Scaling up a sustainable fashion brand requires this for success… Hi guys, I’m Syama Meagher, CEO of Scaling Retail and I’m sure you’ve realized that there are a lot of sustainable businesses out there, a lot of small sustainable businesses. But how do you actually get that sustainable business to grow and to scale, right? We all want the best companies who are doing the best things for our planet to be able to be profitable, right? Because we want them to continue to grow. So today, I want to chat with you about three different things I think you can start to think about with your sustainable business, to help you continue to grow and succeed and make that money.
Now, the first thing is, of course, research and development. You know, in the last five years, we’ve seen so many new kinds of fabrications and technology come out that, not only is improving the quality of the fabric, but is also decreasing prices, right? It used to be back in the day, if you had a sustainable organic product, it was a little rough, it wasn’t as fine. It didn’t have a luxurious quality to it. And now we have a whole range of products, right, Tencel, bamboo, so many other kinds of materials to be using. So it’s super important that you guys are staying on top of research and development, on sourcing and manufacturing trends and fabrics, you know, attending the trade shows, building relationships with these manufacturers, and really making sure that you are up to date with that. Because, certainly guys, your consumers are constantly going to be demanding the best in fabrics from you, right? They’re constantly demanding the best products. So we’ve gotta make sure that the product is really is going to be up to par.
Now, the second thing that’s going to be super critical here is making sure that you are honed in on your brand messaging, right? That brand messaging is so key and critical. Companies like Everlane have nailed it, right? And what do I mean by that? Well, someone like an Everlane, they’re really big on transparency. They’ve really chosen their niche. It’s not enough to say you’re a sustainable business. In fact, you’ve got to become really specific about what that means to your business. Now, what has that translated into for Everlane? Well, of course, they have a whole…business model’s outlined. They tell you exactly, by product, where all of the different costs are coming in, how much that product would have costed at traditional retail, and then also how much they’re charging for it. Because of that transparency, you feel like you are giving back, right? You feel like, “I want to buy from this company that I know is not trying to rip me off.” Isn’t that a good thing?
Now, other companies are doing a great job as well of highlighting their particular focus, whether that is working with communities all over the world and you’re helping indigenous populations, whether that is working with fair trade, whether that is producing everything made in the U.S.A., or it’s all organic, or whatever the case is, whatever your key positioning messaging is, it’s so critical that you hone in on that. And you don’t just take over that whole sustainability umbrella, right? We really want to make sure you’re driving in and you’re focused on that.
Now, the last thing, that’s really critical when scaling up your business, is to think about the collective and the community. And chances are, if you’re a sustainable business owner, you’re already well familiar with your network of communities. Chances are you might have already been doing things like collective pop-up shops, maybe you’ve already gone in on collective advertising or marketing together. But have you thought about going into group buys on the materials and on the sourcing?
So, one example I love is a company called PACT Organic. Now, what they’ve done that’s so genius is getting together with other manufacturers to go in and buy cotton yields from farmers who are producing organic cotton. We all know, if you want to do something at scale, you’ve got to get as close to the source as you can. So, short of actually owning your farms and having your own farmers to grow that cotton, the next best thing is being able to place a hold on that material, right, being able to contact that farmer and buy that cotton in bulk. Because, guys, that is how all the major companies out there are able to produce at such scale, right? They have direct relationships with the landowners that are producing the materials for them. So start to think about collective buying in this way, you know. I think it’s highly important that we go down the process of remembering that together we are stronger, especially as we try to drive down our manufacturing cost, maintain our strong perceived value, our strong product development, to really scale up this industry that I am so passionate about.
So, the three things that you really want to be focusing on is: Number one, authenticity and integrity, who you are and what you stand for. Number two, transparency, you know, customers today, guys, they need to know the story, social media, video, they love a good story. I love a good story. And the last thing is being able to think about your production hordes, right, your cotton placements and all of that manufacturing.
All right, guys. Thanks for watching. Make sure you subscribe. Write a comment below. I am where you are, so come find me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. And head on over to the Scaling Retail blog. Thanks for watching. Bye.