Hey #TEAMTALA! We cannot believe we are writing our first TALA Talks post of 2021. Firstly we’d like to say a big thank you for your ongoing support, whether that’s liking, commenting, saving or sharing a post, tagging us in your TALA fits, sharing your feedback, or shopping our sustainable styles. We wouldn’t be here without you, which is why we’ve decided to give you a bit more of an insight into the behind the scenes of building TALA and answer some of your burning questions. So buckle in, as we have some really interesting TALA Talks coming up that will allow you to step into TALA HQ and find out what goes on behind the scenes.
OUR STANCE ON SALES AND DISCOUNTS
We have all seen fast fashion brands offer flash sales, and as a sustainable brand, we have previously taken a strong stance on discount opportunities and vowed not to participate. A bit of background - we opted not to take part in Black Friday 2019 and instead chose to use our platform to educate on the impact of the event, and fast fashion generally. We wanted to encourage our audience to think twice before shopping in Black Friday sales, and to avoid impulse purchases, instead ensuring they were shopping consciously.
However, as Black Friday 2020 approached, we identified certain elements of sales and discounts that can benefit sustainable brands and our customers if delivered in the correct way. We noticed some of our other favourite brands boycotting Black Friday too, and felt that sustainable brands generally shouldn't have to miss out on the retail event and opportunity to drive revenue and engage with new customers. Consider this - if all sustainable brands choose to opt out of Black Friday, there is no alternative to the fast fashion sales for customers to consciously shop from. Providing only the two opposite ends of the spectrum is no way to encourage people to engage in sustainable clothing. When we were deciding whether or not to participate in the event, we thought back to when we - as team members - became interested in sustainable fashion. It became very clear to us that we all hopped aboard at varying times, and that was thanks to growing options, rather than having no choice but to avoid fashion retail entirely. Whilst we know that the most sustainable item is always the item already in your wardrobe, we can't hope to change consumer habits towards sustainability without providing alternative options to fast fashion. And that's exactly what we have always wanted to do.
After much consideration, we therefore decided to participate in Black Friday 2020, ensuring that we still provided educational resources and encouraged our audience to only shop for items they really needed. We introduced The TALA Pledge - a promise that even when TALA participates in sale and discount opportunities, we will abide by the values we stand for to protect our workers and the environment.
WHY WE LAUNCHED OUR SUSTAINA-SALE
As a young brand, we’re so overwhelmed by how much you have loved our products, and the majority of our collections have sold out wildly quickly. However, we have also developed a small number of products that, unfortunately, didn't sell as well as expected. When we work with our suppliers to produce new products, we use sales data from previous collections to inform the total quantity of stock we order across each style, colour and size. After each launch, we review and use this to inform future orders so that our ratios get better each time. The quantity we predict we need to order varies from product to product and season to season, and is especially difficult to predict as a new brand. It is more sustainable and viable for us as a business to get this right - to predict as accurately as possible how much stock we need for each collection, to ensure you guys don’t miss out on the products you want, and to avoid any excess stock. Unfortunately though, it’s an art and not a science, so it doesn’t always work! Whilst we have learned from experience, we sometimes need to find ways to sell this excess stock to deliver on our promise to never send products to landfill. Selling existing stock also releases cash flow to allow us to develop and produce new products we know you’ll love, and to help us survive as a business and grow the brand.
We therefore sometimes need a solution to help find these products a good home, such as launching an end-of-season sale, a free gift with purchase (we will always try and give you the option to ‘opt out’ to avoid waste) or promos like 3 for 2. At the end of 2020, we introduced the concept of our Sustaina-Sale, a sale of unsold seasonal stock offered at up to 60% off. The high price drop on sale products meant we sold several of these items at a loss to the business (e.g. it was more expensive for us to sell these items than to not sell them at all!), but this was a compromise we made as a brand to stay true to our values and to avoid sending any products to landfill. It’s also an opportunity for a new audience to be introduced to sustainable styles at an even more accessible price point. As per our pledge, we will never produce products specifically for a sale or discount opp, and any discount we offer to our customers will never impact the cost we pay our supplier for the product, or the wages we pay our workers. Any stock that remains unsold following our Sustaina-Sale will subsequently move to our Classics collection, a hand-picked collection of sustainable styles from our archives, available at amazing prices on our website to help them find a home. Alternatively, products may be made available via our Depop channel offered at a discounted price, or donated to charity.
This isn’t usually a process brands share with you as they pop excess stock into a sale or send it to landfill to avoid brand devaluation, but we’d rather share the whys and hows of the process so you’re part of this journey with us.
SO, WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT IN 2021 AND BEYOND?
As we gain more sales data, we hope that we will be able to more accurately predict customer demand for each collection, meaning less unsold products for us to promote as part of a sale or discount opportunity. But when you do see us offering you a sale or promo, we hope you can now shop confidently and consciously, knowing that we are doing this the TALA way, and for the right reasons.
We still want you to only shop for what you need - it’s so tempting to be taken in by discounts and purchase on an impulse, but please always ask yourself why before you buy. Fashion is the second biggest polluting industry after oil, with 1.2bn tonnes of carbon emissions produced by the global fashion industry every year – this is more than the emissions of international flights and maritime shipping combined! At the current rate of consumption, textile production will account for 25% of all global carbon emissions by 2050, so remember this the next time you’re considering making a purchase.