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When the wave of sustainability hit the fashion industry, a lot of brands scrambled about to follow the most popular trends, starting from using more of cotton and linen to using recycled paper based packaging for their products.
However, what everyone seems to have forgotten is that it is also about the customers and their preferences. Blindly following trends doesn’t necessarily indicate a brand that cares and customers know that.
In marketing, since time immemorial, scholarly books and references have always talked about how customers are always king. In terms of social responsibility too, it is but the best idea to follow what customers primarily care about.
For example, if your customers are animal lovers, then it would make more sense for you to concentrate more on making your products vegan or cruelty free. Not to say that there is no need to follow other sustainable methods. But catering to what your customers need, will make them happier.
Similarly, there are multiple ways in which you can start your sustainable journey.
Here are 5 simple ways to begin with.
One of the simplest ways to start adopting sustainable practices is to reduce the usage of paper or paper based products within your office. You can start by identifying the processes in your company that use pen, paper, cardboard files etc. and replace them with digital equipment. You can also replace the paper and plastic based plates, cups etc. in your pantry with steel ones so that you can reuse them efficiently. Additionally, you can also try avoiding paper receipts and ask customers if you can email their receipt to them digitally.
If you find it difficult to source eco-friendly raw materials, like organic cotton etc. you can make an attempt to offset your impact by working with NGOs or other social service companies until you find a reliable source. For example, you can collaborate with a nature preservation organization or a wildlife preservation organization and offer a part of your sales proceeds to their work. You can also opt for simpler social services or charity services as well, like orphanages or destitute homes if you wish to do something good for the community.
Another practice you can adopt right in your office or workspace is managing waste efficiently. You can look for ways to reduce waste in your manufacture to begin with. Additionally, you can also partner with waste management organizations and material recycling facilities to move the waste you are left with. To reduce waste in production, you may need to do proper research and adopt the most efficient technologies, which may take time. To start off at a basic level you can research on the best environmental friendly facilities where you can dispose off the waste without adding to the landfills or cause any other form of pollution.
To reduce your impact, you can try reducing the consumption of resources in your office, like water and electricity. Use the latest energy efficient electrical appliances, lighting equipment etc. Energy in whatever form is a growing scarcity these days and any attempt to rationalize its use would definitely contribute to sustainability.
Going animal friendly may seem like a difficult thing to do in terms of production. But on conducting research if you find that your customers really care about animals, then you can take some simple steps like partnering with animal rescue organizations, contributing sales proceeds to animal welfare projects etc. If you can afford it, you can also simply eliminate products that involve animal based raw material and later on figure out alternatives to offer your customers.
As a small business in fashion, practicing simple methods like these can really show your customers that you care about the environment and that you are making a genuine effort. At the end of the day, it is transparent and genuine brands that customers trust and purchase from. Hence, your heartfelt efforts to become sustainable will definitely pay off.