Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Coping with the crisis: ‘Our combined income with my bag brand is £28,000 but we have had to raise prices’

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“Personally, what struck me most about the cost of living crisis was the rise in food and fuel prices.”

Nell Wharton, 31

The entrepreneur lives in North Yorkshire and runs a British made bag brand called BearMade. She and her husband have a combined income of £28,000 a year and reinvest most of that back into the business.

Together with my husband Oscar, I own three companies that I manage and lead. Our main business is a UK made bag brand that we started in 2019. We sell our bags locally and this summer we opened our first shop. It’s been a tough few years and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier.

Our combined income is £28,000 per year and our monthly bills are £1,500 per month. I admit it’s a bit of a stretch between us.

However, since we live in the middle of nowhere, it’s actually quite difficult to spend money frivolously, and our greatest love is exploring the great outdoors, which is free. I think our greatest pleasure is going out to dinner every now and then, and I really like buying books about mushrooms so we can go foraging.

I’ve gotten a little obsessed. On a personal level, what struck me most about the cost of living crisis was the rise in food and fuel prices.

We try to reinvest as much of our money back into our businesses as possible, so we’re really conscious of how much we’re spending and we’ve really noticed that our food and fuel bills have increased significantly.

At home, too, we deliberately switch off the light when not in use and initially use hot-water bottles instead of turning on the heating.

To minimize food waste, we often cook large meals and try to keep them for several days. We use scraps and leftovers to make broth and broccoli stalks make an excellent pesto!

Where inflation was particularly evident to us was in our business. We recently had to increase the price of our bags, which we were reluctant to do.

When we started we wanted to make amazing quality bags that are made in the UK and as affordable as possible. We were frustrated by how much it often costs to buy something great, and we were pretty sure it was possible to make something great and charge a fair price for it.

Luckily we started with low prices for our bags so despite the increases they still offer very good value for money.

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