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A lot has changed for Reformation since its 2009 Los Angeles launch, but one thing that has remained constant is founder Yael Aflalo’s dedication to sustainability. After nine years of navigating the many hurdles of creating sustainable fashion, Aflalo has got it down to a formula.
“We’ve really simplified our approach to sustainability to make it understandable, both internally for people at our company and for potential vendors that would be manufacturing for us.”
From the fabrics used in products to the employees in the manufacturing plants, Aflalo has set high standards for her brand and is working to ensure they’re met. “We know what we want, and we just need to find people who can do it.”
In this week’s episode of the Glossy Podcast, Aflalo discussed what investment is needed to be a sustainable brand, why Reformation’s retail experience is unique and why she doesn’t use data to manipulate customers. Below are excerpts from the conversation, edited for clarity.
Reformation’s retail revamp
“For a long time, it made sense for us to open more stores, but I didn’t want to do it because I didn’t love our store experience, and I didn’t want more of them. I didn’t feel that the store experience represented the brand in a good way. So I thought about how we could leverage technology to make a store experience that makes sense. And we built a clothing store that is, what I think, the best of both an e-commerce site and a retail experience.”
Product first, data second
“We’re all using customer data to manipulate the customer into buying our products. We know that if we send her a newsletter at 6 a.m. versus 7 a.m., she’s 12 percent more likely to convert. We do that stuff, obviously, but not to that great of an extent, because we really focus on what our customer is buying, what is she looking at, what is she trying on, what does she like about this — and figuring out, ‘Hey, these sets of items are selling really well, but why?’ It’s because she wants to wear a bra. Or because she really likes a certain length. It’s all about picking that out and creating products that are tailored toward consumer appetite.”
Traceability versus transparency
“I hate the word ‘transparent’ because it’s kind of a buzzword. Sometimes it doesn’t mean anything; it’s so loaded right now because so many people use it, and it’s sort of manipulative. We like to use the word traceable, or traceability, because a lot of people say they’re transparent, but what does that mean? But I think traceability says, ‘Here are the facts, and here’s everything to support what we’re saying.'”