Please take today’s email as an open letter. A set of thoughts and considerations that are running through my head and that I have the pleasure of sharing with you.
March is consumer awareness month and so it comes naturally to ask myself what makes a consumer aware.
The Makers Movement that has gained a foothold during these last years has certainly contributed to increasing the desire of knowing more about the products we purchase, their origin and their cost.
When we talk of ethical consumption the consumer’s attention focuses in part, if not in large part, on the price of the product. I personally believe that knowing the elements that constitute the price of a product is right and that it is in the same way the duty of the business to share that information.
If we wish to evaluate an informed purchase based on prices and cost then a change of perspective and mentality is necessary. Only this way we’ll be able to realise that purchasing from ethical brands could be convenient for the majority of people, if we remember to just take into account the cost-per-wear value.
When buying a top from H&M at the price of 8,00€, that will wear itself out after the third wash, that top will cost approximately 2,60€ each use.
I wore my crp top Marta in silk at least fifty times in the past year, with a retail price of 78 euros it turns out to have a cost-per-wear of at least 1,56€ and it still has many years ahead of itself.
Of course this rule isn’t always valid, there will always be that piece of clothing that you bought at the mall that has stood the test of time, but there is also another factor that we have to consider: the aesthetics durability.
Trendy and fast fashion products have an incorporated expiry date, that has nothing to do with quality. If you feel the pressure to replace that da 8,00€ top with a new one after three months, then the first top you bought loses all its worth.
We should then change perspective, by considering the purchase frequency and questioning the number of pieces of clothing that a successful wardrobe has to have and from there decide how much to invest on clothes. I’m convinced that, with this change of perspective, ethical fashion could be within almost everyone’s reach.
I’m convinced that consumers need facts and information in order to judge the behavior of a business and to be able to decide whether they want to continue buying from a certain brand or not.
I want to be able to build a trusting relationship with you, defying the relationship that is created between a business and the consumer. I want to build a relationship based on shared beliefs and demonstrating transparency.
Though the final choice is up to the consumer. After all, I can tell you how I operate, how I work, how our car functions but you are the one who decides if you want to put gas in it. No companies act unilaterally, no cause moves forward on its own initiative. You are the one who decided whether to trust it or not, whether to invest in a brand you believe in or not. That’s why I believe that transparency and sharing are important points. If you feel free to ask questions, gather information and to reprimand us if you think we are making a mistake, then I think we can talk of conscious consumption.
To be informed about costs definitely helps to be conscious consumers but I ask myself: where is the price relevant in the purchase experience?
When I want to spend a pleasant evening, or if I want to celebrate an occurrence, I book a mid-level restaurant with my husband, making sure it reflects what I want to spend approximately.
Once at the restaurant however I don’t try to figure out how much has cost per gram the cut of meat that I have on my plate or the amount of time the cook has spent cooking the asparagus.
Once I decide how much I want to spend approximately, I’ll calculate the value of the dinner to the quality of food, the restaurant’s atmosphere and the kindness of the service.
Concerning clothing, I believe that the purchase value is conceived differently. I presume that’s due to the price decline in the fashion world. Being less willing to spend has made us more careful during the purchase of ethical products.
I believe that thanks to a constant exchange between the consumer and the producer, we can get to conscious and ethical consumption.
Of course we don’t have the silver bullet, being an inclusive and transparent business is our end goal, figuring out how to succeed is our journey.