Emily Lane, Bret Schnitker, Deborah Weinswig
October 25, 2022
Emily Lane 00:00
Welcome to Clothing Coulture, a fashion industry podcast at the intersection of technology and innovation. I'm Emily Lane.
Bret Schnitker 00:08
I'm Bret Schnitker. We speak with experts and disruptors who are moving the industry forward
Emily Lane 00:12
and discuss solutions to real industry challenges.
Bret Schnitker 00:15
Clothing Coulture is brought to you by Stars Design Group, a global design and production house with more than 30 years of experience.
Emily Lane 00:27
Welcome back to another episode of Clothing Coulture. Today we are coming to you live from New York City at the MasterCard tech hub.
Bret Schnitker 00:37
And today holy smoke, we've got someone here that has been ranked number one analyst by Institutional Investor 10 years in a row one of the number one top50 retail influencers was managing director for Li & Fung Think Tank and now founder and CEO of Coresight research, Deborah Weinswig is literally are tail fortune teller, and maybe sometimes a reversal of fortune forecaster. But
Emily Lane 01:04
Deborah Weinswig 01:06
Thank you. I'm so honored to be here today.
Emily Lane 01:08
So I love the name of your business Coresight. I feel like there's a little play on words with foresight. Can you tell us a little bit about Coresight and foresight?
Deborah Weinswig 01:18
Well, let me tell you about the name. So we're a research firm, obviously research and advisory. And, you know, it's kind of, let's just say, as many who are because it's like around the corner around the corner around the corner. Sothis idea that right, you are kind of looking ahead, but with data driven insights. And when we were, you know, come spinning out from Li & Fung, we wanted to better understand kind of how people remember names. And so people actually remember things with either a K or a hard C. So it's like, well, it's gotta have right that sound. And I said, you know, you want this idea that there's kind of a futuristic aspect or and insights. And so, you know, oftentimes when people introduce us, they'll be like, Oh, Deborah, she's our core insights. And I'm like, Who knew that? But actually, that's one of the like I said, we did a lot of research, even just kind of coming up with the name. And so as an organization, we really look at this intersection of what's at the consumer, and technology, how they're utilizing it today. What we can l earn from other geographies? And then what are the opportunities as we think about 23, 24, 25, especially as sustainability is becoming such not only is it right, being measured, and right, public companies have to report on it. But it's becoming increasingly important for the C suite and the consumer.
Emily Lane 02:34
Bret Schnitker 02:36
Deb, how do you navigate conversations today with retailers kind of just wiping their brow from all the craziness that's been happening, all of the pandemic fears, followed by inflation and recessionary, which, I think we just got an inflation report this morning, or it's maybe eased a little bit, all of these things compounded, you know, how do you navigate those conversations?
Deborah Weinswig 02:57
You know, I like to be very organized and structured. And, you know, you start to find that you're talking about similar themes. And putting those into a framework, we call it three by three, just to keep it simple, so that people can easily remember it. So this idea that there are three new things to sell, right. And that's why I actually think that I mean, as an investor, I'd be very long retail, which I may be the only person on the planet saying this. But the idea that you now have NFTs, you know, it's not every single retail NFT, retail consumer CPG NFT, every single one has been a success, right? And it's just a matter of how quickly it sold out. So NFT's, you're one. Secondly, you have data, right? Retailers have a lot of data as we're going into this cookie apocalypse, right, the data that they have on their consumers, and once again, anonymizing it and being able to, you know, kind of really sell that to whetherit's credit card companies, financial institutions, or whatnot, that's also another huge revenue driver. And what's even more interesting is this, what we all learned during the pandemic is the value of the digital shelf. And this idea that, you know, from a retail media perspective, so if somebody wants to get a place on your shelf, virtually right we've had in the past, it was like slotting fees for the brochures. But this is a different kind of slotting fee, and that I mean, I think Amazon really brought that to life in an amazing way. And so many of the retailers have, you know, filed suit. So that's what they can sell, and then how they can sell it. So you have the metaverse, web3,that's one angle and still, you know, kind of I was hit the earlier stages. Secondly, we also have live streaming once again, that has been you know, whether it's the ecosystem challenge the payments challenge sitting here MasterCard, I think that payments have been a challenge in terms of as we think about you know, kind of livestream blast is quick commerce. So this idea that right, you forgotten something in a city you can kind of, you know, whether it's Gopuff get to your Gorillas, any of these quick commerce companies. I mean, you've got, you know, Instacart DoorDash UberEATS. Let's not leave anybody out.
Emily Lane 04:53
It's kind of the impact of Amazon really to how we consume
Deborah Weinswig 04:56
It is I think, though that if you can get it in 30 minutes or less, that you start to think differently about how much you buy, it's very European right how much you buy for every day, none of us are walking to the fish market. While most of us aren't at least. But this idea that if I want a piece of fish that I can get tome in time for dinner, right, we start to bring less into our homes less. I mean, for a number that is just I find very interesting and concerning the same time 40% of food that's grown, ends up in landfill.
Emily Lane 05:28
Oh, my gosh,
Deborah Weinswig 05:30
and if right, if we could rectify that, we could feed the world two and a half times,
Emily Lane 05:34
oh, my goodness,
Deborah Weinswig 05:35
It goes back to right you bring I mean, think about, you know, the amount that you bring into the house, the amount that goes out, I mean, we started to we have, you know, we got probably oversharing, but we got guinea pigs as a way to like compost, you know, and so right, so they literally will eat anything on the fruit and vegetable side that right even that we don't, or parts that we wouldn't necessarily consider
Bret Schnitker 05:56
Guinea pigs that are on staff.
Deborah Weinswig 05:59
Gumbo. And so and then we started to be, you know, we've started to try and actually work very closely with the city of New York on composting. And it's, you know, everyone, I think you have to kind of figure out, because you can't do everything, and I think it can become very overwhelming. But if there's one angle, for me, it's on the food waste side, that I've really, you know, from a personal perspective, try to figure out what I can do to make a difference. And, you know, it's just, once again, it's just scratching the surface. But you know, if you do a little more each day, each week, each month, it will add up. And you'll see I mean, and the thing is, there's a profitability angle to that as well.
Emily Lane 06:35
You know, it's, as somebody who advises on, you know, what's next, what's going to work? We're talking a lot about all the various technologies that are out there. How do you know when a new technology comes to the table, this one' sgoing to have a big impact, versus some that are like fads that will come and go.
Deborah Weinswig 06:56
You know it's interesting. One thing that we've been trying to figure out for years has been sizing. But if you think about it, I'm not personally comfortable with even when I'm fully clothed, right, having somebody look at your measurements. And I feel like that's getting kind of a little close to homes, which is why companies like a True Fit, right? It's amazing. So if you were x and you know, this brand, and you were y and this brand, that has been tremendously successful, because people are like, I'm very comfortable with that. Yes. Right. So I think there's a comfort factor. I also think that when it was interesting, I felt that like loyalty. I mean, it kind of was like, you know, we have somebody on our team, actually, he's on our Global Advisory Team. And he used to run loyalty for Kroger. And I'm like, Yeah, that's interesting, and everything, but like, you know, we're not really seeing with the NFT space, right, and gamification, and I get rewarded for everything I do every drop of error that I you know, fried, whatever, the consumer now thinks very differently. So if you go to like, I mean, my favorite is like, you know, Bath and Bodyworks, this past week rolled out their, like, rewards program, are you on their website, and I'm like, I have to sign off because I've got, I'm gonna miss out on something. And this idea, though, it makes shopping fun, in a way, and it brings us all together, and I think community anything right now community driven. But I think that sometimes there's another technology that will ignite something that we thought might have been kind of, if you will, a bit more dormant. And you know, there are I want to I actually want to call out so the gentleman who runs real estate, investment banking at Barclays, we had breakfast recently. And he said, you know, if you bring me a few prop tech companies who all kind of do the same thing you said, one that we invest in, that will be the winner. And so he said, it's not necessarily that their tech is better. And he said, it's just the one that happens to be kind of at the right place, at the right time to get funding. And I actually think in some of the tech solutions, it's more mindshare, right? Where do people where can you tell a clean and clear story. So it's very easy to ingest. And that right, we're not going to go through 10 different iterations in the boardroom, right, you're gonna be able to come in and say, Hey, this is why we need to do this, right? I mean, I can tell you the loyalty card thing, right loyalty program, gamification, today, this is why we need to do it going into the holiday season. This is the lift it's going to take. And that is something right. If you start to see others doing it as well, it's a very easy, I would say, connecting the dots and enabling decisions to get made in a way that is not slicing the pie 12 different ways, because that's what I find is slowing down a lot of innovation right now.
Emily Lane 09:29
Yeah, you always have to have the right kind of funding, you have to have the spirit behind it. You know, that authenticity point that you're talking about being able to be concise with your message. All of these things are incredibly important. And then you also mentioned something we've been hearing a lot lately, that a lot of the startups we've been talking to you that I've seen some great success. They've said, you know, I've always been in the right place at the right time. So getting themselves in front of people that can make a difference are key. How do people who are new to adventure navigate that?
Deborah Weinswig 10:01
That's the $10 million question. You know, I think that mentorship is very important. And I think asking for help when you need it, and that there's so many people who want first of all, I'm a mentor it more accelerators than I should probably mention. And so, but I'm a faculty mentor at the ALCHEMIST on the West Coast. And I learned so much from talking to I mean, most cases are not even like an MVP, right? They've they've got kind of like a few scraps of paper. And it's fascinating and to be able to help them pivot, and then introduce them what I often do, I'll introduce them to retailers, you've asked me the same question on the other side who use them, like if there is a, you know, kind of a entrepreneur looking to solve a problem, and there's a retailer who needs that problem solved, and you can put them together to figure that out. I mean, that is just I mean, that's where sparks fly. And I find that to be rewarding. But also, I mean, it is I mean, there are ideas around I've had conversations recently around how to kind of, you know, display items in a way that's for the consumer, they understand what they're buying, and why they would want to buy it, and you know, anything to reduce the return rate. So going back to there's many different ways to look at sustainability. And a lot of it is around, you know, kind of images and the clarity of images. And you know, if I can see the item from right, a 360 perspective, that is right there. There are a few companies who are very few who are doing that right now. But I actually find that to be some of the most interesting, why didn't Why didn't we not already have it?
Bret Schnitker 11:32
In addition to transparency of sizing, you know, we're you know, every time something gets returned to a warehouse and ship back, you're, you're burning both, you know, profitability and fuel. And I think that that's one of our big challenges. You know, it seems like, everything gets thrown at us. Adversity breeds technology. So as people have these challenges, technology finds a way in different areas to fill those out.
Deborah Weinswig 11:55
So I'm gonna, I'm gonna give a plug for live streaming, which is, I still cannot mean, as much as I can kind of like connect the dots, why that hasn't worked here in the US. So right now, it's a $497 billion market and China's like, $20 billion here in the US. And we're only about 18 months behind in terms of when we started the return rate on items purchased in live streams by different technology providers and retailers, you've talked to ranges from 2% to 9%,versus in apparel, footwear accessories and industry average of about 40%
Bret Schnitker 12:25
20% to 40%, is the numbers that we've been seeing.
Deborah Weinswig 12:27
so you start to think about justice technology, I mean, it would pay itself back in kind of the blink of an eye, but there are from a lot of the projects we've worked on, too, because there are so many providers, it is a crowded space, and there isn't a clear message. And I think that's been very challenging for C suite executives to make a decision on which technology provider to utilize and you want to be in like a closed ecosystem, you want to be able to kind of restream onto your website, you know, how do you want the consumer what you want their experience to be, as a community build this, that and the other end that I have found to be, you know, that to me is one of the greatest opportunities as relates to sustainability. And I would say, you know, that is probably a 23, 24. When we see what I thought we'd see probably, especially in the lockdowns, right, I mean, phenomenal opportunity for this to work, it's just not as time.
Bret Schnitker 13:23
And we're seeing as we move it in the online space, you know, online purchasing is about 7% up this year in line with retail, it's about 7% up, it continues to trend. There's all these dynamic things that are happening, I wonder with, you know, and certainly that online space is getting more crowded and more challenging. You know, when that space becomes so full, and people are trying to figure out ways to have that voice, when you're speaking to retailers that have brick and mortar is there this hidden opportunity that exists as everyone's clamoring for this space. For more traditional, you know, you had mentioned kind of before the pandemic that pop ups are a big opportunity interacting, we're still kind of social people. I remember when years ago, someone approached me and said, Hey, I want you to invest in printing. And I was like, Are you kidding? Everything's going digital, I'm not going to bother. But today when we find like your day, loosed with junk mail and all this stuff online, and everyone's trying to figure out, you know who you are online and market to you, all of a sudden, what shows up in my mailbox, because there's no junk mail anymore, except for these beautiful curated catalogs that you can sit down quietly page three in the new order online. And I'm like holy smoke, I missed it. Printing didn't die. It just evolved. What do you see on the future space for brick and mortar?
Deborah Weinswig 14:40
I am starting to see companies who are there's one company who's doing it I'm sure there are many others but ghost retailing where it is actually a one to one in your physical store. And so right consumers basically kind of get into queue and they will then have kind of a customer service associate. So it's almost this democraisation if you will have kind of concierge services, and then but right, their intention to shop is there, right? That's why they're dialing in. Yeah. And so if you think of it, you know, kind of Nikes doing this American Eagle just to name a few. And if you start to think about right, if you're Nike, right, you want to really understand right? The shoe, okay, right, I've got like a wide toe box, I've got like a narrow heel, I've got, right, these are the things that if you can get the right fit, and then you you started to develop a relationship with this person, that that's a whole different relationship with the retailer, but you start to cut down and you're doing from the physical store, you're also then creating this theater in the store, and you can kind of pull in other product. And you'll be seen from an American Eagle perspective, right is like, the person is like, Okay, I want those jeans or like, now I need a sweater. They never even come in to but it. And that, I think, is where somehow, I mean, I'm very big on physical retail. And, you know, what we've seen in other geographies is this idea that right, like, for different shopping festivals and whatnot, right? It's all about the physical, and you'll literally like walk around and kind of catch, you know, kind of logos, because like Pokemon go in a way, you're actually creating things that have a real value, right? dollar value. And to make this look at what like American dream to do with, you know, kind of Mr. Beast, I mean, who knew people eat that many burgers, right? I think that there are these pockets of innovation and investment. And I feel like there's, you know, we're on the precipice of some really interesting physical retail innovation, and it's not going to cost a lot.
Emily Lane 16:30
You know, so interesting, I'm hearing you talk about our future in this industry. And so much of what you're talking about is physical. Yet, as an analyst, I always think, you know, analysts are poring over numbers left and right, they're looking at data points, it sounds to me like you kind of do a little bit of both. It's like looking at how a consumer behaves in their environment, what tools are going to elevate their experience and help build more loyalty? Well, maybe poring over some numbers.
Deborah Weinswig 16:58
I mean, for us, everything always starts with the numbers. And so that's where I've always started, but then you have to go out, I have to prove it to myself, right? Because if I'm going to stand for something, or if I believe in something, I have to know that it's actually going to work. And right, you can start to see right from different retailers, when they kind of implement some of these technology solutions, how changes in numbers. And that is right, and you listen to earnings calls. And I mean, yeah, that's what I will tell you. That is actually why I've loved this industry for such a long time, is because a company can tell you that they're going to do something and I can put a great acronym around it. And then I can go visit a dozen stores and take photos of all of them. And I see shadow stores. They don't do that anymore. But I'm like, No, you're that's not even. So you may be telling, right, your store managers, this is important, maybe it is not easy for them to understand it's not being implemented. And so somewhere along the way, something is breaking down. And that I think is where it gets really interesting. And then there's other cases, and you'll start to see pockets of innovation where retailers have right given their store managers quite a bit of leeway. And you start to go in different stores and you see very different product assortments and very different ways that they're approaching things. And that to me also says something about how the retailer brand trusts their staff as well, and how they may have less turnover and all kinds of other which is so key right now.
Bret Schnitker 18:16
Yeah, that's a huge issue today, having enough staff, I find qualified staff,
Deborah Weinswig 18:21
this is actually one of the most challenging ones with what we're seeing in terms of like loss prevention right now. And with organized crime or retail, and the safety of store employees. This is like returns, people don't really want to talk about it. But I think
Emily Lane 18:36
Essential thing to talk about
Deborah Weinswig 18:38
I think it's I'm very involved in the Loss Prevention Research Center down in Florida. And I think that this is something I mean, that is incredibly important to bring to the forefront. If you think about it, right? This is what's so interesting. Nobody owns loss prevention. Nobody owns returns,
Emily Lane 18:55
oh my goodness, right? It's a core part of profitability of a business, that impact
Deborah Weinswig 19:01
And that goes to this. So this is why I'm so incredibly positive on the longer term. And it could be six months, 12 months, but of retail, because if you can solve these two things, which at the end of the day, yes, they are problems, there are technology solutions, we need to figure out a way to do it that everyone is comfortable. But there's huge margin in dollars for that can be driven to the bottom line, even if your top line just continues to grow at that 7% rate is
Bret Schnitker 19:27
Emily Lane 19:28
So I see solving issues of theft and returns really helping to improve the status of the retail world. I'm curious looking at sometimes the time it takes for global issues to actually deliver their full impact on retail you know, we had the pandemic we have floods of cotton in Pakistan we have you know, regions being shut down for for export things of that nature. Sometimes retailers don't feel that impact initially for a year 18 months? And so how, how would you advise retailers to get ahead of some of these problems to, you know, keep things going.
Deborah Weinswig 20:14
So, you know, coming from a supply chain background, this is I have to say, I'm surprised that we're still talking about supply chain to be quite honest. But I think that we, I mean, I'm like, you know, nothing like a good pandemic, everyone kind of like takes a step back, looks at like, their whole control tower, whatever you want to call it, I don't care, right, whatever technology solution provider you're using, but we're, I feel, in many cases, the exact same place that we were in like March of 20. And that it really has not changed that much as relates to how retail thinks about it. And at the same time, if you think about as people were planning for 22, they're like, Ah, look at how great you know, yoga pants were and furniture, and they like literally apply that same exact growth rate for 22. And look at how much big bulky furniture we have. And yoga pants. I mean, there are warehouses event, I won't name retailers that are like, literally to the ceiling. And so I think that we, I mean, they're technology solutions that do this, but we need to think about how we measure people, right? Because going back to if we don't measure them, we only measure them on the buy and not on the return. That's right. We're mixing metaphors, if you will. And so I think that we need better measurement and better incentives. I mean, I used for investment banking, it was a complete meritocracy, I guarantee you, if you treated these buyers, right, in the same way that we were treated as Wall Street analysts, right, you know, your call, I don't make you call, right. I mean, they're going long or short on a collar on a style on a fabric, right? I think that you would have I mean, I think of great talent in the industry, I just think that they would think about their job in a different way. And I think we might be able to get them better compensated and keep them longer and the roles that they're in.
Bret Schnitker 21:49
But I think too, there needs to be an education, I'm kind of shocked being on the phone with some of these folks that all of these global events are happening, they all do end up piling up and have these conversations about, well, we just want to exit China, we want to go to Central America, and that's going to solve everything. And we want real real small quantities. We want them to be really intricately made. And I'm like, Have you been to Central America and 80% of our productions coming out of China, you're not going to fit it in Central America. And every this conversation happens over and over and over again. And I'm just where is the education for the retailer, because I believe there's going to be a pretty stark awakening, you have to have inventory. You've you know, if you're going to fuel, you know what's happening today. And I think I think there's a lot of dynamics at play today that are gonna continue to impact us.
Deborah Weinswig 22:38
That is probably one of the best questions I've had asked because when we joined Li& Fung to run their think tank, the idea was that we would help you know kind of pull together retail data help you know, kind of the folks that Li& Fung better understand the retail world and then help the retailers really just kind of, I would say connect dots. We our remit was never really helping, you know, folks understand, because I think it was just assumed that's maybe they just fix it. Or assume that right? Like it's, you know, of course they have achieved, you know, because supply chain officer or chief sustainability officer. Right. They know. Yeah, but I don't know, it was something we had during the pandemic, we sunset it, not just just because we've all kind of run in other directions. We had a supply chain Council, and it was all chief supply chain officers for many of the big retailers. And it was fascinating. I mean, I have to say just some of the questions that were asked the topics of conversation where they flowed, I will tell you the amount of people I know I can count on two hands who moved out of China into Vietnam and Cambodia and Bangladesh and they've all moved back to China.
Bret Schnitker 23:41
Demand exceeded supply they overbooked like airlines do. Yeah, I mean, you know, I keep talking with people about the importance of a portfolio, you always relate that back to stock, you know, people want to just go down on one single stock, if you will. And I think today the you know, diversification of the portfolio, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each country, and diversifying accordingly is really important, but they just want to fly from one to another simplification, if you will. And I think it's, I think it's a dangerous conversation today.
Deborah Weinswig 24:10
It goes back to you. I mean, I always felt that, you know, maybe they could have us help with marketing. But I mean, with Li & Fung. I mean, right? They really provided the ability you have people who are supply chain experts. Yeah, you have retail or not, right? That is I don't expect you to be a supply chain expert, I expect you to be an expert in how you visually merchandise your stores. And right the kind of fit should be something that is like right up there at the top. Um, and I don't know, and so to just start to think about where you want to, if you will outsource some of these areas because you're not going to be great at everything. No, and I think that so it was cutting costs I understand you want to quote unquote, cut out the middleman, which I hate those words, but that is what people said to me. And I just think that like why not work with I mean, or work together? I mean, speak to your other retailers about Right, where they're saying in terms of what you cannot source out of one country, it doesn't work.
Bret Schnitker 25:03
And the middleman conversation always makes me laugh. Because if they understand how many hands go into making a product, 18, 30 different hands from the beginning to the end, it's just, you know, our supply chain is pretty complicated.
Deborah Weinswig 25:17
It's, you know, it's interesting, we sit in New York with Lectra. And so they basically can make product from end to end. So from turning fit from dyeing the fabric, cutting it and sewing it on about two hours. And it's it's fascinating, you know, kind of as you start to sit, yeah, I mean, you know, on a daily basis, when I'm in the office, and you think about what could be those are smaller, they could certainly run the, the equipment 24/7 and pop out a lot more than they are right now. And I've actually talked to different retailers. I said, like, why would we try something? Right? I mean, you think about the facts. This is like my dream. Is that right? Someone is live streaming? And it's like, okay, I want denim. I want you know, flowers right above my right knee. And you know, I want to be on my like, left thigh. Okay, done. Right. So we're now putting that into production, right? They've got my size that I give them my measurements. And why can't we edit the garment that's literally been made just for me. I'm going to love that and treasure that for you certainly much longer than anything that I'm buying online or in, you know, in a physical box. And I just, I
Bret Schnitker 26:29
It can be real in the digital world, right? Today, that's for sure. Real? Well, that's, I mean, that's an amazing, can
Deborah Weinswig 26:36
You bring up something very interesting in terms of right, this whole idea? I mean, nobody's running around the metaverse naked. And as we're seeing some
Bret Schnitker 26:44
Some are literally running around.
Deborah Weinswig 26:47
I think is consumers it gives them I mean, clothing allows us to express who we are, especially to others. And in the metaverse, right you can have I mean, you're having a good day, maybe you have on like a bright yellow shirt, you're having a lousy day, maybe you have on you know, kind of all black or something like that. But this idea that you can be whoever you want to be. I think sometimes when people kind of get back into the physical world, right, there is a bit of a disconnect
Bret Schnitker 27:11
There is and that that worlds pretty real to them. And I think we're seeing that with the rise of all this digitalization. I remember kind of interviewing Valentin Karabanov out of Israel is one of the early pioneers for 3d design. And, you know, you talk about the sustainability issue is a whole other conversation. But he always likes to say pixels don't fill a landfill. And so you know, the digitalization and online, you know, like you talk about personalization, and gamification of your own avatar is a very interesting world that we live.
Emily Lane 27:13
I look forward to the day where we can actually take that outfit out of the metaverse into physical universe
Bret Schnitker 27:48
3d print, yeah, three, three, or something like that. Wow.
Emily Lane 27:51
So we've talked about a variety of technologies that metaverse you know, there's AI, there's programs for fit, there's live streaming, are there any other kind of exciting technologies on the horizon that you think are gonna just transform things?
Deborah Weinswig 28:04
So I don't know. I mean, I look at it as transformative. But how do we help employees figure out how to do more of what they love, and reward them for that, and do that in real time, and then also provide instruction along the way, and oh, my gosh, I probably worked on this project, like eight years ago, and we were trying to figure out, I don't know, I've always been like, I very much my parents did give me gold stars. So maybe there was just like too much of that in my childhood. So I do think that way, and I was like, what if somebody's at Starbucks, and they could do like a two minute tutorial, right? And they get maybe a half a star, okay. And then they're like, waiting, right? And so that you start to encourage people to to better themselves, but you are rewarding them. And so there ends up being this amazing virtuous cycle where maybe in the organization, right,
Bret Schnitker 28:52
Thats why you have guinea pigs.
Deborah Weinswig 28:56
I'mtelling you, it is it is fascinating to, to see as you you know, the moretreats that you bring. Occasionally you go to with a treat. I mean, it is Imean, hey, I like to look at things, and there are things around you that canchange the way that you think, you know, almost instantaneously. I mean, onething I want to ask, can I ask you guys a question? Is that a question? Sure.All right. So we had a retailer come to us and they they're curious in terms ofhow can they get Wall Street analyst to look differently at sustainability?Because if you're making less product in less doors, right as analysts, right,we measure you on Comm sales and you know, kind of the the sales from theexists the current year, how can we help communicate Wall Street why this is abetter model and more profitable model, but what numbers do they use? I mean,once again, as being a numbers driven person, how do they measure it?
Bret Schnitker 29:52
Yeah, Iguess that would be a good question. I know that people have tried to showrealistically that the entire supply chain would benefit by increasing thequality, therefore the costs are increased, therefore, the retails areincreased the whole philosophy of the shift of the American consumer disposablephilosophy to the more European investment philosophy in apparel. And I thinkthat there's some good reasoning behind that sustainability today, you know,based upon the very nature itself is more expensive, it's almost elitist, whichis a shame. And that all works fine until you start to think about two largecountries, India and China that are kind of moving into the whole fast fashionkind of game, they make us look like pikers, right middle class that served hertotal available market and India's 285 million with a lot of disposable income,China's probably similar to the same thing. So I think that's a huge challenge.I mean, I think that that when we're talking about the growth ofsustainability, how we make that affordable, the conversation really must startwith the 10 major polyester suppliers in the world, and how do we make thatmore affordable? Today, it's this kind of elite clubs mentality aboutsustainability. And we talked about it the other night, it is a fraction, only13% of it is available in our market into something sustainable. So
Emily Lane 31:20
So Deborah, perhaps it's taking the model you were just talking about, give them a star for every piece of information they learn, because truly this topic requires a lot of education.
Bret Schnitker 31:31
I think our youth thinks you turn on the light switch, and you're going to be sustainable. And it's a huge, dynamic shift in our industry, that's going to take a lot of conscious effort.
Deborah Weinswig 31:41
Yeah, I mean, it's literally the only thing that I've thought about because right, we want to get them like you said, I like the star analysis. I'm like, I'm wonder if there's a way that we can measure r&d for sustainability and have that right as kind of like a line item, because if investors then can start to at least see a number, you know, grow over time, it's
Bret Schnitker 32:00
Have to make it more affordable. We really do everyone talk sustainability. And when the rubber meets the road, there needs to be some intentionality in the conversation about the large producers in polyester. It's 55. Now, with cotton issues, maybe 65% of our overall production in apparel is going to be in synthetics. So it's going to be I think it needs to be a really intentional conversation.
Emily Lane 32:25
Well, Deborah, I know we could just talk all day there's so much we could talk about but I definitely want to thank you for joining us and I feel like there's gonna be many more conversations to come. We'll definitely stay in touch and
Bret Schnitker 32:38
If we can keep up with her.
Emily Lane 32:42
Follow her on LinkedIn by the way. Oh, my goodness, you're gonna find some amazing
Bret Schnitker 32:46
Try to follow her on LinkedIn. Where is she now?
Emily Lane 32:53
Thank you again for joining us. Make sure to subscribe to stay apprised of upcoming episodes of Clothing Coulture.
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