Reducing Landfill in the Outdoor Retail Industry
After 20 years in the business of buying and selling products for outdoor enthusiasts, I have had the great fortune to meet so many individuals passionate about reducing litter and landfill. These are the people taking home recyclable paper, bottles and cans when their workplace does not have the facilities to recycle. As industry leaders, can we follow their lead and do better?
One area that seems to need attention is the lifecycle of a product. Where is the product laid to rest when it loses its value to the retailer or wholesale business? In most cases, store damaged, defective and customer returned products are processed through a Warranty/Return procedure then placed in a box for disposal. At the discretion of the parties involved, the item may be donated to charity or destined for landfill. In many cases items are returned simply because a customer was dissatisfied with the product (there is nothing wrong with it) or some slight damage like a coffee spill from the shop floor has stripped its value.
Clothing in the outdoor industry, unlike fast fashion, is carefully designed for rugged use in extreme conditions. It feels a little insulting to simply donate it to any old thrift shop where it will be priced by someone who has no appreciation for its advanced technical quality. The same goes for camping equipment. Yes, it is a way of reusing but what if those products could all be sorted and distributed to benefit the outdoor community? If a service existed to provide free pick up for warranty items and aged inventory to benefit Non Profit outdoor programs, would the outdoor industry embrace it? Why or why not?
Feedback is greatly appreciated as a feasibility study is underway. Outward Bound is a partner who can use second quality goods to assist outfitting individual participants in the Youth At-Risk, Women from Domestic Violence and Aboriginal At-Risk programs.
If you are a retailer or supplier in the industry, please provide feedback in the comments. If you wish to become more involved in the project, please email email@example.com. Thank you.
Hello Bogs Summit Boots. You had me at “boots” but, wow, what a nice surprise these babies have been in this absolutely bone chilling winter.
When the boots arrived, My first impression, as an owner of Bogs’ trademark “Classic” boots, was disbelief. Why did they send me these slipper-like lightweight ones, I thought. They must be designed for the west coast. Alas, I put them to the test, Super-Mom style: outdoor rinks, toboggan hills and the like. Paired up with merino socks, the Summits have kept me comfortable in temps as low as -40C. I’m sold. The bonus is they are lightweight and watertight (tested in post ice storm slush). 5 out of 5!
Happy 1st Birthday to Mountain Style!
NAU on the “true cost” of manufacturing sustainable clothing. Click on photo above.
A brand I have had a fascination for (and have been silently cheering for in the background for years) is NAU. A company seemingly trying to change the world, in an almost ridiculously idealistic way, makes it even more lovable.
For NAU, sustainable fashion means timeless colors, smart design, eco-friendly materials and simple care. For the wearer, it means style you’ll want to wear more than just one season.
To get what we (and you) want, our principles of design are rooted in a blend of beauty, performance, and sustainability.
Beauty: A passion for the aesthetic in all things.
NAU designs for lasting beauty - product colors, details, and shapes are minimalist, modern, and timeless.
Performance: Meeting or exceeding an intended use.
NAU designs products that protect from the elements, and establish a visual tone that allows for multifaceted use - styles look as good on city streets as they perform well in the wild.
Sustainability: Balancing the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit.
NAU designs for social, material, and aesthetic sustainability.
- Social - 2% of every sale to humanitarian and environmental Partners for Change; cut-and-sew factories that adhere to our Code of Conduct.
- Material - natural, renewable fibers produced in a sustainable manner; synthetic fabrics that contain high recycled content; managed toxics in all product finishes and dyes; salvaged and recycled materials for retail fixtures.
- Aesthetic - styles and product details that are considered, timeless, and able to move seamlessly through the day and all its unpredictabilities
This water-resistant insulated trench features a slim, urban cut in recycled polyester ripstop and 800-fill down for maximum warmth. Diamond quilting and an offset zip offer subtle draping with a clean finish, while a high collar and dolman sleeves create a distinct silhouette.
- Ultralight recycled polyester blend ripstop with subtle heathering and a DWR finish.
- 800-fill goose down insulation for premium warmth.
- Offset waterproof front zip is concealed by wind flap with snaps for a streamlined finish.
- High collar with encased elastic along top edge for warmth with distinct style.
- Two hidden hand zip pockets.
- Internal pocket with snap closure for security.
- Dolman sleeves with trim elastic cuffs to keep out the cold.
- Internal drawcord hem for an adjustable fit.
- Three-quarter length.
SHELL and LINING: Recycled and conventional polyester yarn weave a subtle heathered ripstop, 61 gm/m2, DWR. INSULATION: 800 fill power goose down
I have stumbled upon some talented artists of late whom I feel may resonate with my fellow skiers. Artists whose true passions, creativity and love of nature have intertwined to create objects of beauty.
I’ve found that so often, people sacrifice so much for their love of others that they often put their dreams on hold. Many women stay home to raise a family then have difficulty returning to work.
I’m hoping to collaborate with some of these women, support their dreams and creativity and share their inspiration with others.
All of the art shown are hand crafted, one-of-a-kind pieces by independent artists from Canada and the USA. I would really love to hear your comments about what you see.
I have been absent from my blog for a while and I miss it. Seems I landed a job taking a space from this to that and running a store now. I’m hoping to post an entry soon. I can’t believe it is mid-August already!
SPRING SKIING STILL HAPPENING!
Aspen Mountain is open for Spring Skiing this weekend. Check out this hilarious video by Killington Mountain ;) Love it.
Coding Purchase Orders for Body Types
Are you a retail buyer? As you write orders throughout the season do you find it difficult to keep track of styles you have bought that suit a particular body type? How do you know you haven’t got too much of one thing and not enough of another? Here’s a tip that might help.
Quick tip for buyers who need help visualizing the salesfloor in colour as they are buying for the season. Thanks to all the top notch buyers I have worked with over the years for helping me learn. I hope this little tip can help someone else.
Retail Buying: Customer Profiling Using Pinterest
-defining your store’s customer profiles
-visualize collections for each customer type
-share boards with store team members only
-can make public after product arrives in-store
HAPPY EARTH DAY!
To celebrate Earth Day, I wanted to highlight Timberland. The video highlights one move they made in Canada to make their business more Earth friendly.
The text below comes from their website, explaining the video in more detail.
At Timberland, corporate social and environmental responsibility is so integral to everything they do, it even informs where they locate their office space. Take Canada, for example. Timberland’s Canada office was previously located outside the city of Toronto, with no direct access to public subway transportation or bike routes. The building was not LEED® certified. And with twice the space we needed, it also lacked energy efficiency. Clearly, something needed to change.
At the time the staff began contemplating a move, Evergreen Brick Works targeted the former Don Valley Brick Works—a 12-acre complex of historic but deteriorating buildings in Toronto—for transformation into an international showcase for urban sustainability and green design.
Established in 1991, Evergreen Canada is a national charity that seeks to deepen the connection between people and nature within an urban setting, by creating a community environmental center that inspires and equips visitors to live, work, and play more sustainably.
In restoring and renovating the complex, Evergreen implemented a number of innovative and eco-conscious features, including:
- An on-site garden center selling local produce, with proceeds funding Evergreen’s efforts
- Solar chimneys to improve air flow and reduce the need for air conditioning
- Solar panels attached to the hot water heater, meeting 50% of the demand for hot water
- A roof that reflects light to lower summer building temperatures
- Rooftop grass and wildflower plantings for wildlife habitat and stormwater retention
- Rain-harvesting cisterns
“Even the parking lot was built with the environment in mind,” marvels Josh McKellar, marketing manager for Timberland in Canada. “The porous concrete lets water flow through as if the parking lot wasn’t there. This helps maintain the natural water cycle—reducing stormwater runoff and replenishing groundwater.” McKellar also points out that the LED parking lot lights are designed to direct light downward, keeping the sky naturally dark for birds, insects, and bats and simultaneously reducing energy use by 85 percent.
Evergreen’s efforts to reduce environmental impact have received much acclaim, including LEED® Platinum Certification for its anchor building and recognition as a “Top 10 Geotourism Destination” by National Geographic shortly after the complex opened in 2010. So it’s no wonder that competition among potential tenants was high.
In our application for space at Evergreen Brick Works, Timberland stressed the alignment of the company’s values with those of Evergreen and the potential for collaborating on sustainable innovation and consumer engagement, such as the “Earth Month” tree-planting event that occurs every April.
The application was approved, and Timberland’s Canada staff moved into the new office space in June 2011. “Their vision is to create a community of like-minded groups,” says McKellar. “We became the only for profit company to occupy the Evergreen Brick Works because of our corporate environmental commitment. They felt this would help round out the community.”
The total cost to Timberland was $60,000, a figure that included building out the raw space and moving furniture to the new location. The company also realized immediate savings of $2,000 per month in rent. From an environmental standpoint, the new site provides better access to public transportation, and the building’s energy efficiency features will contribute to Timberland’s ability to meet our 2015 goal of a 50% emissions reduction for our global facilities and air travel. In addition, according to McKellar, “The location will allow us to better interact with and respond to our customers, and we’ll also appeal to consumers who demand more from a sustainability standpoint for our product.”
As a result of this move, the Canada staff earned Timberland’s coveted Carden Welsh Award for Environmental Excellence, an honor established in 2002 and awarded annually to individuals or teams of employees whose actions lead to a sustainable improvement in Timberland’s environmental footprint.
Spring Innovation from Icebreaker
It feels like the spring that will never come this year, but I know it won’t be long before everyone is complaining about the heat. That’s when I’m excited to tell people about some of the new innovations from New Zealand based brand Icebreaker.
It’s surprising to me how many people still can’t believe wearing merino wool products in spring and summer is an option. But Icebreaker blazed the trail, showing us that, like the merino sheep in the mountains, their “climate controlled” coat of merino wool can work the same magic on human skin no matter what the weather brings.
The first thing that jumped out at me when viewing the Spring 2013 collection was the inclusion of woven shorts. They looked like a pair of cotton khakis. Made from two natural fibres - 70% merino, 30% organic cotton, for extra durability - the vista 9.5” inseam and Via 5” inseam shorts are as at home in the mountains as they are in the city. The Vista features an adjustable roll up cuff so you can choose the length, and a zip-secure thigh pocket for essentials. They’re ideal for travel because they regulate temperature, breathe to prevent overheating, resist odour naturally, pack light, are machine washable and dry in a flash.
Tops are offered in the lightest weight yet, with the Willow tank weighing in at 120 g/sq m. I can’t wait til it’s warm enough to try out my Willow Tank. It has twisted shoulder straps, giving it a fashionable edge which I think makes it more versatile. There are plenty of “running” tops and tanks in my wardrobe that are for just that. I would definitely wear this running but be just as likely to wear it with a skirt and sandals for a casual summer dinner out.
Today I’m hoping the Athena Scoop neck scored some points in a job interview. At 200 g/sq m, it’s very difficult to believe this piece is pure merino wool. I say that because the softness surpasses any Icebreaker piece I’ve owned (and there’s a LOT) in the past. It’s super classy, versatile and overall great travel piece. In a pinch, I wear these tops under my skiwear as a base layer when I’m doing some winter travel. As the fabric is naturally anti-microbial (ie. It does not smell foul after one wearing) I can wear a piece as part of a business outfit, then skiing the next day with confidence that I’m not smelly :)
So way to go Icebreaker! You always give me so much fuel. I could go on and on and on….great work.
30 person Backflip in St. Sauveur-CRAZY!!
If there’s one thing you can count on Canadians for, it’s doing crazy shit on skis.
INDOOR SKI & SNOWBOARD FACILITY
A facility like the one in this video just opened near me and I popped in for a quick tour. Has anyone tried indoor skiing or snowboarding using Maxxtracks? I think I’ll have to put the ski boots on and give it a try very soon.