As a designer who made everything from dresses to jackets to headpieces while studying as a fashion design major at Parsons in New York City, I always used to wear what I made out about town in NYC and my hometown of Hong Kong. Somehow, my headbands and headpieces seemed to be most memorable (I realized that when someone I met at an event once said ‘Oh you’re the headpiece girl!’). Upon graduating from Parsons with a thesis collection of headpieces, I was offered the opportunity to create a range of headdresses for Lane Crawford’s winter campaign, as well as to launch my headband line in their stores. Thus, Yunotme was born in 2014.
Yunotme is a line of headpieces which celebrate feminine charm and empowerment. My designs are often inspired by the strength and voice of female heroines in literature and the society. Meanwhile, the production of the pieces is made possible by a team of mostly female craftswomen in my home town of Hong Kong.
I paused my brand in 2017. Having spent a considerable amount of time learning about the sustainability problems and solutions in fashion, including working on sustainability initiatives at Lane Crawford and blogging about such topics on my blog Glorious Days, I decided to share my creativity with the world again in September 2020 – this time in a small, considerate way.
From using deadstock materials to using a preorder system to minimize waste, learn more about sustainability and pricing at Yunotme below.
Behind the brand
Who makes the headbands
The core Yunotme team basically consists of me (Gloria), and I work closely with the owner of a small-scale manufacturing studio in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong, to make my pieces. She works with a team of sewers and craftswomen to make your headbands!
Every single one of our headbands are handmade by craftswomen paid a fair, negotiated wage, often with flexible timing in their own homes. If you look closely at my headbands, most of them can’t be made with a sewing machine and have to be meticulously put together through a careful combination of measuring, beading, hand-sewing and adhesive. A style like Lola, for example, takes 8 hours to make.
The materials we use to make our headbands are of the highest quality, carefully selected to create pieces that would stand the test of time.
I often source materials in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong. Part of our collection is made with deadstock materials – meaning leftover yardages from designer and luxury brands. The material is made already – why not use them and prevent them from hitting the landfill otherwise? The challenge of using deadstock materials is you have to work with what is available, and you can’t just spin designs out of thin air. There is also limited stock available, which means we can only produce in limited quantities for certain styles. But that’s fine – it means what you get is pretty unique :)
Yunotme headbands are designed and tested for comfort. We think it sucks that headbands are sometimes great to look at but uncomfortable to wear and even headache-inducing! We don’t want that. Our headbands are always designed with your comfort in mind to the best of our abilities, because pretty shouldn’t get in the way of you doing you!
At the moment, I am choosing to produce in my hometown of Hong Kong, but Hong Kong is also known to have some of the highest living costs in the world. The reason why I am still choosing to produce here is because I can easily work with my manufacturing studio to perfect techniques during sampling, and ensure the quality of each piece I ship out is of the highest quality.
At 2.5x, the average markup from cost to retail of Yunotme headbands is significantly lower than those of peer brands as I wish to share my creativity with more women. Because each piece takes hours to make by hand, and the materials are carefully sourced, there is a limit to how much I can lower my prices if I wish to pay my makers fairly and sustain my business. But, through focusing primarily on selling to you directly instead of through a middleman, this allows us to lower the price for you by almost 2x!
So what does the 2.5x markup pay for? It pays for creative and development processes, tools, contractors, marketing, spaces, business expenses and more – and most of all, it pays for me to keep sharing my creativity with you and the world in a sustainable, ethical manner.
We will still be collaborating with like-minded retailers and companies, but in new and creative ways. Stay tuned!
Yunotme won’t be doing discounts nor sales because we are priced and fairly in the first place. These are not pieces that become less valuable after 6 months, these are forever pieces.
Preorder and ready-to-ship products
There are two types of items you can order - ready-to-ship and preorder.
Ready-to-ship styles are headbands that we have made from limited amount of deadstock materials. Once you buy them, we ship them out to you within 2-3 business days.
Preorder styles are headbands we only have a one or a few samples of. Once you place your order, we will gather the materials and make your headbands from scratch. Just like when you order your entrée at a restaurant! They won't grill your cauliflower steak ahead of time. Your preorder pieces will be shipped within 10 business days of ordering.
A huge part of the waste problem in the fashion industry is caused by leftover inventory. An estimated 100 billion items of clothing are made each year and around 20% goes unsold – left to be incinerated or landfilled. Just a quick google for "fashion unsold inventory" will show some shocking headlines about the billion dollars worth of clothes brands from high-street to luxury are left with each year due to overproduction. Creating your headbands with the preorder model is our way of ensuring we don't create more products than the demand. You get your products a bit later but we can reduce unnecessary waste together this way.