There are two sides to every story. When there are seismic shifts in an industry, some companies move forward, disrupt, and thrive while others stand still and are disrupted. Often, it’s the new eating the old, pulling customers away from businesses that we thought were untouchable.
The obvious example is Amazon. After reading a report about the future of the Internet that projected annual web commerce growth at 2,300%, Jeff Bezos decided that his new business would sell books online. In 1998, Amazon moved beyond books and now virtually everything can be found there. By the end of 2018, eMarketer predicted Amazon would own 49.1 percent of all online retail spend in the US, and 5 percent of all retail sales.
Napster began music sharing in 2000 and in the 15 years following, music sales dropped in value by 40%. Powerhouse companies like EMI and Virgin Megastore disappeared. Music moved from a model primarily based on CD album sales to a digital streaming.
Uber to transportation, AirBnB to hospitality, Expedia and Kayak to travel — the list is long. On both sides, the disruptor and the disrupted were confronted with choices about where to put their time and resources. Choices like doubling down on the current strategy or investing in something new. These are the hardest kinds of decisions businesses have to make. They are even more challenging because the signs that it’s time to change may not show up until it’s too late to act.This is especially true when things are going well enough or growing just enough to keep businesses satisfied.
For apparel, ecommerce itself was the last massive disruption that transformed the industry. More recently, subscription services and rentals are showing that consumers are open to new innovations. The question to brands is what’s next? What will you regret not starting on today?
The answer is Circular
There are several signs which point to Circular Business as the next great disruptor in apparel.
Let’s start with the global one — the environment. The apparel industry and textile manufacturing are highly dependent on environmental conditions — whether we acknowledge this or not. The Climate Crisis will bring this into crushing focus for businesses that choose to ignore the connection. Consider these facts:
Consumers are more and more aware of the negative environmental impact created by the current approach to apparel and textile manufacturing. They expect action and are willing to do their part:
In addition to the environment, the other driver towards circular is that the market is ready for a new way of buying and using apparel. Recommerce isn’t a fad. It’s a viable business model with a growing, active market:
Combine the ethical factors of negative environmental impacts with growing consumer sentiment and the growth trends in the resale market and the innovation at the center of all three is Circular.
The Renewal Workshop has partnered with 20+ major brands to demonstrate how the apparel industry can be disrupted for the good of the planet, the customer, and the business. We thrive through a mutual commitment to a sustainable, circular model that offers customers and brands an impactful recommerce experience. This positive disruption of our industry will move us all forward so long as we take notice of the signs and, more critically, take action.