The upcoming weekend we will organise one of the most important sales event during the year. We'll be hosting the annual stock and sample sales, clearance of the stocks, displaying samples that never made it to the production.
It is challenging to start this topic without going too deep into the way we are accustomed to thinking about the environment. How [according to Timothy Morton] from the beginning of the so called agrilogistics we’ve been slowly enforcing the development of seeing our environment as the means of our own well being and pleasure. This has been resulting in the pursuit of human survival on the expense of everything else. And well, now we are in trouble. And without going any deeper, fashion and apparel industry, is an extreme example of this development. And we are part of it.
But sales. Discounts. How and why? Can sales be part of sustainable business model?
For us, the most important thing is to be honest and respectful for our clients and for the industry. We also try to be as transparent as possible (the only limitation with transparency is the overwhelming amou
nt of information that we are unable to communicate all the time). With sales or non-sales, our intention is not to trick anyone into buying something they don’t actually need or want. As some might see the sales as the evil plan of the companies to sell stuff to people who actually do not want it, we find it difficult to imagine that we would have such super powers.
Sales are as visible as everything else on our online and offline platforms. We do not hide or give the so called dead stock items to a third party members, who would then sell them on discount via their own platforms. To be able to keep up the image of “we never have sales”, it is a quite common strategy to hide the sales. And it can be a very good strategy also. But we have a different one.
For the question of why, the answer is quite predictable and simple: From each season there are items that are not sold. These items are called dead stock, as they are not being actively sold. Seasonal sales, every half a year, are the way to get the dead stock moving again.
And now comes the next question: why do we actually have seasonal collections? Wouldn’t it be more sustainable to have ongoing or permanent collections?
The nice thing about fashion is that it is a creative industry. It can be super fun! And it can be a very powerful tool of self expression, communal gesture or political activism. For this vivid and life beating feature of fashion, cyclical seasons bring the novelty, excitement and development into it. For each brand, the frequency of seasons and the size of each collection is re-estimated. For TAUKO having two seasonal collections annually feels like a good cyclical speed. It keeps us on the move and allows us to develop the design.
The next question concerning the sales, would be the price. How is the price set? Could we just sell always on discount?
To be honest here, there is no “real” price. Within the collection there are items that are sold on the cost of production (materials, cutting and sewing) and items that have bigger margin for us. On average one could say that having -50% sales means that we cut out our own sales margin. As a brand, we still might get something from the sold product, but not always. Read more about the price structure of the TAUKOxGULLKRONA collection and other TAUKO items HERE.
Was there an answer for the sustainability of discounts? No, not really.
From the perspective of a small brand like us, sales or discounts are not evil. They are also not a relief. Within the clothing industry, that we are part of, It is all about selling: making money so that we are able to do the production, pay rent, pay salaries, make photos, create new designs…. The list is long. And all the sales help us in doing what we do.
For me the big question is, on which expenses these sales are made?
Every time I see a new garment that is sold for 10 euros, it gives me shivers. Knowing about the cost structures and the ways of maximising the profits of the seller, whether or not in sale, that is too little. It is an extreme example of the blindness and ignorance on the effects that cheap production and labour have on the environment.
Text: Mila Moisio
Photos: 2016 ystävämyynti photos by Yehia Eweis, all the rest by Laura Oja
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