Ingrid Milman (Ann Taylor, LOFT) sits in this week in our Earth Week deep-dive to discuss sustainability, transparency in supply chain, and "deliciously sinful" luxury impulse buys. Who has the true influence on the eco-conscious purchase decision - the brand or the consumer? How can fashion lead the conversation in transparent supply chain and manufacturing processes? Featured brands this week: Outdoor Voices, Rent the Runway, Reformation, H&M, Allbirds and more. Listen now!
- Director of Digital at Ann Inc, Ingrid Millman, is co-hosting this week.
- Earth Day has turned into Earth Week and, there are lots of sustainability stories to share.
- Can rental Services like Rent the Runway find a way to make dry-cleaning more eco-friendly?
- Instagram ads somehow turned Phillip into a sneakerhead.
Earth Day Becomes Earth Week: Capitalizing on Saving The Planet:
- Before we get into Earth Day, Ann Inc has a new rewards program, and for the first time, customers receive rewards for spending across the entire portfolio.
- Also, Ingrid's professional views expressed on FC do not reflect those of her employer.
- Anyways, Rent the Runway used Earth Day 2019 to publish its sustainability report on Twitter, showing how RTR as a service is helping to reduce waste.
- Ingrid loves Rent the Runway, and has been a long time subscriber, even pre-unlimited, but feels that if RTR wants to be genuinely sustainable, the company will need to look into more eco-friendly dry cleaning options.
- Phillip says that RTR is the Uber of dry cleaning, they partner with local dry cleaners to get all of the clothes dry cleaned consistently.
- Phillip points out that three years ago, Rent the Runway would have gone to IPO.
Everything is Re-sellable in 2019: People Are DIYing Marie Condo:
- Ingrid is obsessed with the Marie Condo effect and the results from its popularity.
- There's been a surge in the number of people utilizing both physical thrift stores, and online platforms like Poshmark, thredUP, and luxury re-sell platforms like The RealReal.
- Ingrid points out that there needs to be a change to the way these resell platforms operate: namely that there needs to be more of a focus on creating solutions for their customers. As of now, there's not a lot of value proposition outside of general resell.
- Phillip doesn't know if he trusts the resale market, and questions if perhaps if companies are posing as third-party sellers.
- Phillip also blames Instagram for turning him into a sneakerhead, because Instagram forces him to buy an insane amount of sneakers through their targeted advertising.
- Has retail followed more of a meme culture than an influencer culture?
- Ingrid makes a fascinating point: Many people develop their actual sense of style in High School and/or college, but they cannot usually afford to outfit that style entirely, but people in their 30's are targeted by luxury brands more because they have a wholly different purchasing power, and now can make "deliciously sinful" luxury purchases.
Sustainability as a Search Term: Will Legacy Brands Adapt?
- Ingrid has noticed a trend with Google search terms, including sustainability, cotton fiber, dress garments, and for some reason the brand Free People.
- Phillip poses a question regarding sustainability: Do consumers care about sustainability because of the PR push that the brands they trust are putting out? Or are brands increasing their PR around sustainability because they know their customer care about it?
- Ingrid makes a great point that GenX and anyone near that age group cares less about sustainability because it's not on their radar, as opposed to millennials (and anyone under 35), who may make sustainability a key focus of their purchasing choices.
- If legacy brands want to pick up a younger customer, then they are going to have to put a much larger focus on sustainability efforts.
- This is especially true considering how many younger brands are beginning their brands with eco-friendly products like Allbirds.
Earthday 2019: Brands Are Stepping up Sustainable Efforts:
- So in honor of Earth Week, Ingrid and Phillip are sharing some brands that are truly pushing sustainability.
- One such brand is The Reformation, who has a seriously sustainable slogan: "Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option. We're #2", which is pretty freaking awesome.
- Another thing to love about this brand is their transparency: They list all of their sustainability practices on their website including energy efficiency, recycling, and more, and they also list the sustainability sequence on each project page.
- H&M has also announced transparency in supply chain initiative, which promises full transparency in supplier names, location, etc.
- Another brand that has stood out in their efforts is Outdoor Voices, an apparel tech company that Phillip says makes "everyone feel like they're invited to the party.
- Outdoor Voices uses sustainable fabrics in their products, like merino wool, and rec poly made from upcycled post-consumer water bottles.
- Also: In our bonus episode for Earthday, Phillip talked about Allbirds instituting a carbon tax on themselves to offset emissions and make the already eco-friendly brand 100% carbon neutral.
- Ingrid poses one final food for thought question: A movement that runs parallel to the transparency in clothing push is the organic food movement. So why is the transparency in clothing movement moving into the mainstream at a much faster pace?
Go over to Futurecommerce.fm and give us your feedback, or you can reach out on Instagram, Twitter, or any of our social channels. We love hearing from our listeners and hearing your thoughts on current trends in retail.
And you can reach out to Ingrid on Instagram at → ing_stagram
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