Five years ago Bono and his wife Ali Hewson began a new venture together: Edun a fair trade fashion line. Despite pumping around $20 million into the high-end clothing line, the brand is still unprofitable.
Originally, the line was carried by hundreds of global stores, but last year figures were down to just 67. Last year, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton bought 49 percent of the company from the couple. This capital injection allowed the company to recruit new management and a new designer.
Ali admits that they made mistakes in the beginning. "We focused too much on the mission in the beginning. It's the clothes; it's the product. It's a fashion company. That needs to be first and foremost," Ms. Hewson says. "The aesthetic we always knew would be important … but we didn't realize how difficult it was going to be to achieve quality."
Originally, the couple were against the idea of manufacturing in China as they felt this would be contrary to the brand's mission. However, today a mere 15% of the company’s products are manufactured in Africa, while 70% of the overall production is now created in Asia.
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