Refuse. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Rot.
If you’re familiar at all with elementary school science classes, you’ll know these are the five steps to “going green.” Over the last decade, a renewed emphasis on the environment has pushed a curious generation to explore sustainable living. This includes seeking eco-friendly options in goods they regularly purchase.
No surprise, the fashion industry as a whole has felt the effects of this priority shift. Consumers are acutely aware that as a whole the fashion industry is relatively dirty. After all, a good bit of the earth’s pollution comes from the waste created by fast fashion manufacturing.
With consumers more informed and eco-conscious than ever before, brand transparency is often a make or break for consumers. As a fashion blogger myself, I always include a paragraph outlining a brand’s sustainable and ethical initiatives during a review. And I’m not alone.
Perhaps your fashion business is inherently “green.” Or maybe you’re working toward being more sustainable in your production. Either way, there are a few ways to capitalize on your initiatives. These green marketing ideas will help you gain loyal customers and grow your brand.
What is Green Marketing?
To start with, I want to address some of the buzzwords surrounding green marketing. Lots of people throw terms around without really knowing what they mean or the impact behind them. A few of the terms lumped into this idea of green marketing actually have nothing to do with the environment.
It’s very important as the voice of a new fashion brand to understand the difference between these social issues. It’s also important to get a handle on where you stand on all of them.
- Sustainable – In fashion, sustainability is the process of implementing and fostering an environment of social justice and eco-conscious processes in order to holistically change the impact of a brand on the workforce and environment.
- Ethical – If you make the claims to be an ethical company you understand and are actively working to right the unjust humanitarian practices associated with fast fashion. As an ethical company, you’re partnering with manufacturing houses that offer fair wages and quality working environments for the production team.
- Locally Sourced – Local sourcing means you’re partnering with local-to-you vendors to provide everything from raw materials to localized manufacturing.
- Organic – if you make organic claims on your website, this likely refers to the natural materials used in the production of your garments. Make sure the growers of your raw materials have a true organic certification before making these claims.
Consumers Are Trending Toward Sustainable, Ethical Products
It’s clear from studies and trends that consumers are actively looking for sustainable companies. The decline of the environment is on everyone’s minds. Companies in the fashion industry that are taking bold stands against waste and quick consumption products are highly favored.
If your company’s infrastructure can’t support a total manufacturing upheaval at the moment, there are a few easy ways to start making a trend toward sustainability. Here are a few ideas to try out:
- Incorporate a recycling program for your in-store or online packaging. Offer a small incentive if customers bring their own bags or recycle their shipping containers.
- Investigate every step of your manufacturing process to see if any part is sustainable. While you might not be able to see firsthand the working conditions of the sewing houses, you may be able to confirm that none of the chemicals and dyes are tested on animals, for example.
- Get involved or make donations to an environmental or social cause you’re passionate about. Be sure to do this on behalf of your company.
Don’t Lead Your Consumers Astray for the Sake of Marketing
Enabled by the internet, consumers are smarter than ever. If you’re making “green” claims that cannot be substantiated you will be discovered. This will very likely hurt your brand credibility in a lasting way.
Don’t think you can fool your customers with marketing buzzwords that only sound good. If you are making a difference and contributing to green initiatives it’s absolutely OK to tell everyone! If you make claims just for the sake of marketing, however, you’ll end up hurting your brand in the long-run.
How to Market for Green Initiatives
So, if you’re already invested in green marketing and sustainable practices you’re going to want to share that marketing message with every audience possible.
Below are a few thought-starters on how to market for your eco-friendly processes:
- Have a Thorough Explanation on Your About Page
If you have a website, you’re going to want to work keywords into your About page and Home page. You may also want to include green keywords in your product descriptions. This is for both your consumers and for SEO purposes.
Green keywords are trending and have been for a while. Identify some of the most relevant ones for your brand and use them throughout your website.
- Be as Transparent as Possible
Know your green initiatives. Take a page from brands like Sezane and Everlane who go as far as listing out the percentages of fabric makeup for each product produced as well as sharing videos of their overseas production warehouses and fair working conditions.
- Share Your Passion for Sustainability on Social Media
Use social media channels like Pinterest and YouTube to curate content that trends toward relevant, sustainable messages. Create a Pinterest board or two with creative recycling programs, cute re-commerce ideas, and upcycling projects.
Try your hand at vlog-style videos documenting your thoughts on eco-friendly fashion, the industry in general, and how your company supports the sustainable message. Share those videos on YouTube and even IGTV for extended exposure.
- Use Subliminal Green Marketing in Your Brand Colors
If you’re very passionate about creating a green company and have yet to nail down brand colors, a logo, and website design, consider trending your brand colors toward earthy tones. This is great for some subliminal “green” marketing.
You wouldn’t actually have to create your logo out of only shades of green, but earth-focused tones can help reinforce your initiatives.
Showing your brand’s dedication to bettering our world is extremely attractive to new customers. Implementing these green marketing ideas can also help set you miles apart from your competitors.
Thanks for all that information. I’m just starting out and the fabrics I’m using is recycled moss , poly, spandex blend.
Very cool, Val!