Our first FashMash Focus roundtable to kick-off the year explored the opportunities and challenges for small businesses in 2022.
After the uncertainty of the pandemic, 2022 is a time of action and ambition for many in the fashion industry.
For our first FashMash Focus of the year, we were delighted to be joined by the founders of COCOON, Cheeky Cherub, Kimaï, Riley Studio and Whering for an online roundtable to discuss prospects for the months ahead.
In a new format, we're going to be sharing some highlights and further analysis. Let’s get started…
FULL THROTTLE ACTION
The agility of small businesses has accounted for an overall picture of success for many of our members over the pandemic. Rapid response to hurdles, an ability to take time to lay foundations and a chance to scale a dedicated, empathetic community who sought out founder-led brands over lockdown. But those positives are countered by the fact that much was delayed - whether production or plans. Now is a year to scale, embrace risk and for many, seek investment.
The biggest challenge for a founder? Infrastructure, KPIs and onboarding the team to the company's culture. Without a dedicated HR team, this can be a drain on the founder's time but a worthwhile one. And despite many small businesses' focus on hiring lower-salaried junior staff, there's an argument for the efficiency and long-term benefits of senior hires.
GROWTH VS SUSTAINABILITY
Where is the balance between profit and planet? It's an ongoing question, particularly now that almost all new businesses are founded with ethical goals and ethoses. Even with circular business models, traditional definitions of success for investors are profit and growth, which can be at odds with the founder’s long-term vision and the brand's passionate Get Z community. Can it ever come down to more than just numbers? It's a hard and costly argument for small businesses to argue so where can solutions and a new vision come from? The established brands? Most of all, how do we quantify the benefits of sustainability initiatives?
It’s too big a subject for a single post alone, so we bring you some further reading, recommended by our guest Jessica Warch, Co-Founder & CEO at Kimaï:
Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take by Paul Polman and Andrew Winston
This year, we're pivoting our #FashMashHope campaign into one of action. What's the one collective action we should take to improve the industry this year? For this group, it comes down to "small steps rather than all or nothing" and "standardised, transparent regulation that can negate greenwashing". The red thread through all discussion is that sustainability isn't just a "niche project" but as core to the business as cash flow.
FashMash Focus is sponsored by Klaviyo.