When you’re a designer or a boutique owner, going green is a big commitment. After all, in the age of fast fashion, clothes are almost disposable. If you’re serious about sustainability, it is possible to make and sell environmentally friendly products without hurting your bottom line.
Use Eco-Friendly Fabrics in Your Designs
Eco-friendly fabrics have come a long way in the past couple of decades — now, you can find a huge variety of colors, patterns, and weights for your designs. Bamboo fabric, which is biodegradable and easy to grow without pesticides, is one great option. For a more traditional feel, look for organic cotton. If you’re concerned with renewable raw materials, consider using hemp fabrics. Since hemp is a breeze to grow without chemicals, and since it doesn’t strip the nutrients from the soil, it’s a great way to make beautiful clothes without hurting the earth. The easiest way to find these fabrics is to look for sustainable suppliers like Simplifi, which can even tell you where each item is made.
Focus on High-Quality Investment Pieces
The type of clothing you sell plays a big role in your company’s sustainability. If your pieces are long-lasting and made from quality materials, your customers are less likely to throw them away. The key? Ignore the trends and focus on timeless styles that your customers can wear for years. Think about investment pieces that never go out of style, like wool winter coats and classic blazers. These products usually come with a higher price tag, so you can make a profit even when you sell fewer pieces.
Help Your Customers Maintain Their Clothes
For your customers without sewing skills, a single rip can send clothing into the trash can. As you’re going green, one option is to offer a free or low-cost repair service for all of your pieces. That way, when one of your customer tears a jacket, they can bring it to you for a fix instead of throwing it out. The time requirement isn’t serious — chances are, you know how to fix a hole or a torn seam quickly, or you can hire an inexpensive tailor. Best of all, this service helps make your eco-conscious customers feel great about each purchase, so they’re more likely to come back.
Start a Recycling Program
Clothing waste in Canada is a big problem. As a small business owner, you can help by starting a recycling program. This can be as simple as installing a donations bin in your store; every once in a while, you can donate the clothing to a charity shop or a church yard sale. If you have the skill, you could also recycle the clothes into new items. A pair of jeans could become a skirt, or you can turn sweaters into mittens. Are you looking to build community around your business? Consider holding a clothing swap, where your customers can trade their items for other clothes for a fun, free wardrobe refresh.
As your customers become more aware of how their clothing choices can affect the environment, your company’s sustainability can be an important selling point. By examining each part of your process, you can find ways to build a greener, more earth-friendly business.