The Fashion Business Model of the Future? This is Unfolded with Cally Russell (episode 381)

Cally Russell is a Forbes 30 under 30, a Drapers 30 under 30, has been on Dragons Den (that’s the UK’s shark tank). Since 2013 Cally has been changing the fashion industry, and since 2020 that change has been highly focused on using data to remove waste and change lives. His current project is This is Unfolded, a fashion brand doing amazing things on many fronts! I’m going to let Cally explain all about it in a moment.

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Creating This Is Unfolded

Cally created This is Unfolded as a way to try and remove waste from the fashion industry.

Thirty percent of clothes are never sold, and that equates to a huge amount of resources being wasted and sent directly to landfills. This was an alarming figure for Cally, who sought to find a solution to this problem by partnering with big organizations.

His idea was to involve the customers in designing the products that will be sold and to produce the clothes when they’ve been ordered. This meant that it took a while before the customers got their orders, but the trade-off was being able to help the planet and the garment factory workers.

Experiencing The Collections

When a retailer introduces new products every week, chances are that brand doesn’t know what their customer really wants.

With Cally’s business model of involving the customer in the design process and selling a collection for a limited time only, This is Unfolded not only creates products that their customers actually love, but they also eliminate wastage with their process.

This proposition has helped Cally create an offering that has impact and meaning.

Changing Consumer Habits

In the fashion industry, there’s always that question of how to educate consumers that will allow them to make better decisions.

With This is Unfolded, customers are taken all the way through all the stages of production to give them an idea on how each garment is produced. And taking the customer on that journey, Cally says, makes their brand story much more powerful and impactful.

Cally believes that to effect change in society, everyone needs to work together, and this includes retailers making their sustainable products accessible to everyone and continually improving their business models.

Lost Stock

Cally says Lost Stock was developed to solve the problem of brands and retailers cancelling orders because of COVID, leaving a lot of factory workers unsupported.

The concept was to sell the clothes to the consumers directly from the factories and to sell them in mystery packages. Getting details from the consumers such as their size, gender, location, age, and favorite colors, Cally and his team would find clothes from the cancelled orders to match the customer.

With this initiative, Lost Stock was able to sell enough clothes to support about 113,000 people for a month in Bangladesh.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Cally says get into comparison ads and visually showing the difference between your products and other products in the market, which can convince potential first-time buyers to buy your product over another.

Tool Top Tip

  • Notion project management software

Growth Top Tip

  • Talk to the customer over and over again to find out what they think of your products, because their responses can help grow your brand.

Interview Links

Related episodes

  • 354: Building a Sustainable Fashion Brand with Partnerships and PR. Gergana from blonde gone rogue
  • 363: JGS Ian Bentley put sustainability at the heart of Parker Clay – and they’ve doubled sales every year
  • 373: How Sustainability and Community are super-powering this fashion brand with Katie McCourt from Pantee

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