Awakening to a subject
Ever since I came to Copenhagen, suddenly being a foreigner, a welcomed one but still a foreigner I met more and more people from all over the world. One thing foreigners like to do the most is talking about their own country and comparing it to the country they live in now. Anyway, sharing stories, getting a feeling about their lives, I started caring. Here lays the key: emotions. One is more open to learn if one has a positive feeling towards something. You don’t care as long as it is far away from you, has no face, voice, no story.
This and photography led me to meet my business partner. She invited me into her company with the words only an Indian would use, you have the same energy, you are one of us and now I can get involved in making a difference. One who feels responsible in putting my talents and potential to the world’s service not just a job with an income.
Curious about the market forecast I did my own little market research during the Fashion Week in Copenhagen in January 2014, I found not much content added by designers to the subject sustainable fashion. The designers I talked to couldn’t feel that customer’s asked for fair trade, healthier cloth or textiles with an eco-friendly footprint. They also had very little intention to rethink and innovate, to change themselves, to adopt to the new challenges. For all who feel they would love to but don’t know how I put together a summary with tools, rather than pointing fingers.
Butter bei die Fische – now we are talking
Justin Keeble, Managing Director, Sustainability Services EALA, Accenture presented
5 disruptive ideas for sustainable fashion:
1) New consumption models (Share office! Share tools!)
2) Transparency (Reconnect consumer and producer - Who made my cloth?)
3) More with less (Saving resources)
4) Circular Economy (Take it back!)
5) Shared Value (Who and how can we help?)
New consumption models raise the question if everyone has to get a drill they use once a year while they could share and borrow it from someone else that needs one by the nature of his hobby or business. Shared office and studio spaces, shared printers, storage, shared cars and so on can reduce costs, material, CO2 emission, space, fuel to name just a view. We have to care again and ask the question who made my cloth. Reconnect consumers and producers. Give the consumer a face and a story to relate. Create emotional involvement. More with less goes hand in hand with new consumption models. Seek for potentials to save more of what you use or have to use in order to create your products and services.
Where is the little screw you can tighten a bit more so it doesn’t leak the liters of water, the kilos of wood, the cubic meters of CO2, the less hours for workers in India, the more hours for their free time.
What happens to your product after it’s life is over, after it has served it’s purpose? Do you care? Do you have a solution? Maybe take it back? What for? Maybe as new material, maybe someone’s trash is another ones treasure – circular economy.
You know how important marketing is, it has to be viral marketing and Facebook and twitter and Pinterest, social engagement, building communities around your product and your company. You tell your stories and it is always about good story telling. Go a bit further. Embrace transparency and show. Being vulnerable brings back love they say. A community is an exclusive group of shared interest, shared value. This is where your community participants feel accepted and where they feel good about themselves. So here we have the same effect. Positive emotions open the willingness to listen, to follow, to remember, to learn, to contribute, to be part of something. Cooperation is the word. We need to put our egos aside and cooperate, join forces if we want to make a difference. Let your business be a well to something more than money. Give back and add value. Treasure the ones who make the product.
Shared value – shared revenue
Which leads me to Marco Bizzari. He serves as President and CEO of Bottega Veneta a luxury luggage house which has expanded their portfolio from leather goods to fashion and fragrance.
Bottega Veneta started working with a women cooperative in one village. While reviving craftsmanship by giving skilled workers the option to execute their trade this was just the first one to come. Majors of another villages contacted Bottega Veneta setting up collectives as well. Important to state is the fact that the workers hold shares of the cooperatives.
Interesting and I must say I got goose bumps when I saw his slides of the women and to see this slide where revenue went up. Appreciation, aren’t we all longing for love? By being involved in the making, the process, the individual need for purpose and being valued, even adding value is met. Where the employees are no longer human capital but Olivia, Sofia with a story and are understood as the creator of the very product and therefore company, revenue can go up. Bottega Veneta has also taken great measures to tailor a design studio environment which is an ecosystem in itself. Joint old Italian building structure with modern architecture, ecofriendly with little to zero footprints and is light and shaped to make ideas flow naturally.