GET, WEAR, REGRET?

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Illustration by Tina LY

Sales season!!! Yes, right after the holidays – i.e. right after you spent a fortune to make people around you happy with gifts, which are probably now being exchanged or sold on a marketplace – the sales period has come. Longer than the “punctual mid-season” sales, the traditional sales periods are still key periods for retailers to sell out former collections’ inventories (and/or excess inventories) and welcome new seasonal collections. Although we knew winter was coming, winter appeared to have come later than expected this year, at least in Europe. Does that mean winter sales are a great opportunity to find great deals?

Depending on what you are looking for, sales’ shopping is usually a perfect excuse to buy more things we don’t need. Influenced by the feeling of making a good deal, we are buying things that make us (temporarily) happy, but also that:

a) Take more and more space
b) Stay in the wardrobe with still tags on it for months, if not for years
c) We consider selling on a marketplace because we realize there is actually no use of these things.

Given that we are in a consumer society, this “way” of acquiring things is part of “the game”. What if there were some principles we could keep in mind while shopping?

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Source: screenshot from – Everlane.com

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Source: screenshots from – Everlane.com

Everlane, the amazing business case
When I first heard about Everlane – 4 years ago – I was wondering if such approach would become a success story. Well, the online shopping platform was founded in 2010 on the basis of pushing boundaries and challenging conventions. We are now in 2016 and the brand has just made its baby steps into a limited kids’ collection. So I think it is working pretty well for them. But the main specificity of this brand is that it promotes radical transparency, a potential best practice regarding shopping relations between buyer and seller. What does it mean? Beyond the classical information about the item you buy such as materials composition or care washing, the brand provides consumers with information related to the factory where the item is made, such as how they found the factory, information about the owner, with pictures of the factory itself and employees themselves. The radical-transparent brand also provides the whole breakdown of the displayed price for each item. Therefore any consumer knows how much of the price is part of the product costs and how much accounts for the brand’s markup (!). In addition, the brand also compares its final price (product costs + Everlane’s markup) with traditional retail price. Amazing right? But this is not it. Although it lasted only 5 days, this conventions-challenger went beyond for its sales period after Christmas. It let people choose their price between 3 discounted prices, with of course, a transparent explanation for each of them:

  1. The cheapest one covers Everlane’s production + shipping costs
  2. The middle one covers Everlane’s production + shipping costs + overhead for their 70-person team
  3. The highest one covers Everlane’s production + shipping costs + overhead for their 70-person team + allows the brand to invest in growth
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Source: Everlane on top – (Racked) and down (BuzzFeed)

Founder and CEO of Everlane, Michael Preysman said to BuzzFeed News, he was inspired by Radiohead and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s (“the Met”, USA, New York) initiatives. The band self-released its album In Rainbows as a pay-what-you-want download in 2007 and the Met charges “recommended admission fees” for adult, senior and student.

Would not it be great to have such business model expanded elsewhere and at current actors? Especially when request for more transparency and better consumption increases more and more.

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Source: NHS

Digital tools for more transparency
Recently, in the UK, parents were urged to get the free “smart sugar app” in order to scan food and drink’s barcodes and see the content of sugar. This initiative aims to help combat health-related issues such as tooth decay, obesity or type two diabetes, by encouraging families to choose healthier alternatives. If we could get such an app for all type of shopping, would our wardrobes be full as they are now?