A product’s back story is beginning to play a bigger role in people’s buying decisions, particularly as tragic news events — including the 2013 collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,100 workers — bring manufacturing conditions to light. Fashion start-up and FedEx customer Everlane has taken some of the boldest steps in the industry to address the issue: It’s sharing rarely shared details about its suppliers and costs. Founder and CEO Michael Preysman calls it “radical transparency.” And shoppers are all over it.
Every product page links to information about the factory where it’s made, along with details about Everlane’s audit of conditions and photos of workers on the job. The company’s prices, Preysman says, reflect a fair markup of actual costs — shown alongside the price likely charged by traditional retailers.
Responsible Sourcing Makes Business Sense
Everlane’s ethical stake in the ground is paying off financially, too. Although the company doesn’t disclose financials, it was widely reported that sales would top $100 million in 2016, double the figure from 2015.
Responsible sourcing isn’t all they have up their sleeve. A new showroom in their New York studio and “The Everlane Lab,” an experimental space on the ground floor of their San Francisco headquarters, connect fans with personal stylists, fitting rooms and the ability to purchase on site. And in January, the company launched its 100% Human line, where each product sold includes a $5 donation to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The accompanying marketing speaks to the U.S. political climate with the online message, “It’s true: We don’t always agree. Different politics. Different priorities. But it doesn’t mean we have to be divided. This year, let’s celebrate being 100% Human. Together.”