Pattern Shift

#46 - Alice Karolina @ The Ethical Move on Ethical Marketing

October 21, 2022 Saskia de Feijter Season 3 Episode 46
Pattern Shift
#46 - Alice Karolina @ The Ethical Move on Ethical Marketing
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

We welcome Alice from The Ethical Move this week on A Smaller Life!

Alice owns a branding firm, and she runs an online community (with the help of dedicated others) that's focused on ethical branding / marketing.

How do we attract customers without using lead magnets? 

How can we appeal to our customers without manipulating them? 

These are the kind of questions they ask at https://www.theethicalmove.org/

 

Main Takeaways

  • current marketing strategies are often deeply manipulating
  • industry advice that is given is often based on tricking people into buying things
  • consumerism is not sustainable, not ethical, and it's just straight up harmful in many ways

more take-aways in the shownotes on the website.

 

 "...and that is really where the community is strongest, like the community is really meant to hold that space where we work on our ethical marketing pursuits, because they will last a lifetime. This is a great un-learning and a great re-creating of what we want things to be, you know? Like if we don't use lead magnets, what do we do? If we don't use the typical selling strategies, what are strategies that work, that work more, let’s say cyclically or in a natural connection? What about relationship? I just think branding goes a lot deeper than we think."– Alice Karolina, The Ethical Move

 

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Saskia de Feijter:

Hi, my name is Saskia. I've got over a decade of experience in running a small business in the needle craft industry. I'm obsessed with the healing magic of crafting and the power of community. dreaming big about a world where we rely on value based businesses, the kindness economy, and where we can fully say, Fuck fast fashion. A smaller life aims to inspire you to look at your wardrobe differently. Where do you buy? How do you use your clothes? And can you make some of it yourself? We learn from experts in the needlecraft textile and creative industry big names and small about what it's actually like to run a small business. I'm educated in marketing and photography, and learn to do everything else on the job selling patented product design, teaching and running a needlecraft school. As a small business owner, you're in charge of everything, branding, marketing, selling, promoting and cleaning the loo emotional talks with sellers about wins and woes, product and design conscious decision making, why we do it, how we do it, and what we need to become the future of fashion without burning the help apps. And I'm determined to lift our Cena for the world to notice. So they can step away from fast fashion. Hi, Alice, how are you?

Alice Karolina:

I'm good. Thank

Saskia de Feijter:

you. How are you? I'm good. I'm hot. And I'm super excited to have this conversation. You are Ellis Carolina. And that's your last name? Yes, yes. Cool. Let's get that most important thing. Do you want to start with telling us who you are and what you do. And a little bit about the journey that you took to end up where you are?

Alice Karolina:

Yes, of course. I grew up in Switzerland, I started in the design industry, just like you went to art school. And so that led me to one of my businesses, which is branding, my brand strategist on one side. And then during my training and several other communication, training, marketing trainings afterwards, including, you know, commercial interior design, any kind of merchandising, stuff like that, I realized how deeply I despise manipulation and all its forms, even though I was really good at it. And maybe that's why. And so I left that industry behind came online with my business and realize that it's even worse online. And that's when the first seeds came in for the movement that I filled with just the ethical move the movement for ethical marketing, because I realized nobody was saying anything against all the atrocities, all the shaming, and the manipulation and the tactics. So those are my two, my two sort of like semi overlapping businesses. And they sort of compliment and marry each other. Because with my branding work, I do a lot more deep work a little more on the side of actually finding your voice and being true to your values and working from within. And in the same vein as the ethical move, trying to create a sphere where people don't have to rely on external sources to learn how they do things. They actually have a lot more already in the bank than anything. So that's kind of where I'm coming from

Saskia de Feijter:

on both sides. Oh, I love that. I love that last part you already have a lot. Sometimes you want to trust the big voices. Well, it's might be enough to just trust yourself. I love that.

Alice Karolina:

Yeah, yeah, we do. We do get trained differently. I'm sure we'll get into it through the conversation we're having, but we get trained to listen out, especially as women more than in. Because you know, that's the way the world there's a leader and we follow them. There's a lot more that we have that might actually be better because our ideas might be better than what's going on right now. Yeah. And I

Saskia de Feijter:

think a lot of people find that out in something disruptive happens in their lives, maybe health problems or something and they're forced to really go within and take time to reflect and to see, can I even do things differently? Is that okay, and how can I do that? And it's such a journey. Yeah, it's definitely something I personally also have been working with. So it's good to hear you say that. Can you tell me a little bit about how the ethical move as a movement works? What do you offer?

Alice Karolina:

Right So the ethical move is, is a business is not a not for profit, that's something that I want to highlight. We have a business model of an online community, which is a paid membership. The movement itself is broader than that we started with a pledge to market ethically, which means with honesty, transparency, taking responsibility. And we shifted and changed our pledge over the years. And we've come to one that really suits us that works more from within than us telling people how to do things. So that is where we landed, we originally wanted to create a standard, you know, a certification of some kind, like Fairtrade or organic, something like that, and realized in the process of researching that, that we would be perpetuating kind of a patriarchal colonial system with that. And in so doing, actually going against what we believe in, which is the liberation and thriving of all people. And not some sort of weird, you know, white savior ism, let me tell you how to do things. So anyways, that's where we really turn the course and realize how much of it is community based, and should be collective. So that's where we found out well, the only real way we can do this is to collectively finding a way to market. Yeah, so that's when we decided to start a community and online community, and we just launched a couple

Saskia de Feijter:

of weeks ago, three weeks ago. Anyways.

Alice Karolina:

And it's yes, it's gonna be it's gonna be so fun to finally take all our conversations that we had in our team slack into the community, because the the one thing that I've noticed about the ethical marketing journey is having people in the boat with you that you can converse with and kind of go I feel weird about this, or this is a really, like, I have had an experience that I can't describe, like, I don't know why it makes me feel weird, but you know, or I really want to sell this, but how do I do it, and what's a good way to, you know, navigate it. And that is really, where the community is strongest, like the community is really meant to hold that space to work on our ethical marketing pursuits, because they will last a lifetime. This is a great unlearning, and a great recreating of what we want things to be, you know, like, if we don't use lead magnets, what do we do? And we know if we don't use the typical selling strategies, what are strategies that work that work more, let's say cyclically, or in you know, in a natural sort of connection, what What about relationships, I just think that branding goes a lot deeper than we think, you know, after years and years and years of doing this work, I still, I'm trying to find a better word for it. Because what branding typically is, you know, in the schematic that people have in their head, is this very shiny, flashy, either it's logos and colors, you know, that's one side, which, you know, a lot of people are learning that that's not actually just, you know, that's not all of it. Very pretty part of it, though.

Unknown:

So and then it was one part.

Alice Karolina:

But branding goes so much deeper. And I would, I would argue, to have a really, really solid brand means to have a really solid business identity. And I think that's where I like to play is in the down deep, you know, below the surface, where you're building your values and your building, you know, your purpose, your vision, the place that you're actually going to, which then connects you to your people, because they better have the same vision as you exactly right. And then you can message to them with the exact purpose of helping them solve their problems being a partner in their solution. So, to me, branding has been kind of bastardized, to be honest, and taken into a very sort of short term quick and dirty, you know, do a website over the weekend kind of thing, when I just really want to stretch it out and look at it as a practice. Same with ethical marketing, it's a practice, we do it every day, we're not going to be done everyone not

Saskia de Feijter:

gonna be gonna keep evolving. You know, it's like a your own identity, which is a complete journey from the day you're born to the day you die. Who am I? What, what does it mean to be me? And finding ways to come closer to the core of who you are you do the same with your business? And so they might have a big overlap. And I think if we talk about value based businesses, they should have a big overlap. But it is a continuous it's a practice. Yeah, yeah. Cool. And so the pledge. Can we go into that into the pledge? What are the specific things that you talk about? Not to do or do differently to say that right?

Alice Karolina:

Sure, yes. You can find your own words for it. That's kind of the whole point of it all is Yeah, everyone find their own way of doing it. I. So we have three distinct points, I'm just going to tell you the pledge, like the the actual wording. And then what we mean by the first point is we put the person before the sale, this can also include the planet, we respect you and your privacy, we will help you make the best choice for your needs, not ours. So that basically means you come before my need for a sale. That doesn't mean, we can't have our own needs met. That doesn't mean that we can't sell the thing that we're selling, we just adhere to the principle of the human in front of us, or, you know, the way that we're selling things is not going to harm is actually going to be in benefit of the person in front of us, that should hopefully eliminate any and all shaming tactics or any and all the ways in which we get told we don't know things when we do or, you know, all of the ways in which we insidiously get undermined. Also, the real aspect of privacy, right, that's another part of it. So much of it is I mean, it's a real concern, of course, and so much of it is already sort of out of our hands tech wise. But really respecting it and being being part of that for our clients, or customers or consumers, I think is really crucial. So that is the first part of the pledge. So that could mean having a really solid privacy policy, really looking at those agreements with those saw the various software that you use, and understanding a sales conversation or a sales funnel as something where we're supporting the person and giving them the option of conscious choice. Right? Yes.

Saskia de Feijter:

I love that. I love that. And I'm gonna come back to that later. Yes.

Alice Karolina:

Perfect. Yes. I mean, this is this is like the work of years and years and years. So there's a lot. And I mean, we keep adding to the conversation. So the second point of the pledge, is we communicate inclusively, truthfully. And clearly, we will not confuse you or hide information from you, we will help all audiences feel welcome. So, the inclusive part is hopefully obvious, we mean accessible, we mean, for everyone to be able to be part of whatever game we're playing, and have the ability to access it. And we also want to make sure that this really includes liberation on all fronts, like actually making it diverse, as much as possible. However, you see the connection between your business and liberation work. This is, this is what we're asking for. Yeah. Because most of our content, and most of our products are not actually as inclusive as we'd like them to be. And we're still learning, right? Every day, we're learning new things. And it goes far beyond, let's say, header tags, and, and, you know, how visuals are made or alt texts. And I had to learn that the heart with myself, because we often have a really narrow understanding of what ableism for example, is or things like that. So still a huge learning point for all of us. Yes, myself included. And then the other part that may be the the first part of the setup, so we will not confuse or hide information from you, goes into things like sharing your pricing, for example, if that makes sense. You know, unless you have a different kind of business structure where you create proposals, of course, maybe you can give a budget range or something like that. And there's a really, we've been trained to really like try and get as much out of someone as we can, and the other person is trying to lose as little as possible. So understanding that both sides are coming into it with a lot of fear attached already. And, you know, you might not tell a marketing person your budget, because you don't want to abuse that, you know, if you stand in a place of like, truthfully, clearly, transparently, honestly, being in what is so in your business, this is my price, this is where I stand, you know, what's your choice, then we have a chance of sort of mitigating that that fear level that people experience in general. And as always, whatever we experience transports out to other areas. So if we experience a really positive interaction as a client, where we feel held and, and really like understood, and we're given all the information and the ability to consent or not, then we might go and see oh, how are these people doing it? Or what about that company? That was the opposite of that experience? You know, so we might as clients as customers, seek out other experiences as well. So we're doing a part of sort of educating in a way as well just by being by walking the talk, so to speak, and this goes down into the nitty gritty of things like charm pricing or ways in which you know, little trickeries happen, dark patterns, things like that, which are meant to sort of bypass So a conscious decision making process, you know, $47, instead of 50, or euros, those are little things where we say, let's actually, let's actually make it really clear and transparent what the price is, so that the person can meet us at the same place, which is a really good relationship builder.

Saskia de Feijter:

And then also be transparent about being transparent. I feel from, from my perspective, as the business owner that wants to be more ethical in my communication, and in my selling, it's a little bit scary, you want to do things right from the get go. And you've, I found out about the ethical move, and I'm like, Oh, this is me, I need to do this, I need to get this done. And then step by step. Through the time and through my work, I realized that I have a lot of changing to do still, and a lot of learning to do. But even now talking to you, and just knowing that it's a process, and that you cannot do it right right away. But what you can do is be transparent and communicate communicative about the fact that you are learning and that you want to do it this way, but you are on the road to recovery.

Alice Karolina:

It is so much it is an addiction. I mean, that's the Yes, it is meant to burrow in where you know, our lizard brain sits like that's what it's meant to do. And I think something that people or especially small businesses need to understand is that marketing itself is like, every other sales technique on steroids, marketing, selling marketing, or marketing tactics, or marketing formulas have, like the most insidious sales tactics of all, so we're not only learning that, you know how to do marketing in a really, you know, inhumane way, which we don't recognize as a human. And because we have been, they have put the fear in us that has not have enough, we will not be successful, unless we do X unless we buy this program. So if we think of like the whole of sales and marketing, marketing and sales itself, it's kind of a meta weirdness about it is like the most potent in there fear mongering. And there are so many ways in which those marketing programs, like recreate that primal fear of not having enough not me, yeah, guiding, like, that is essentially where they're going like the deeper they can Barrow the better. So really understanding that it's not just an unlearning, in general, and we're like, oh, I didn't know this thing. And now I need to learn a new thing. That's one side of it. But really understanding that we've been slipped the drug into our tea this whole time, hmm, not our fault that we have that fear, and that we connect it to needing more marketing tactic tactics or meeting more, you know, sales pressure tactics. That is what was given to us when we started our businesses, or when we started being a human going to the grocery store, right, just listening to

Saskia de Feijter:

or seeing your parents, the consumers and how they consume and the people around you. It's, it's all around us. It's it's it's, yeah, so it's a big and huge monster that like, wait, I'm all about. It's a big and huge monster that accompanies us wherever we go. So it is a process of being so aware all of the time, and then as a consumer, and then as a business owner, if you want to be part of the change, you have to put in some more energy, some more efforts. And when you can do that in community, that is awesome that we'll get back to the community later as well. But I also wanted to talk to you about because now we're a little bit talking about small businesses, but who do you typically communicate to with the ethical move?

Alice Karolina:

Primarily, we're focusing on small online businesses. And part of that group is also marketers and branders. And people who are actually teaching this stuff. Those are our primary customers or post a status or primary audience. I'm trying to move away from like, militant language like target audience or you know, those kinds of things. Yeah, it's so hard. It's everywhere. It's very war, influenced the whole marketing language. So our primary audience are small online businesses, with the hopes of all of us being so there being so many of us that we sort of like create a critic All maths at some point, you know, where we become the way things are done differently because we have such an easy way of changing things, we're eternally evolving, we're always able to change things within minutes, you know, a couple of clicks away. So that is a really good place to start for us also, because all of us on our team, our small business owner, so we are very, very aware of the language and the just the context that we're in. And then we're also broadening out. I mean, this is the next step is doing work within marketing programs, or within universities hoping to actually talk to the new students that are coming online. And then also consumers, hopefully, and to some extent, I mean, we've had a few people reach out to us who are happy to see that there was something being done because they feel obviously like all of us, I mean, we're all consumers as well. So it's a bit of an overlapping diagram there. And then hopefully, eventually, no, like the big dogs like going after bigger, yeah, you know, like actually pitching a different way of doing things to maybe midsize businesses, maybe businesses who have a few employees, you know, offline who might have a warehouse, things like that. But that is that is connected to a bigger supply chain, right. online businesses. So very limber. Is that the word? Yeah, I'm

Saskia de Feijter:

very interested in that in those different kinds of businesses and how they can can or cannot change the world like, like you saying, small businesses are very agile, agile, well, yeah. Oh, I was looking for. Agile and bigger businesses have a lot of power to warm stay, make a change, make it change. So they're both important. And we talked about this on the podcast before where as value focused consumers and businesses, we sometimes do not necessarily like the big brands. And we talked about a brand like pukka T, who was a small business and then was bought from Unilever or something, something big. We talked about how that was selling out or wrong. And I would argue that know, when they start doing things better, even if it's not perfect, because a big company is in Dutch, we say law monster, it's like our really move, it takes a lot of time. Once something small changes in a bigger unit, that's good as well, right? We want to step away from that possibility. But in this instance, and in this case, we're talking about small businesses, and on a smaller life, specifically about small creative businesses. The business owners that listen to this show, typically don't have an education in owning a business in marketing and branding. They started from their passion. They kind of accumulate information from the internet from a book from a colleague, but in real life, they're just watching what everybody else is doing. And I'm going to be a little bit, I'm going to use an example. And I know people are different, and businesses are different. Just just a little side note. Most of them just use social media, they have a product, they put the products on their website, they might have a little shop, they put the products on their social media. And if they have time they send a newsletter, they might send a newsletter every quarter, but it could be three in a month, and then half a year, no newsletter at all. So these kinds of businesses are, on one hand, the best ones to make a change, because they don't have that in grade base that's already there. And they don't have to unlearn anything. On the other hand, when they do search for information, they find those online market two years that I also listen to and learn from. And I'm now looking at a little bit more critically. And I can still use a lot of that information, but I just put on a different pair of glasses and look at it differently. But my point being I'm getting somewhere is that on one hand, they are the best people to start doing this. And on the other hand, it's kind of hard to to do things differently when you don't have time and you don't have money to invest. While we're on the topic of what you need to do to lift your business, I want to invite you to go over to www dot j a hyphen w o l.com/pages/businesses. Don't forget the W's are important. If you're interested in doing this kind of work within, let's say, 12 weeks, the next DVB C cohort is happening soon. And you can sign up to get updates or get some more information. And as I'm always saying, you are welcome to email me with questions, I'd even be happy to answer any of your questions on the short call as well. So I'm wondering, how do you reach those small businesses? So it's like circle and circle? How do you find those small businesses and use your tools of communication?

Alice Karolina:

Really interesting question, the primary way that we reach them, and this was always the point of the badge that we created for people who pledge is that people see us on other people's websites or in other people's communication. So it's really a word of mouth almost. But what we really pride ourselves in is our team and who we are is really based on self care and well being within the work that we're doing. So we always critically look at everything that we're putting out in connection to how much can we carry as volunteers because we're all volunteers. We all have our own businesses, and families and lives and you know, other things going on, we really have to be mindful of how can we reach people, but also, how can we reach them in a sustainable way that keeps our wellbeing intact, which we've not always done successfully. But there's a few things that really are key for us. One of them is the badge. The other one is podcasts like these, like where we actually get to borrow other people's audiences for a minute. And then there is social media only, like we tried Twitter for a minute that because it seemed like a really good place to start, we all got anxiety, we stopped. Because you know, I can't personally do Twitter, it just is a mess for my brain. So I have ADHD and complex PTSD that places like a nightmare for my brain that fell away. And we focused on having medium be one of the places that we can actually have the conversation where people can contribute to the conversation without us actually having to be the curators of everything, like we are definitely there to support people who are writing and we'll help edit it and we'll whip it into shape, whatever it needs to be, or we'll take it as is, I mean, some of these articles that come in are just like beautiful pieces that we're almost too, too scared to touch, because all of that helps sort of like broaden the spectrum, because those people then again, we'll share their articles and have you know, that kind of organic reach. The thing that we're currently deciding, or that we've decided is something that hasn't been put in motion yet, specifically is that we have an Instagram account, which you know, and a Facebook connection, and then we you know, have a little bit of LinkedIn going on there too. But just specifically meta, how they navigate things is not great. To say the least, we've had quite a lot of conversation about it. Because Instagram is a really great place for us to hang out, we have a really good interaction there. And that's where a lot of people find this. And yet, when we look at actual pledges or people who come into the community, this is the big point. When almost no one comes to us from social media. It's usually like, oh, somebody told me about you or I heard a podcast, I saw the badge. And I got curious on like things like that. We've run through maybe like four or five people already trying to do Instagram, like burning out time after time. And all of us kind of like having to pick up the slack. Again, the conversation is fun. With the actual creation of content. I'm one of those people that like craft content, it takes me like five hours to do something. Because it all has to be perfect. Unfortunately, I mean, but I also care about my craft, I want it to mean something, I don't want it to just, you know, be out in the ether and be wobbly. Like that's untrue. To me. It just takes a lot of energy. So eventually, over the course the three years we have to realize this is really not on several levels, like meta on its own is one thing. We do want to be where people are. Definitely we want to keep having the conversation, but we'd rather do it in a way that supports us as a team and supports the pledge instead of supporting meta. Like, I don't know, it just feels strange. You know, I

Saskia de Feijter:

have to be so it's so hard not to say anything while you're saying this because like my heart is bursting out of my body. thing is it's like I'm hearing myself speak with a better English accent. Because everything. Everything that you're saying like completely. That's why I left I can tell you You can leave nothing.

Alice Karolina:

Like we're there. We're just we're just developing a new strategy. Right? Yeah. Right. Like, we still want to have the conversation be available. Yeah, so

Saskia de Feijter:

I left six months ago, and it was a time, I ramped up to it. And I'm kind of working on like a piece of text to explain how I did it. And how I asked people that were invested in the kind of movement that I'm doing, how they could stay with us. For me, that meant either subscribing to the newsletter, or joining my community, or actually starting to write actual letters with people. Like actual ones, I have one person that I write to, there were nine, but it ended up being one. But I love that. So these are some of the things that I did. But like you, I figured out that with all the followers, I have 1000s of followers, they said it was inspiring, what I did, and what I said, and I thought that was so important. And that's why I stayed but then I got back to wait. I'm a business in this takes time, it is giving me anxiety, it is super frustrating. I'm not a team, I'm just one person and an editor. Thank you ally. And I just needed to choose, I have to choose every single day, a lot of the time to keep myself healthy, and keep my business healthy. And leaving social media except for LinkedIn, because I felt like in business, you kind of still need to have some fetters attached anyway. But I I do not regret it at all. So just wanted to put that out there. And you can give me a call when we're done with this interview. But you

Alice Karolina:

know, that's the beauty of it, right? I mean, all of us are marketers all of us on the team, right? We've all been in marketing for years and years. So you know, you look at the numbers, you look at your audience, you look at what's actually needed. Until now Instagram was kind of a place where we had the conversation because we didn't really have any other place. We have a what I would call a brilliant newsletter every month. Definitely really fun. We have email interactions with people that's really great, which I really enjoy, because that's very personal and beautiful. And the beauty of our pledge, like when people pledge it drops it into on their slack or incredible tech person, Maria made it work so that we have a channel where the pledges drop in how they found us and what it means to them. And what is so important that is like, it's like ball. Like sometimes when I have a bad day, I just kind of scrolled through that channel, just like reconnect with what we're doing. Now that we have a community where people can actually engage with us, while also helping to actually support us in our work, because that's the other part. Right? We were all volunteering, please. Now we're paying for our expenses.

Saskia de Feijter:

I want to say the the team that you have how many people help you with the message?

Alice Karolina:

There's eight of us right now, we fluctuate between six and 10. I feel like at all times, yeah, we have, we're actually in the process of restructuring it. To make it even more wellness based. I mean, kind of sounds weird, but to sounds good focus on our health. Because there is a tendency to sort of like, get fresh volunteers and then they burn out and depress volunteers and then they burn out. And that is not feasible. That's not okay. That's not even Okay, as as humans, even though we're all very passionate, that's probably why that's the thing. Yeah, we can't not right. So what we're what we're investing in doing is actually bumping up the members members, probably, I mean, this is also in the gray matter. And kind of going into creating little mini teams within the team. So having each team have like each topic, having sort of a few people together so that if one person has a family issue or something like that, then another person can jump in. And you always have a collaboration partner. That's kind of where we're going to really support that, like joyful liberation work that we believe in. And we all have very good intact boundaries. So we have a self care channel in our slack that says, hey, I need to take a week off or like next month, I'm going to be here like more or less, you know, stop tagging. So that's probably our most active channel aside from the plus channel, where we really sort of reinforced that wellness component or that self care component. I feel like we're also learning about what it means to actually have an organization like this and how it works with you know, volunteers who are passionate who have, like everybody has a skill set that is really diverse in a way as well. So, you know, there's no real job roles. We all do. The thing that we love doing the most, and then I'm just trying to like kind of wrangle everything, you know, from my little cabin. So it's, yeah, it's a constant evolution. So I don't even want to, I don't know if that came out as a jumbled mess,

Saskia de Feijter:

but it is definitely it makes a lot of sense. And I'm gonna, we're gonna make it even, hopefully a little bit more rounded as a thing. Because I'm also curious about, so we ended up choosing the same platform for our communities. And we are both on mighty networks. It's a great place where you can win, you can build your community the way you want to, and you have a lot of freedom with pricing and everything. I'm not sure if they have changed it already. I send them messages before, but they do have a little bit with the round prices, they didn't have them. So even though we take the pledge, the prices of our community might still not be completely round, because the software is made that way. But we're sending messages. And hopefully, you'll change that, just to give you a little bit of extra information. Thank you.

Alice Karolina:

That's awesome. Yeah, for me, at

Saskia de Feijter:

the moment, I'm not making any money yet. I've been very clear about that my business and my brand is 14 years old. But I've pivoted so many times that now I'm in my sixth business with the same brand name. So this particular last pivot that I did was closing my yarn shop and needlecraft school, and I've changed into an online community, and I'm guiding small business owners to actually get more healthy and sustainable business for themselves and just in general, so that's in short what we do. So that means that I needed to have a different look at pricing, because I'm not selling products anymore, where I get the product from a wholesaler, or Diane myself and then do some sort of a calculation. That makes sense, because we're all used to doing it that way. But now I had to sell, I have to sell my knowledge, my hours, my work, my experience, the fact that I pay for this platform, and all of the extra cost. So I took a course in fair pricing, because I wanted to do well. And I still ended up like not asking enough, because that is the other side of it. Right? You are so invested in your audience that you want them to not have to pay too much. And then you think of solutions for people that want to that are really invested in want to be in it, but don't have the money. So you think of solutions to do that. In our case, I have a little bit of a tip jar where people can put in money. And when there's enough money in there, we can offer a free pass or whatever you want to call it. But I'm always struggling with it. So on the low end, I'm not asking enough, in general, it's really hard to ask for the right price, and to be inclusive and open. How did you navigate that? And how did you build your pricing in your community?

Alice Karolina:

Ah, over a few years, we we landed on a solidarity pricing model. And I really have to focus on sabini and Jeffrey's work here in developing this. We originally had thought about this. We have we have lots of people who are always helping us out. So there were people along the way, Caroline Lyon first who we you know, we talked to about pricing. And then at least a greeter who talked to us about, you know, a tiered model, where we first came up with like different ways of, you know, paying it forward for people. And then really Sabina coming through with what she learned about solidarity pricing, what we came to was a tiered model where we have an accessible price, we have a regular price, and then we have a pay it forward price. What we want to be very clear in communicating is that the regular price is the cost of the community. Right? And that is the real cost, right? So if you want to pay for what it's worth, like as the value itself, that is the cost. If you want to support us and help other people and other people who can't pay that, then you can pay it forward. And there have been people who have done that. And then there's people who have where it would hurt to pay the regular price, but still want to be part of the conversation. And for them, it's half the regular price. So it's basically like we have 1530 and$60 those are the tears that we have. Also with the option of obviously being able to upgrade anytime and also downgrade if they feel like, I actually am hurting this month, and I can't do it anymore, being able to flexibly change to a different plan, that needs to be an option because life happens. Right? And you know, just because I can't pay the $30 right now doesn't mean that maybe not you know, and a half a year, my business may have you know, bloomed and I am now able to pay for the regular price. So, for us, really, it's a constant conversation, this is what it is to be part of the ethical move is it is a conversation, let's keep talking about it. Let's keep reviewing. And it's been working well, in the sense that we have the sort of levels that we're hoping to achieve, and we're able to pay for her expenses, which is the main the main piece for us, that we're not paying out of pocket for the movement, we'll see, we'll see. We'll see what happens. Maybe there will be I mean, we are thinking about having a way for people to donate. But that would also require us, obviously, to be very transparent about the different places things go price wise. And every step for us, every step for anyone involves work around it, right? Like, yes, you can have a donation page, and maybe the work of the page itself is one thing, but then also, how can we make it transparent? What's a good system? What, what are ways in which people are able to look behind the scenes of our organization, but also not inflict a ton of administrative work for us, you know, so there's always a balance. And I think the what's the The beautiful thing about the ethical move and not needing it to pay for us and our livelihoods is that we can go as slow as we need to, we have pushed things. So many times, we were gonna launch the community like a year ago, like we, you know, we just push things and we're saying, Hey, we're going slow, but steady, we're doing it right. And we're gonna push pause, whenever we feel like, Hey, we're we don't have all the answers, yet something feels off. We pause it, we take a beat, we look at everything again. And at the same time, we have the ability, like for example, the social media part where we're saying, Hey, we've been watching this for two years now, and in no time, and we're gonna make the decision and done, you know, so the beauty, there's a beauty in that, right, which I really enjoy about business, if you can do it this way, where you can take your time, but also make really efficient decisions in the moment. Because you have been listening and looking and, you know, yeah,

Saskia de Feijter:

yeah, and taking time to make your decisions is, is so important. And trying things out. I have worked with volunteers before in my shop, I worked out if that was fair to do, if it was okay, if it was legal, I paid them with a big discount of for my products, the yarn and everything I sold. It kind of always felt off a little bit. But I always thought I should be able to pay myself first and then have other people work for me. Because it's so hard in such a niche and in our niche to earn living. I thought I have I have such a good community with people that are enthusiastic and would love to help out, even not getting any discounts. So I tried that out. And what happened was, I attract people that are really enthusiastic and do a lot of things on the sides. And so there would be a lot of movement, a lot of people a lot of turnover, but I did get always get like enthusiastic people. It didn't work in the end. And I pledged to myself that this time I was going to do it differently and earn the money to be able to invest in a team. And it goes really slowly. It's like It's like trying things and trying things. I invited my community from the shop into my online community for free. During the lockdowns, that was great. But once I started charging the real price, they all left. That was really hard. And then I changed the kind of program that I was running or was going to run and I made it a little, huh, what is the words easier, easier going like the topic of what we're talking about is how to change your, the way you make your wardrobe and accumulate your wardrobe in a way that's conscious and fits your values. And it was kind of more going into the direction of a course first and now it's more of a just a communal topic that we talk about. So I lowered the prices again. Now I'm at that point where I thinking the idea that people pay attention with to what they pay for is something that rings true on one hand and on the other end, I've learned that you kind of have to figure out what people are saying willing to pay what the value is to them. And that is such a hard balance to figure out because now I'm kind of waiting, not waiting, I'm taking action. That's why I have this podcast. And that's why I hope that your community will listen to this podcast and think I'm a knitter I want to be in there, I'm a knitting professional or whatever. Just to grow my business, so I can make the decision to stay in business, or to change into a nonprofit and just really work at my life's purpose. And that is to change people's idea of fashion and how to how they get their clothing. That is hard. And that is a long road. And sometimes why I'm saying this is not because I want you to give compliments or anything, what I I want to circle back to what we talked about before, getting feedback is super important. Like, if it's something just something you noticed, or an idea you got from our contents, or just as a follower, a customer, the audience just get in touch and communicate, that is pay as well. It doesn't have to be euros necessarily, or dollars or whatever. When you get feedback, then you can grow as well. And then you can evolve as a business. And I think being valued for the work that you do is not necessarily personal, it's knowing that you are doing something that makes a difference that it's not just you, right? Yeah, you think selling is not a bad word selling is necessary to do good things. But you don't necessarily have to put forward a lot of money, you can also help by sharing the message. And I think that is something that I just want to keep repeating.

Alice Karolina:

Yes. Well, I think there's, there's a balance and all of it, right. There's also a balance in how we accumulate feedback and who it comes from, and how it, you know, impacts us. There's also ways in which we, you know, some of it is how do you respond to your audience, sometimes if you make the exact thing that your audience wants, it doesn't really work because maybe they want something that they experience a gap in, that actually doesn't work as a business, for example, or that doesn't actually fill that gap because the gap somewhere else, you know, they're actually experiencing something different, but they think they need to fill it with this item, product community. So there's always there's always a bit of a gray zone that we need to wade through, right, especially as business owners, and it's wonderfully complex and incredibly hard to be with. Right, like, forever unknown, it just is forever, an evolution and the growing and an adjusting. And you're always going to be slightly doubting yourself, and you're always going to be slightly excited. And there's always just gonna be a little low hum of what I'm going to just call like a low humming of anxiety, like slight vibration, which is part of being a business owner. Oh, that is such

Saskia de Feijter:

a great, I want to put that on a t shirt. It is

Alice Karolina:

so true. It's true, though, right? Yeah, it is true.

Saskia de Feijter:

And it is. It's not easy. But this this, this buzzing vibe of energy kind of buzzes us forward, that that slight knot in your stomach that on one day will turn into some ecstatic enjoyment of what you've accomplished. And another day, you that the knot is growing and growing. And you're doubting yourself the whole time. And it is really part of a business and being able to quickly make changes and doing things differently. trying things out yet can be really scary. But it also is amazing to be working on things that are more than just products. And yeah, absolutely.

Alice Karolina:

And that's the piece that sort of ties it all together I find is that I mean for me anyways in my work, my branding work any ethical move is there is a purpose. At the end of it. I want to break consumers for exam Yes, yeah, lofty goal. I know. Not in my lifetime. That's fine. Maybe help. And maybe the world will do it on its own. Like who knows it might collapse. We'll take along.

Saskia de Feijter:

No, no. No, you were going down like even better. No, no, no, no, I

Alice Karolina:

actually that's the beauty of it. I think there's something a little new sistex sometimes around how we perceive our goals and our visions, and I had to come to terms with this myself that it isn't actually about me at all, when I kind of came to the point where I realized a lot of people, especially when they go through branding, and they are like developing their big visions and their, you know, the place that they want to have people follow them to understanding that if somebody else does it first, is that gonna suck for you? Or is that a good thing? And if it sucks, then you have to revise what you're doing. Because you might not be doing it for other people. If you're actually happy if like, if say, you went ahead and broke consumerism tomorrow, I'd be celebrate, I'd be like, I don't know, I'd be like clapping loudly and

Saskia de Feijter:

Kevin would move on to the next. Yeah, and just finally,

Alice Karolina:

like I said, take a nap probably, I don't know, go have a burger at the pub. I don't just like do nothing. You know, um, maybe not consumption, maybe just lie down anyway.

Saskia de Feijter:

I had to catch myself in the art and must write in your life as well to just constantly.

Alice Karolina:

Yeah, no, absolutely. The thing is, we we have a place in the in the sort of like global economy that we need to accept as business owners as consumers, or customers clients. And we get to choose how we take responsibility for that. And that is actually, it's funny, I just glanced over at the page and realized that I never talked about the last part of the pledge. That could be teed up, that can be a wrap up, because it's beautiful, I got into my favorite part, it is we take responsibility for our part in changing the marketplace, we recognize the need to break the cycle of consumerism, and we will continuously review our sales and marketing to ensure they benefit the common good. So the idea is, you're in this, whether you like it or not, you have power in this, whether you like it or not, and you better start harnessing it, and you better start owning it, and you better start taking responsibility for it, that's my call out, it's like, you're a small business, you are legally a citizen of your country, which makes you responsible for the patch of land that you own, whether it be online or on the ground. And so what are you doing with that is the most important piece, it's not, oh, I'm just gonna like sit back. And, you know, let other people do the thing first, but you already have it in your hands. So you need to take care of it. Every single crisis can be led back to the cycle of consumerism, really, the cycle is unsustainable, inhumane, harmful. So what we need to do then is okay, we know that the system isn't working, it's harmful to most, we know that we have power, and we need to take and own it. And then full circle to what we were talking about at the beginning around the overwhelm of everything that sort of, you know, when you first start doing ethical marketing, and quotation marks, all the things that you suddenly go like, Oh, my gosh, I need to update my privacy policy, I need to do this, I need to change the color contrast on my website. Oh, there's so many things are just on the techie side of things. And then there's all that additional work on like liberation work, and how do I become an anti racist? What are all the levels in which I can become a more eco conscious business? And how do I not shame myself? And how do I not you know, lower my ability to even be a human or be a business, so many things to think about. And that's what we say what the second part which is, continuously reviewing our sales and marketing continuously coming back to it understanding, it's a practice it will last a lifetime. And then, I mean, the easiest thing is just Alright, I'm gonna have a date in my calendar once a month, once a quarter. And during that time for two to three hours, I'm just going to revise whatever piece is coming next I'm going to review and plan and keep chugging along, and hopefully in community with others, like you, who are also doing the work and who are also in the self doubt and also in the know the complex gray world of online business or business in general. And understanding it's just little mini steps. And sometimes you get a really big breakthrough. Also important to acknowledge that and celebrate it. Yeah, if you're anything like me, you rush through it really quickly. So that to me, is probably the most important part that we are here for lifetime. Consumption is in our blood more than almost anything else. And it's this constant like having to push against it and having to acknowledge that okay, I believe the message again, I went down the rabbit hole of it and yet another funnel like understanding that that happens because it's we were born to do that we were insidiously messaged to from when we were children in the grocery store, when we get toys with a certain amount of money spent by our parents. Our parents go back to the same grocery store to get that toy again. That's where it starts or probably even before that, you know, so understanding that and then really work just keep working on it. I mean, we're all working on it

Saskia de Feijter:

and Do we have to take care of ourselves within all of that? Well, that's right, it is basically comes down to take the time, choose from your heart and values and do what you can. Yeah, and I think I have a very practical solution. I think we just all have to listen, listen, this is going to be really good. When all of us just get off social media, and use the time that we spend on social media, for our ethical marketing work. And then when you did that hour, or you make it your last hour on Friday, you end with celebration for the work that you've done. And for yourself, love that practice. I love that practice. I think in my case, it will be gin and tonic in the summer or whiskey in the winter, or by beat cover, or solid, or whatever you like.

Alice Karolina:

I know I feel like celebration, that's something that I really need to practice. Now I have a type of practice, which I'm not going to get into. But the thing that I'm working on right now is wellness. And that means of all in all levels in all ways. Mind Body Spirit. One of the things I've noticed is that I haven't really found a really good practice for celebration. I'm one of those people, like I said before that just like oh, we launched the ethical move. Great. What's next? Set of going hey, wait, I worked on this for six years. Like okay, well, we have Project X project. Yeah.

Saskia de Feijter:

Yeah. And in your celebration is the newsletter moment?

Alice Karolina:

Yeah. I personally enjoy the most having a conversation and reviewing and going Wow, do we did this and this and this and this and like having an actual review and really saying it out loud. I'm a processor that works really well for me. I know other people who write them down or who burn a candle I don't know whatever the thing is. To ritual. Yeah, exactly.

Saskia de Feijter:

Yeah, thank you. Thank you so many insights and inspiration. It was a wonderful conversation like wow, I learned so much and I'm sure whoever's listening feels the same way and everybody feedback push the button on the right hand side of the show notes and you can leave your message there to Ellis or to me or to both of us. Thank you so much. I really really enjoyed it

Alice Karolina:

like was so good. Such a good conversation so juicy,

Saskia de Feijter:

juicy. Yes. A smaller life is the animals completely free way for makers and sellers to learn how to be part of a healthier take on clothes and fashion. Yeah, well offers an online community where they can connect and inspire each other monthly topics with challenges for makers and coaching and support for sellers. We will move the needle for more information go to J A hyphen w o l.com. Yep. Oh,

Introduction
Business identity
The Ethical Move audience
TEM Pricing the online community
What is a good system? How can we make it transparent?
The importance of getting feedback from your audience.
The need to break the cycle of consumerism –.
Taking care of ourselves too