Black White Denim’s profitable values

Jo Davies, founding father of the Drapers Independents Awards-winning womenswear boutique Black White Denim, unearths the secrets and techniques to operating a a success, sustainability-focused industry.

Jo Davies established Wilmslow womenswear vacation spot Black White Denim in Cheshire in 2010, and has since grown the boutique to inventory 29 top rate sustainable manufacturers, from Scandinavian staples Axel Arigato and Samsøe Samsøe to LA labels Agolde and Rails. The industry has additionally scooped a couple of Drapers Independents Awards – maximum lately in 2022, when it received Very best Use of Social Media and Very best Retailer Design.

Black White Denim’s award-winning sustainably led retailer inside used to be fitted in 2020 inside a good finances of simply £30,000. Alternatively, the store’s sustainability focal point isn’t restricted to retailer design. Davies explains how Black White Denim promotes a sluggish and round strategy to clothes within the fast paced and trends-led trade of style retail, and divulges the sustainable manufacturers which can be a specific hit amongst consumers.

Sustainability has at all times been central to Black White Denim’s DNA. From release in 2010, we invited consumers to select clothes that they may “Purchase now, stay endlessly” [the business’s mission statement]. This promise used to be grounded within the philosophy that black, white and denim are the basis items of a trendy lady’s cloth cabinet, and that through opting for funding items, our consumers could be serving to their financial institution steadiness, in addition to the planet.

Speedy ahead to 2021 and an international rocked through a world pandemic: consistent with the general public re-appraising their hopes, desires and duties [after seeing lockdowns have a positive impact on wildlife and carbon emissions], we took our sustainability to the following degree. For years we have been appalled through the wastefulness of speedy model, and now felt the general public agreed. We grew to become up the quantity on our emblem philosophy with the daring strapline “Shrink your cloth cabinet” and displayed it proper throughout our retailer window, difficult our consumers – and ourselves – to make clothes alternatives correctly to give protection to our treasured planet, and amplified our sustainability credentials all the way through our industry [including in an online section of its ecommerce website]. Sustainability now could be our approach.

First, my nephew, George – an eco-consultant and College of Cardiff environmental geography graduate – tested each facet of our industry to spot the place lets strengthen on our sustainability. On his recommendation, we despatched a questionnaire to each and every emblem that we feature asking for their sustainability credentials [such as the treatment of workers, sourcing locations, use of biodegradable, organic or recycled materials, and sustainable office practices, such as renewable energy use]. All of them agreed. This now not handiest allow us to benchmark them towards different manufacturers we stocked but additionally inspired them to “up their recreation”, as they knew the guidelines could be communicated to our finish shoppers.

We reworked the buyer adventure thru our boutique and website online to replicate our general focal point on sustainability. There are 3 sustainability “spotlights” [sections] in retailer and on-line to tell our consumers: “Sustainable manufacturers we adore” [such as French footwear label Veja]; “The whole lot is going with the whole thing else” [encouraging consumers to buy less, including fool-proof basics in muted colours, such as classic blue jeans from premium denim label Agolde]; and “Value-per-wear classics”, [showing shoppers the lifetime value of purchases such as a beige trench coat from Danish womenswear brand Meotine retailing for £360]. Those spotlight the regarded as manner at the back of the goods we provide.

We had been the primary UK impartial to introduce a pre-loved phase that permits consumers to recycle their clothes in February 2020, encouraging them to embody round model [limiting fashion waste by extending the lifecycle of product] (@bwdpreloved on Instagram). BWD Pre-loved contributed 5% to our turnover for the one year to 31 December 2022. We additionally presented a “Hire me” be offering sometimes and partywear in December 2022. An enormous hit with our consumers, that is one of the best ways to spend money on a class notorious for its “I’ve handiest worn it as soon as” popularity.

In September 2020, we joined the One Tribe World ecommerce platform, wherein each and every sale generates a micro donation to rainforest coverage. We additionally carried out an environmental have an effect on evaluation (EIA) assessing our have an effect on on native surroundings, utilities, waste, commute and procurement.

We have now accreditation from third-party industry sustainability organisation Inexperienced Mark, which audited and licensed our environmental insurance policies. Our paper service luggage are biodegradable with compostable handles. Our mail packaging is recyclable, and all our garment swing tickets are comprised of recyclable card and string. We have now [standard waste] recycling boxes inside and outside, and feature put in an electrical car-charging level [to encourage low-carbon travel methods to our shop].

Our dependable consumers continuously observation on our dedication to sustainability and the longevity of the items that they have got purchased from our boutique – it’s one of the crucial major causes our industry is a good fortune.

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