Debt? Huh? What? This is a fashion store, not The Financial Times. What’s going on here?
It may surprise you to know that before I was a punk rock Head Bitch In Charge (HBIC for short) of Marketing for an alternative clothing company, I was a punk rock head of a portfolio for a global finance company. When I took the job, it was not long after I’d been made redundant in an environmental role after the company collapsed. I thought to myself when accepting the job, ”well, it’s in money. It isn’t like money’s going anywhere, right??”
I had started that job right before the shit hit the fan with the global recession, and spent every day for the rest of my time there wondering if “today was the day I was going to get retrenched.” Didn’t exactly make for a happy work environment. But that wasn’t what got to me most of all.
What got to me was the fact that I watched all these loan applications coming through from the motorcycle dealerships I ran- some my age, some younger; with their histories littered with credit card applications, loan applications; so much accumulated debt for people just starting out in adulthood. And it was part of my job to ensure you all got loaded up to the hilt even further by getting you on your motorcycle at often sickeningly high interest rates set by the dealerships. By the time I was in the job 12mths, I could tell you from a glance who was going to wind up bankrupt inside of three years, and they were all less than 25. We even got bankrupts coming through, younger adults with their credit profiles covered with defaults because they financed themselves up to the eyeballs and subsequently drowned in the repayments. The fact that they came back for more showed that they’d learnt nothing.
The global company that I worked for, HQ based in the US- were one of the jerkbags responsible for the sub-prime lending crisis which put us all in the shit heap we find ourselves in today. I discovered I had gone from an environmental job where I was working every day to better the world around me, to a finance job where I became part of the problem.
FACT TIME: Did you know that every time you make an enquiry on a loan, on a credit card, on anything to do with giving you money or a line of credit, that enquiry goes onto a credit file that is accessible by all credit and financial providers? Did you also know that the more enquiries on your credit file, the worse you look? It doesn’t matter if you didn’t take the finance up or not, but when there are an absolute shitload of hits on your profile a credit assessor will ask one of two things- “What happened here that caused them to go card crazy with all the applications, can they really afford this loan?” OR, “There is a lot of enquiries here, what credit isn’t the applicant telling us about so they can try to fly under the radar?”
We live in an age where the internet allows us to see the photo of a friend’s newborn baby seconds after it’s freshened up from halfway around the world. Information comes faster and from right out of our pocket. Television shows are cancelled more often than not, before they even get out of the gate. We are in a world of impatience, and one where debt can thrive because it directly appeals to our “Want It Fucking NOW” desires. Despite all the crackdowns in federal laws against the finance industry to protect the consumer, banks are still eager as all hell to load you up with credit cards, car loans, personal loans, all with shit you inevitably can’t afford because you end up paying two, sometimes three times the price if you’d just saved up and bought it out of your own cash. And it’s even easier to acquire it all.
There is a great lack of responsibility where money and the spending of it is concerned, and so many don’t place value on it. Until the zombie apocalypse eventually gets here and we go back to trading on surviving cattle, crops and gems; we still trade on currency. We still need it. And the more debt we have, the less currency we have to further our goals, our dreams, our directions.
There needs to be ownership of it, and when you purchase things with debt, there is never ownership, because it’s owned by a bank with that credit card debt looming always at the back of your mind causing you stress, anxiety and despair.
I’ve been thinking a lot about it over the last few days. I vowed when I left the finance game altogether that I wouldn’t become a part of the problem anymore, I would instead work towards being a part of the solution.
We understand that we stock some pretty nifty wares, and that some of the items (such as the Shrine range) are the high quality-but-at-a-high-cost garment that everyone wants in their wardrobes. Which is why when this site was built one of the first things I needed to have was a layby function. It’s also why we push it so much. I want these garments and accessories to be accessible, without having to resort to racking up a boatload of debt. Creating the total ownership through buying these things out of your own cash only boosts your confidence, which in turn makes you look great, but is also protecting your wallet in the long run.
Too many times do I see people say “I’ll just pay on the credit card and pay it off later” only to not ever pay it off because something ALWAYS comes along. Always. Before you know it you’ve maxed out your card and are only just managing the minimum repayments because every time you get a bit of limit available? Something. Always. Comes. Along. I would rather you hold out and pay it off out of your own money rather than say “fuck it” and whack it on a credit card.
It’s also why I’ve decided three very important things in regards to the layby:
The first, is that I’ve extended out the timeframe for payment. You now have six months to complete the layby, giving you more money in your pocket, and more time to get the clothing you want.
I have also removed all associated fees, so that you can pay as many small payments or little large payments as you want, there is no charge to layby.
The final thing, and possibly the most enticing of all, we will be soon launching a “Build Your Wardrobe” for the site which will include a package of clothes in different styles, ranges and options which by bundling them at a price, will be less cost in the long run if you buy each item separately.
We do this because we are here to equip and empower you to look your best, and feel your best.
We provide the armour, and now the tools- You provide the attitude.