In a world where people are increasingly seeking the “human” element in supply chains, brands that enable transparency are winning, according to the founder of Tip Me, a platform that allows direct, transparent tipping from consumers to workers in a bid to ensure living wages in supply chains.

Jonathan Funke, owner of Tip Me made the comment on a recent webinar for the latest Kingpins24 virtual denim sourcing event.

Funke came up with the concept after a protest against fast fashion brands selling cheap clothing. He was convinced it was wrong to pay “less for a shirt than for a coffee.” He started work on a mechanism that would allow a direct and transparent way to get the money to the people “where it belongs”.

The software provided to fashion brands allows them to display a profile of the person making the product and allows the consumer to decide how much they want to tip the worker. 100% of the tip is transferred to the worker. 

Funke says he was shocked by how well the platform was received.

“Before starting Tip Me we carried out research to get an idea of how many people would use it and we were so so wrong. We thought maybe 5 or 10% of people would use Tip Me. But every second person that buys something with our partners gives a tip. It’s so great to see how engaged consumers are. Not only do they give a tip, but we also get follow-up emails asking what their tip actually changed for the person making the product. And they start valuing the brands more that enable that transparency. 

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“Consumers are so sick of another certificate because fairness is not about certificates or numbers, it’s about the people. So showing the actual people that are behind the label helps consumers to see ‘OK this brand is not messing around’.

“If there is a way to directly connect the maker and consumer in a human-to-human way, that is a step closer to making the supply chain more fair and human because once you get to know someone and understand the journey a product makes and how much human effort and manual labour goes into a product, the only conclusion is to pay a fair wage. But you have to create a human element behind that transparency.

“I’m still blown away by the feedback we are getting from consumers.”