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A little love goes a long way in a crisis

As a home-grown brand now into our seventh collection, we count our lucky stars that those critical growing years took place during a time of economic boom and hedonistic, celeb-driven spending.

What a shock for us all when the bubble burst (as they invariably do) and we all came back down to earth with a bump. But what a wake-up call too as we now revise our strategies in order to survive a recession and, more importantly, continue to grow during one. It is an opportunity to work more closely with our retailers - we must help each other through the tough times.

Brands need indies and so we must help them to increase trade and encourage their customers to spend. True, we are all a bit screwed by our suddenly not-so-great British pound. Our weak currency does not go as far as it did six months ago, whether we manufacture in Europe or Asia.

But we cannot afford to let indies take the hit for that. Increasing wholesale prices means one of two things: the increase is passed on to consumers, or retailers are forced to reduce their margins.

Neither option has a very credit-crunch friendly outcome. So Love From Australia will not be increasing wholesale prices this year and will absorb the
rising costs of production to cut our loyal stockists a little slack while they get back on track.

In return, we ask for earlier payment and offer discounts to good payers. Our stockists will be encouraged to order what they need and then top up. We will refresh the product midway through the season to give consumers a reason to keep spending.

And we are confident that between us all we can get things moving again.

Tara Knapp is the founder and designer of sheepskin boot brand Love From Australia

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