All the things you wanted to know, and all the things you didn't know that you wanted to know, but now you know.
When did you launch?
After many sleepless nights and buckets of coffee, Cousin Billie launched in October 2018.
Whose clever idea was it?
Where do you make your clothes?
All of our garments are manufactured in Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) by an ethically-accredited manufacturer. (Aussie Aussie Aussie!)
What does 'ethical' mean?
In the Fashion Industry, the use of the term 'ethical' means that all of the people involved in the supply chain are given a decent living wage, acceptable working hours and a comfortable working environment.
Ethical to us is not a marketing 'buzzword'. It means being a kind and decent human being, and refusing to support human trafficking and child labour. A no-brainer really.
We're pretty happy that Australia now has a Modern Slavery Act, but this is a serious worldwide problem. You can read more about the effects that the Fashion Industry has on this issue in the Global Slavery Index and on our Facebook page.
Where do you get your fabric from?
We have a large network of suppliers, however it really depends on the fabric type required.
As each of our pieces are released in limited numbers or via pre-order only, this enables us to source small quantities of unique remnant (or 'deadstock') fabrics from high-end Italian and Japanese designers. This helps to put a use to fabrics that would otherwise be going to waste.
A lot of these are already based in Australia, which reduces our carbon footprint.
Believe it or not, buying high-end remnant fabric is actually a much more expensive option than purchasing bulk from a large-scale Agent but the quality is much better (as with most things in life).
We also design exclusive prints, support local artists, and have fabric printed to order (using environmentally-friendly NeoPigment™ dyes) through fabric mills in South Korea, USA and the United Kingdom. This too minimises wastage because we only purchase the amount of fabric we need. The reason we don't get fabric printed in Australia is because of the minimum lengths required. We have estimated that our carbon footprint from flying printed fabric into Australia is less damaging than the waste of printing more fabric than we need.
We also collect any leftover scraps from the cutting room floor and use these for a multitude of purposes, including Fabric Swatches and wrapping gifts.
What steps are you taking to address sustainability?
See above for information regarding our approach to sourcing fabrics.
We also choose to release a limited number of pieces each year in small production runs with some releases being Pre-Order only.
The designs we do have made in advance are listed indefinitely on our website until completely sold out so there is no landfill generated from 'end of season' stock.
We also use compostable mailing bags (which in turn supports the efforts of saving the endangered Amur Leopard).
We are working on extracting more information about the farming practices and the early steps in our supply chain with regard to our fabrics and trims. Some of this information is difficult to track down once it passes through an agency but as we learn, we are making decisions on who we do and don't support.
We also try to avoid fabrics with a lot of blends as these are more difficult to break down at the end of their life cycle.
How many of each design do you make?
To be able to provide a more unique product, we limit our production to 20-25 of each style, which is approx. 4 of each size. There is a huge premium to have small numbers manufactured but we try to keep our costs to you as low as possible, while still providing something fresh.
As an example, producing 1000 t-shirts offshore might cost between $2-10/shirt. To ethically produce 20 in Australia can cost anywhere from $50-90/shirt.
We are also moving towards more of a Made to Order model, to minimise wastage and provide a more personalised product.
Do you have any physical stores?
At this stage, we don't, for a few reasons:
To start with, it immediately makes your clothes up to 400% more expensive.
Being able to sell directly to you helps us eliminate the overhead costs of a bricks-and-mortar store and completely wipes out the need for retail mark-ups.
We’re also a small business and that means we’re busy doing it all! Between designing, sourcing fabrics and trims, getting patterns made, organising sampling and development, labels, production schedules, photo shoots, packing and sending orders, running our social media pages, writing blog posts and maintaining our website... it doesn’t leave us much time for running a physical store.
Besides, we live in the middle of nowhere.
Do you sell to Retailers?
For wholesale and dropshipping enquiries, please contact us to register your interest.
Is there somewhere I can try on these clothes?
1. Your bedroom, in front of your own mirror, where everything is familiar. (No tricky lighting, no horrendous music, all your shoes within reach and the neighbour's dog barking for absolutely no reason.)
2. At selected local markets, predominantly in regional Victoria.
3. At one-off events across the country, including fashion parades and fundraisers.
Check our social pages for upcoming events.
(We also have a very accommodating returns policy if you don’t feel right about your purchase.)
What sizes do you stock?
At the moment: 8-16. Please contact us to register your interest in us expanding our sizing options.
See this Instagram post for more info on why it's not just as easy as adding another cm to a garment!
How often do you release new clothing?
We aim to release at least 2 collections each year with some mini-ranges in between. We focus on quality rather than quantity and our testing and development process is extremely thorough.
We don't strictly work to the Fashion Industry's calendar so you will be able to buy garments in season rather than at crazy times of the year.
Can I feel the fabrics before I buy?
Of course! Click here to order your free swatches.
What is your turnaround time for packing my order?
For products that we have in stock, your order will be packed and shipped within 48 hours.
Pre-order garments will vary depending on demand and manufacturing availability. As a general guideline please allow 3-6 weeks for Pre-orders. Note that Covid lockdowns in Melbourne are currently affecting our production turnaround time.
How long will my garments take to arrive?
By carrier pigeon: One month. (Give or take).
By courier (recommended): See here.
Can I return or exchange an item if I change my mind or it doesn’t fit?
'Course you can! Read about Returns & Exchanges here
I want to send a gift to a friend. How do I do this?
Well aren't you just the sweetest thing?!
You can either purchase some of our Gift Vouchers here OR if you're gifting products, just complete the checkout process as yourself and add a comment in the Notes section with the recipient’s name and address (and a little note to them if you wish).
We'll make sure no cheeky invoices are included in the box.
Got any other questions? Please contact us.
Otherwise, Return to Store