#1: Treat your ethical brand like a lucrative business, not the green alternative
This was my biggest takeaway. Basically, if you want to get into major retail stores (on or offline), you have to speak the retailer’s language which usually isn’t earthy crunchy.
And in order to make positive changes in your industry, you need to become an industry leader, not remain ‚the green alternative‘ which means, you have to rock your business, not your values. You already rock those, but a retailer may not care about that.
The sustainability aspect may be the reason why conscious customers come to you in the first place, but it’s not going to convince a major retailer.
Also, if your products aren’t what your customers want, they’ll walk away quicker than my lab vacuums up breadcrumbs under my dinner table.
Conclusion: Concentrate on your products first.
To get into stores as an ethical brand owner, you have to make it clear to retailers that you mean business! Highlight your products first and afterward, tell them that you can help their growth because demand is rising for sustainable and ethical products. If you have numbers from increased sales from another store or even from your own online sales, you’ll really be speaking their language.
Highlight your products on your website and mailings/advertisements. On your About, Giving back, Mission statement, etc. pages, highlight the sustainability aspect. You can add a statement/slogan of sustainability on your homepage, but it’d be wise not to plaster ethical statements and overshadow your products.
Look at People Tree’s website. They only wrote one thing about sustainable fashion at the very bottom where they added their fairtrade badge and a statement in a small font size. On the German site, they added 2 sections with links to separate pages on the bottom: 1) Fairtrade producers highlighting the people who make their products and their 2) Mission statement.
In your product descriptions, you can write how everything is made in a crystal clear way. For example, if your bamboo was ethically sourced in China, anchor link that statement to that particular section on your ‚How our products are made‘ page and describe exactly what that means because just using those words will not convince customers it’s ethically sourced. In fact, it sounds like greenwashing and/or an oxymoron, so please understand that not everyone is going to believe you if you just say so. Conscious consumers need proof because we’ve been lied to so many times in the past that we now have trust issues.