Called Romp, it aims to capture shoppers willing to pay a premium for ethically sourced goods.
Romp will market ‘fashion and lifestyle’ accessories from keyrings to dresses and allow customers to trace the identity of all its suppliers. It will sell through boutiques and direct mail.
Each product will carry a code that customers key in to the firm’s website. Clicking on the product will reveal the name and contact details of each supplier. For example, a leather keyring trading at £10 will reveal the name and contact details of a Wiltshire farm, Gloucestershire abattoir, Slovenia tannery and London designer involved in its production. Garments will cost £300 to £500 and will be derived mainly from cotton or leather.
Although food retailers such as Waitrose and Marks & Spencer have sought to show the ethical provenance of some of their products, this is believed to be the first time a business has made the actual identity of all suppliers available.
Romp, which is run by leather merchant Greg Sturmer, has hired brand PR agency Glasshouse Partnership to build its profile. It is seeking to secure sponsors and celebrity endorsements with its first range – for autumn/winter 2005 – scheduled to launch next February. Media coverage will target consumer, environmental and technology correspondents.
‘Consumers can X-ray their product’s ethical performance and assess its fit to their own values,’ said Glasshouse partner Tim Kitchin. ‘This throws down the gauntlet to the consumer goods industry.’