The fashion industry faces particular scrutiny. And it’s a good thing. Fashion businesses are rising to the challenge of proving their sustainability credentials.
GlamCorner – a fashion rental business created in 2012 to help women solve the age-old problem of having nothing to wear – is one of them. It’s an incredibly successful and deeply sustainable B Corp-certified business that started with a simple goal but quickly evolved to become a sustainability star.
Here, we talk to one of the founders, Dean Jones, about GlamCorner’s journey. First, though, let’s get his top tips on how to embed sustainability into your business practices.
Dean’s top tips for becoming a more sustainable business
1. Make your workplace more sustainable
Simple changes – like eliminating single use plastics, switching to LED lightbulbs or going paperless – can make a big difference.
2. Review your policies
Consider setting actual policies requiring your employees to direct the purchasing power of your company in its everyday activities towards more sustainable and socially conscious providers. This could be selecting local caterers and tradespeople from your local community, through to being selective about where you purchase stationary and other staff amenities from.
3. Embed positive impact into your products
Explore ways you can make your products more environmentally or socially sustainable, while keeping it at a price point your customers can afford. This could be as simple as using recycled packaging to send your items in and recycling your package once it’s no longer needed.
Even if you’re not successful, both processes give you a laundry list of items that you can work through and tick off – and many are relatively easy to do.
5. Embrace the circular economy
Think about how you can contribute to a more circular economy. As described in the Australia Post Sustainability Whitepaper, a circular economy has no net effect on the environment; rather it restores any damage done, while ensuring little waste is generated.
“For anyone starting a new business now, circularity and sustainability will become the norm in the next ten years. Most consumers will expect that you have considered the impact your company has on the planet, no matter what industry you’re in,” Dean said.
GlamCorner’s story started in the wardrobe
GlamCorner is the brainchild of Dean and his partner Audrey Khaing-Jones, who recognised a gap in the market for fashion-conscious females.
“We set out to solve a very simple problem,” explained Dean. “Many Australian women reach a certain stage in life where they find themselves standing in front of a wardrobe full of clothes, yet they have nothing to wear.”
These women would often turn to friends and family to borrow an outfit for a special event. Tapping into this ‘sharing’ mentality, Dean and Audrey created GlamCorner with the goal of becoming “the largest shared wardrobe in the country”.
The initial plan was to rent designer dresses to women for one-off occasions. Yet it soon evolved into something much bigger. “The further into the fashion industry we got, the more we didn't like about it. There’s just so much waste – in fact, it is the second most-polluting industry on the planet behind the oil refining industry,” said Dean.
“Fashion rental helps reduce this wastage significantly. If an item of clothing is rented out 20 times, that’s 19 times that it never needed to be manufactured in the first place.”