Our Uncomfortable reality
Contrasting realities are found in our days. Environmental problems and new technologies; automatization and unemployment; underpaid workers in third world countries and industrial residues in many cities. Being the most expanded industry many of these negative situations social and environmental problems, are related to the apparel value chain. Some efforts can be seen to improve this picture.
The greatest efforts come from some social NGOs where we find that fundraising is difficult and not innovative, mostly begging for donations. Simultaneously, the numbers of people gaining consciousness of these problems grow exponentially. Although most people are willing to help, their daily activities make it difficult to find the means to this end. There is a market for products that have been manufactured and marketed with high standards of environmental and social care. Yesterday´s niche market turns out to be today´s mass markets with “social conscience consumers”. The same consumers that purchase the diverse apparel products.
How can this “massive consumer goodwill” be brought together efficiently, and pave the way towards a clean industry with well paid workers, without disturbing consumer’s day to day activities?
We can keep on building companies, willing to handout donations written off their tax bills, in an unfruitful effort to repair the damage that they have caused, ending up being once again a marketing strategy. Does this address the root of the problem? Competing for the future means thinking and acting in new and unconventional ways. It requires identifying how the future will be different, understanding what these differences will mean to consumers, mobilizing a company to position itself advantageously in that new environment and getting to the future before any competitors do.
We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity (but what our creativity produce can leave a legacy long after we are gone.
Are we competing for a market share in the existing market place? Are we only donating tax deductible amounts, in an industry well known for price mark up? Or are we willing to stand up and compete for the right to shape the structure of the markets of the future Can we redefine the business, and together with NGOs create a massive movement? We must understand that the future is not an extrapolation of the past.
A UNIQUE IDEA: Can we shuffle, and deal again, redefining priorities and participants, creating a company, in a water proof win- win partnership scheme, with an NGO? Implying that for every production unit sold the NGO will receive the primary financial benefit, allowing a minor balance for company and project growth? More than two-thirds of the markup redirected to social assistance. This revolutionary concept ensures needy people, in different parts of the world, to benefit from this business. What makes it work even better is the fact that a buyer will feel good in the knowledge that his purchase has actually helped the needy. This, at a first glance, may seem evolutionary, but will prove to be revolutionary, and will get us to the future before our competitors… without risk.
THE COMPLETE QUALITY CYCLE
Understanding quality in its most ample concept. Envision a fashion quality apparel brand, marketing high-finished products, with high standards all along the value chain, manufacturing materials, qualified well-paid labor, and satisfied final users.
We envision nature including people. We believe that fighting poverty isn’t just about charity, but about justice and equality. Helping families gain the skills they need to reach their full potential. Allowing them to develop small-scale artisan businesses and preserving the environment by using recycled materials. Companies that can be organized aiming at an ample objective, including an NGO that shall receive the primary financial benefit from every sale made. This will allow the NGO to become “a truly sustainable organization”, rather than a charity dependent on fundraising for support. The goal is clear, “eradicating poverty, and improving environments related to the industry”, and, for each buyer, his purchase is an important step towards this goal. So buyers are the echelon that complete this “Cycle”, and they`ve found a way to help in a noble cause, without affecting their daily routine. The buyer has “stepped forward” and committed to social change.
The Complete Quality Cycle is adopted by a company willing to be, benefit wise, full partners with an NGO, and together feature social reality to their customers. That direct experience with the problem is the best way for young people to become committed to solving it. Thus, for every high quality item sold, the NGO will receive the primary financial benefit. This revolutionary concept ensures that the NGO`s final beneficiaries, in different parts of the world, will receive the needed help, without depending on donations received by occasional donors. And people will buy why we do it, simply because it’s easier to connect to a known beneficiary, a person, a child in need, than to an abstract action. So if a company is giving 10% in charity, it’s hard to feel passionate about that. But if you are positively contributing to a noble cause, i.e. putting a roof over a poor child’s head, there is a very direct connection.