,Introduce us to you and your brand/work.
We are Haver and we set up our business in May 2021, the new kids on the block! Individually we are Dean and Andy. We’d met on our previous job and worked together for several years, and always talked of putting together a wee clothing business (especially on the harder days at work!). When lockdown hit it affected our positions on our previous job, so instead we put our energy (and a lot of Zoom chats!) into finally getting the ideas we’d had into action. It was certainly nice to come out of lockdown having achieved that long term ambition!
,How has your brand/work developed since you began?
Since our initial chats some years ago, we have always been clear that we wanted Haver to be an ethical, but cool brand. We’ve found lots of clothing brands talk the talk but don’t walk the walk (they Haver, you could say!) and with ethical production scandals becoming a more regular feature of the news agenda in recent years, it’s clear that a lot of companies have got this very wrong. We wanted to build Haver with our ethical woven in right from the start, so our playful attitude and graphic designs does not indicate complacency in this department. Since we developed Haver, our commitment to an ethical approach as an absolute minimum standard has really developed and strengthened, and we believe the bigger brands really let consumers and suppliers down in this regard.
,What do you consider to be your most popular product?
Our core product so far has absolutely been our T-Shirts. For us, they really do symbolise everything we’re trying to achieve with Haver. They’re relying on graphic elements and bright colours to stand out from the pack, and the underlying credentials are solid. When we saw the prototype for the final product, we knew we were on to the winner!
,Tell us a little about a piece you are the proudest of?
I’m torn here. Our T-Shirts are the absolute cornerstone of Haver and a really solid place to expand into a great range of clothing and apparel. They’re ethically produced, organic, and we’re really proud of how they look and feel. But oddly, our proudest was the feedback on our Face Masks. We wear glasses, and having a product that really resolves a trouble that people have with wearing masks and glasses is something we’re very proud of. It’s the little things that really make a difference sometimes!
,Do you have any past accomplishments you wish to share?
We launched in May 2021 with our website only, on the May Day Bank Holiday. We fretted that we wouldn’t sell anything, but by the end of the week the Post Office were sick of us and we’d been stocked by a West End boutique after they approached us on Social Media. It was great to have that validation to what we were doing so quickly on our journey, and really gave us a boost after almost a year putting the business together behind closed doors!
,How did you find out about SDX? And what made you apply to sell with us?
Our experience with SDX started as a customer – we feel that giving a platform to independent producers in the way SDX does is a powerful way to address the issues continuing to face both the High Street and producers these days. When we launched Haver it was a complete no brainer to try to get listed with SDX. Doing this so soon after we launched has been one of our best achievements so far.
,What would you consider to be the most challenging aspect about being a working artist/designer?
One day, you’re working on ideas and daydreaming about where things can go. The next day, there’s a leak in the studio roof, a letter from HMRC to deal with and a new lockdown to deal with. Unlike steady employment, it’s never been truer that every day is different! It can feel like a lot of responsibility and can be very challenging to manage all the aspects of running a creative business – it requires a lot of hats to be worn all at once!
,What have you found to be the most challenging aspect to your business since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020?
At Haver we’re in the odd category of really putting out ideas together after lockdown. The biggest challenge has been in terms of supply, but also in terms of getting eyes on our products in person. With so much pent up demand for in-person shopping but so many restrictions, it really challenged our ideas around launching into the big, bad world. Luckily we seem to be turning a corner now, and working with SDX is a significant part of that journey.
,How have you spent your time during lockdowns, any new hobbies or passions discovered?
I had been lucky to buy a bike in February 2020 before lockdown caused demand to go through the roof. Building up to long distance rides over the past 18 months has definitely been a great way to unwind in these challenging times – and it took care of the lockdown pounds (in the legs at least!)
How do you think the pandemic will affect shopping habits and the retail industry moving forward?
I believe that lockdown has really sharpened consumers on the ideals of ethical consumption. We’ve had to make do much more, as shops have closed either temporarily (or sadly, forever). Various scandals in the clothing industry in recent times have really made it to the public conscience. We’re really proud to be taking Haver right into this space, and challenging the existing ways of doing things in the industry.
,What do you hope to gain from working with SDX going forward?
We feel a lot of synergy with SDX and its approach. SDX is taking on the challenges in the High Street and has taking a more co-operative approach to running a retail outlet. Haver is taking challenges in the clothing industry and trying to establish new methods of production. SDX is the ideal partner for Haver, and we look forward to seeing SDX’s innovations develop in the years to come.
If you could share just one piece of advice to aspiring artists/designers who want to make a living from their creative talents, what would you tell them?
‘Why not?’ When we were starting to make our ideas a reality, it was this advice that made us take the leap. We have it written all over the wall in our studio, as a reminder that ideas only become reality if you take the leap – and a lot of the time that means countering your own internal fears.
,Tell us your favourite inspirational quote or best advice YOU were given.
You really should invest in a brolly.
Thank you to Dean and Andy for participating in our blog, you can help support SDX and Haver by choosing to purchase their products at our Glasgow, Buchanan Galleries shop!