In 2020, three major issues are causing disruption to the textile industry: the coronavirus pandemic, rising awareness of factory conditions for textile workers and the textile industry’s high carbon footprint.
It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has created uncertainty in everyone’s personal lives as well as most business industries. The textile industry is no exception.
In mid-March and early April, concerns arose over the clothing industry’s ability to receive the necessary fabrics to achieve its usual product output. This was especially a concern in “developing nations” where supply chain paths are less established. Additionally, less people have bought new clothes since the pandemic began due to fear over losing a job and due to the vast rise in American employees working from home.
Addressing challenges in the supply chain is not easy for any marketer since so much of the supply chain is affected by outside sources that are out of any marketer’s control. However, you should be sending out reassuring, although realistic, messaging both internally and externally.
Internally, your marketing messaging should concentrate on providing updates for the company’s supply lines along with the company’s financial projections. Internal employees realize what is happening in the world and will appreciate your candor in these updates.
To external partnerships, messaging should revolve around a positive tone of calculating improvements in the supply chains while also setting expectations about when your business will be able to make its deliveries. You’ll want other businesses to continue to see you as a reliable source, but you’ll also want your partners to have a realistic timeline.
For mass consumers, you’ll want to continue to run marketing campaigns so your brand will remain at the forefront of customers’ minds. Consider promoting discounts or layaway programs during this time to incentivize people to shop for your brand. Assuming that your company hasn’t furloughed most of your workforce, you’ll also want to communicate that your business sees it’s workers as family and is trying it’s best to keep its workers employed.
Most textile companies import their fabrics from factories that aren’t located in the United States. Unfortunately, many of these factories have poor working conditions. In recent years, more media organizations and activist groups have sought to draw public attention to these working conditions along with the low wages most factory workers receive.
If your textile company is one that uses factories that have poor conditions, then you’re somewhat at a loss on this one. However, if your company works with factories that have decent conditions and fair wages, you’ll want your messaging to separate you from the rest of the pack.
Emphasize that not only are American workers part of your brand’s family and focus on how every worker in the supply chain plays an integral part in creating the product your consumers love. You’ll also want to showcase any trips your executives have made to visit your company’s factories when they were checking on its conditions. This will highlight that your senior leaders value people over profit.
Additionally, you’ll want to show the positive impacts that your factory has on the community in terms of supplying people with a livelihood. Some textile businesses are also offering education incentives for their factory workers to help improve the community as a whole.
According to an article from Forbes, “the apparel industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions and remains the second largest industrial polluter, second only to oil.” For an industry that thrives on pushing “the latest fashion” and the importance of updating your closet every season this stat isn’t completely shocking.
While the textile industry requires a lot of raw materials and energy to produce its end products, marketers should focus on ways to absolve the company’s carbon footprint.
A couple of ways to do this revolve around ensuring that the business uses sustainable resources to produce its clothing. This could be through the use of recycled clothes or other materials to produce your apparel (some companies are even using water bottles!) Other businesses are focusing on using materials that are more natural and can easily be replaced.
If your company isn’t looking to change the production of its products to a more sustainable alternative, you should encourage the business to offset its carbon footprint in other ways. Consider donating a certain percentage of each sale to a clean water initiative or offer a discount to consumers if they bring your brand’s past clothing items to your store to be recycled.
In 2020, it isn’t easy to be a textile marketer as consumers have become more savvy and conscientious about the brands they buy from. Yet, through following a couple of the tips above, you can reassure your customers that your company is a people-oriented brand they’ll want to continue to support for years to come.
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