Sustainable sourcing has exploded in popularity over the last ten years. We have a living planet that needs to be protected and sustainable sourcing is how brands can play their part. When it comes to sustainable sourcing for fashion brands there are a lot of options to consider beyond just having sustainable fabric. Here's a few, to get your wheels spinning.
1 | Packaging
One of the biggest culprits of plastic waste in fashion is packaging, but this packaging is key to shipping products without damaging them. Early sustainable packaging lacked the quality needed to protect products properly but lately that has begun to change. Fashion brands can now source great compostable and recyclable packaging options, along with recycled paper options as well. Shipping smaller packages is a great way to reduce packaging used. When sourcing sustainable packaging, look for stable materials and make sure if it claims compostability that it is backyard compost and not industrial compost which in some cases is worse.
2 | Shipping
Going along with packaging sustainable shipping is important as well. Using companies that make and effort to reduce their gas emissions is important. Companies such as UPS invest in alternative fuel and environmentally cautious vehicles. They even assist companies to measure and manage there environmental impact. If you are shipping internationally consider reducing your carbon footprint by shipping via boat rather than air. This takes longer so be sure to have your production calendar adjusted to meet demands.
3 | Buy Back Programs
Many major brands have began to implement buy back programs. Advertising to your customers that you can turn in old clothing for compensation is a smart idea for inviting your customers along the sustainability journey. This decreases the chances of their old clothes ending up in a landfill and increases the amount of material that can be used again. Madewell and H&M accept any old clothing which they turn into textile recyclers and in offer customers a discount in exchange. Eileen Fisher and Mara Hoffman will refurbish and resell their old product that customers return. In fact, Eileen Fisher will even redesign pieces that are beyond mending and turn them into a whole new garment to resell.
4 | Reducing Plastic Bag Waste
Many brands have swapped to paper bags or have begun offering reusable totes as alternatives to plastic bags to reduce plastic waste. In fact, D2C brand Rue Saint Paul, offers customers an ethically made dust bag as a gift with purchase. Please note they make it optional.** We love this because they recognize many of their sustainably minded customers may already have an influx of reusable totes and not desire an additional one, helping their customer's choose their sustainability needs.
5 | Sustainable Marketing
Gone are the days of paper marketing but that doesn't mean digital marketing is free. To maximize your online presence, be sure to have a consistent (even if it's small) social media ad budget to capture new brand awareness and grow your email list. Offer fun and/or educational webinars to invite your customers into your brand and solve their pain points directly. Online marketing is a great way to find new customers, experiment with content to find what they love, and does not create any waste.
There are many ways to skin a cat and same is true with growing a sustainable brand, but know this - there is key strategies that work for all brands and we want to help you use them to grow. Consider joining our 4 month brand accelerator the Coaching Club to get online courses, weekly zoom calls, and a private community of professionals to help you launch and grow your brand in 2021. We help you do it right! Applications close soon, so don't miss out!
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