Our design process pledge
Here at Cable and Cotton we have incorporated sustainability into the heart of what we do. Right from the start of the business back in 2009.
I’m the founder of cable and cotton which is probably too grand a title considering the business is run by myself, my wife Tash and our friend Alexis - plus extra hands when we get very busy!
We have stuck to doing one thing as well as we can - selling customisable string lights - and we’ve stayed small. We’ve stayed small so we don’t have to compromise on anything we do; from being genuinely proud of the products we sell to being friendly and helpful to all our customers.
When I was a kid I used to fix broken things at home - there’s nothing I liked more than taking apart something that was broken and fixing it. I fixed everything from washing machines to hairdryers and I can recall the joy it brought me to make something broken work again. I think it was mainly the fact that I’d taken something apart, understood how it worked to the point that I was able to identify the problem and fix it.
When I started Cable and Cotton I wanted to sell something which would last and I thought the best way to do that was to have parts that could be interchangeable and replaceable. That way if one part broke the whole product didn’t need to go in the bin.
It still makes my heart sink when I find that so many products these days simply aren’t fixable in the way they were when I was a kid - if it breaks that’s it…. into the bin (and probably landfill) it goes.
Working through starting a business with that ‘fixability’ rationale in mind meant that I’d be selling something in parts which I had to stock and assemble into ‘kits’. Which meant that I might as well give customers the option to pick and choose what specific parts they wanted - and a customisable product was born.
Back in 2009 small LED’s we’re not of great quality and they tended not to give the warm glow of an incandescent bulb. It took a few years of searching and not finding anything ‘off the shelf’ that I decided to design my own LED’s which would give the same light as incandescent but be much less temperamental and also use far less power.
I wanted LED’s which worked on 5V USB power so that customers didn’t need to buy a power source but could rather use an old phone charger plug. This cuts down on waste and means if a plug breaks it can be replaced (rather than the whole product). And if the LED’s break (which they rarely do) they can be replaced…and so on.
We have a design right to this day our LED’s and we are proud they are truly unique and we’re in fact the very first company to design and sell a 5V usb chain of LED’s - shame we couldn’t get a patent on it as it’s common place now !
I think our customers generally know and like the fact that we are a small friendly business and that we have care for the environment ‘baked in’ to our business model, as a result of staying small. It’s a luxury for any business.
It’s much harder for bigger businesses to change direction and suddenly factor in the current environmental concerns we are all faced with. There are plenty of bigger businesses run by considerate, mindful people but of course there is a lot more to juggle when running a bigger business.
For a start they have to pay their larger work force each month - those people have to pay their mortgages and feed their families. So now we are aware of the need to urgently be more mindful of our planet they can’t suddenly phase out entire product lines which ‘pay the bills’. They have to be mindful of their employees too. And of all their stakeholders needs - perhaps people who are retired having worked hard for the business all their lives so are reliant on income generated for their pensions.
I think it’s time that bigger business started to incorporate some of the thought process of smaller business into how they are structured and managed. As consumers we are already seem very aware of the need to change how we consume.
So at Cable and Cotton we pledge to make sure all our products can be fixed or updated/upgraded easily and that nothing we sell will ever need to be thrown away in its entirely because a part of it has broken.
With that in mind I’m excited to announce we have some new customisable, long life products to show you very soon - the first is one with which you can spell out whatever you want with (hint!).
Thanks for reading and hopefully for supporting what we do as customers.
Founder (ok - general dogsbody!)