MORE ABOUT OUR EFFORTS FOR UKRAINE
A letter from our Founder.
Updated 9th February, 2023
Dear Great Scotter,
Like so many people, we watched the horrors unfolding in Ukraine with shock and utter disbelief. We felt helpless, frustrated and deeply upset. We knew that we must do something meaningful to help now.
Whilst offering a cash donation in the company's name was the first idea, we were compelled to do more than this - but what exactly?
Our social media community has over 120k active Great Scotters and you have always kept us right, so I took the question directly to you, "What should we do and for that matter what shouldn't we do?"
Your response was a clarion call. You beseeched us to design and weave a bold, defiant tartan and sew it into popular styles. The profits should be sent to a reputable charity. Many suggested that The Disasters Emergency Committee would be a good match - The D.E.C. brings together 15 leading aid charities at times of humanitarian crisis overseas and they launch targeted appeals during times of monumental suffering, which is the case in Ukraine right now.
Donations to the D.E.C. go to their members to spend directly or through trusted partners in the field. Amongst others, these partners include the Red Cross, Islamic Relief, Oxfam and Save the Children.
Further to this, every pound donated to the D.E.C. is matched by the government, up to the value of £20million.
So, we begin.
We usually take several weeks to create a tartan design for a customer but we all felt strongly that the urgency was such that there was no time to waste. We began the concept and design process immediately and worked through that night to finalise every small detail. Colour codes and thread counts complete, the Ukraine Forever Tartan is everything we hoped it would be; bright, bold and beautiful. Strong.
We called all of our partner weaving mills to see who could most rapidly schedule us into their 2022/23 weaving calendar. (Update: Please do consult this link with covers dispatch dates here)
If you joined this project early on, you will have noticed that we have had to adjust dispatch dates twice now and we were obviously reluctant to do this but the size of this project grew immensely when - most unexpectedly, we were featured on practically every major news channel in the world during the course of May.
Your suggestion then to pre-sell the items will allow us to begin donating just before the products are shipped.
Each product has a different cost to weave, sew, pack and ship but in general the profit margins (after VAT, discount codes/returns), range from 21% to 45%. Now, as the number of purchases grow, we may yet also benefit from being able to bring economies of scale to the project and thus improve the margins and therefore the percentage of donation that each item affords. Please try not apply discount codes because this obviously reduces the amount we are able to donate.
We also added an additional choice at checkout where you can choose that your basket total be rounded up, so that even the smallest donation (of even a penny) can add to the overall amount raised, or that a separate stand-alone donation can be made, which we will match, up to a value of £20. This is hosted by the app Give and Grow and the Pledgeling Foundation and they are instructed to donate directly on our behalf to the D.E.C. in real time. This donation is already in excess of £9,000! We have also donated over 600 scarves, 300 teddies and around 30 kilts - worn by soldiers, doctors and relief workers.
For many of you who joined us at the beginning of the Great Scot journey, you are keenly aware of how we champion our communities. Our determination for Made-in-Britain and the various worthy charitable causes have brought real support to so many through the years. It's the power of Tartan.
For example, during the pandemic many of you purchased our beautiful tartan Face Masks which in turn allowed us to donate over 46,000 masks for free. More than this, the project allowed us to give significant support to struggling mills through our purchase of many thousands of metres of fine tartan and it allowed us to continue the much loved Great Scot Seamstress Training Program - albeit remotely.
Tartan has always been an emotive fabric. It courts nostalgia, empowers identity and is a source of great pride and joy to millions of people. Tartan unites people from all over the world, and not just Scotland. Our hope is that this fusion of the colours of the Saltire and the Ukrainian flag expresses Scotland's solidarity with Ukraine. It is a symbol of alliance and defiance.
As ever, we will keep our community updated about the amount raised. Hopefully you're already signed up to our VIP email updates and follow our progress on Facebook and Instagram. Look out too for interesting 'behind the scenes' footage of the dyeing and weaving process and watch our seamstresses sewing and finishing. We are making super progress!
I want to thank you so much for your continued support. We love designing tartans, tweeds and making beautiful items from it, but I hope you share with me the sense that this particular tartan has the power to really make a difference, endure and leave a legacy that speaks to Scottish-Ukrainian solidarity long after we are gone.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank-you for your incredible generosity so far in supporting this, our collective project. Without you, we are nothing.