring the price down. If something is marked down, we're cutting into our margins, but we're doing it because it's something the business has decided is right at the time. We promise our sales never exist to make you think you're getting something cheaply, when that's what we intended to sell it for the whole time. 

  • We won't ever say something is limited when it really isn't. This creates a misleadingly false sense of urgency that brands use to sell more stuff, through deception.

  • We never offer a ridiculous sale, where a huge percentage of the original price is marked down. This is something that fast fashion brands paying next to nothing for their garments and shoes often do, but we don't want to contribute to the de-valuing of clothing and shoes in a system which too often already sees them as worthless and disposable. We also couldn't afford to do it! 

  • We never run marketing copy that encourages you to rush your purchase. Shoes are an investment, and you should only buy shoes you plan to love, care for and wear for many years to come. Deciding what pair that is, takes time. 



making vegan shoesMany of our shoes are made at the Ahimsa factory


What do your shoes really cost to make?

The price of our shoes vary because the amount it costs to make them varies, too. A knee length boot costs more than a simple, flat sandal because there's more material used, and more craftsmanship required in their making, for example. 

When we set a price for a pair of shoes, we consider how much the materials cost – and we don't choose the cheapest vegan leather, we choose more responsibly made vegan leather, how much it costs to actually make the shoes – ensuring fair living wages are paid to those creating them, how much it costs to make our packaging (like our recycled boxes), the cost of running our online and physical store, and the cost of paying our team (who sell and send you your shoes and who keep the business afloat) – these people also need fair living wages. 

We can't tell you exactly what every single one of our shoes cost to make and send out to you, but we can promise that we don't run on an enormous margin, and set our prices to ensure our business can continue to run in a way that is fair and sustainable.


zette shoesShoes from our in-house Zette collection


Do shoes sold on sale mean less money going to the people who make your shoes?  

No. Whether we are running a pre-order sale or a sale of existing styles, the amount that we pay for our shoes to be made never changes. As a business we decide to run a sale to keep cash flowing, even if it means less money than could otherwise be made.



We hope that clarifies some things for you!  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. And, as always, please remember to shop mindfully, and ask yourself if you really love and will care for something before you buy it.  


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