Embracing Transparency and Authenticity in Your Fashion Business is the Key to Performance
While transparency as a concept is often most visible in the realm of social responsibility and compliance, its real benefit is when it is seen as a business priority.
Transparency is about being open with information. It is about the ability of the receiver to have full access to the information she wants, not just the information the sender is willing to provide. To be transparent embodies honesty and being willing to share information- even when it is uncomfortable to do so.
The most powerful impact is when an apparel company is confident enough in its processor operations to bring consumers in to see exactly how things are done. It is the ultimate in show and tell. But once a fashion company is transparent, is it authentic? Authenticity is the quality of being genuine and ultimately of being trusted. Transparency gets the fashion label attention; authenticity allows a label’s message to be believable, heard and trusted.
So why are transparency and authenticity important to a business?
- It attracts employees with integrity and boosts employee pride. In an organization where there is alignment between its standards and its values, there is no fear in raising or disclosing difficult issues.
- Once trust is established, your target market will support and remember the brand.
- It allows customers to feel they are part of the business process and establishes a connection and develops a relationship. Encourages open communication and feedback.
- A deeper understanding of the process and product creates added value and appreciation for the clothing brand. Creating added value is more profitable than discounting to sell a product.
- It improves customer service. By giving customers the information you have, bad or good, you can keep them in the loop. Publishing information about the realities of your situation reduces the number of calls, saving your service employees’ time and energy for more in-depth inquiries.
Implementing transparency can be done in numerous ways, such as videography. As a commitment to bringing transparency to overseas garment manufacturing, Source My Garment will be producing a video campaign to document working conditions in overseas facilities. This will provide visibility and support to the many overseas factories that offer humane and ethical working environments, contrary to the popular myth that all overseas factories are sweatshops. Profiles, interviews, and videos will be set up on Source My Garment’s blog to showcase the individuality of every factory.
Dee Cokar is the founder of Source My Garment Consulting, which offers sustainable and ethically responsible garment manufacturing solutions. SMG acts as a bridge between North American designers and overseas manufacturers, offering manufacturing consultations, collaborations, sourcing and mentoring.
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How are you embracing transparency in your business?