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Sustainable and Ethical Fashion: Market Overview and Latest Trends

May
20, 2021

4 min read

This story originally appeared on ValueWalk

The sustainable and ethical fashion market is growing at a rapid clip despite the pandemic as shoppers turn to online channels to find clothing, they wouldn’t be able to find in a brick-and-mortar store. The growth is expected to continue despite the high costs associated with ethical fashion.

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The ethical clothing market is growing
Data from ResearchAndMarkets tracks the growth rate between 2019 and 2021 and expected growth rates through 2030. The global ethical fashion market was worth almost $6.3 billion in 2019 after a compound annual growth rate of 8.7% since 2015.
The firm expects the market to grow from $6.3 billion in 2019 to $8.2 billion in 2023, marking a compound annual growth rate of 6.8%. Then between 2023 and 2035, ResearchAndMarkets expects a compound annual growth rate of 9.1%, bringing the market up to $9.8 billion. Between 2025 and 2030, the firm predicts a growth rate of 9.1% again, reaching a total of $15.2 billion.
Experts say the growth is primarily due to growing awareness about sustainable and ethical clothing. The ethical clothing market consists of sales of clothing by entities primarily engaged in designing, producing, selling, and purchasing ethical apparel.
Ethical fashion includes designing and manufacturing clothing while caring for the people and communities involved in the process. It is also sustainable, which means it looks to improve the social and environmental impacts of fashion by working to improve laborers’ working conditions and reduce the impact on the environment.
What’s driving the growth?
According to ResearchAndMarkets, growth in emerging markets and rising foreign direct investments have been driving the growth in the ethical clothing market. However, it didn’t grow as much as possible due to the high costs associated with ethical fashion.

Looking into the future, growing awareness, social media, e-commerce growth and government initiatives are likely to drive the market. However, a reduction in free trade, impacts from COVID-19 and lack of standardization could restrain the ethical clothing market.
The creative director Farah Naz from FARAH NAZ New York, an ethical fashion brand, cited online shopping as the one main contributor to growth in their business over the last year or so. The pandemic has accelerated online shopping, driving more consumers to ethical clothing choices not available in brick-and-mortar stores.
“Online shopping is increasing, and consumers are more interested in online shopping rather than going back to traditional brick-and-mortar stores after the pandemic,” they said.
They added that the pandemic offered an excellent opportunity for online fashion brands and retailers to flourish.
More details on the ethical fashion market
The market is segmented according to product into organic, man-made, recycled, and natural. The man-made segment was the largest part of the ethical fashion market, accounting for more than half of the total market in 2019. ResearchAndMarkets expects the organic segment to become the fastest-growing segment of the market going forward with a compound annual growth rate of 16.2%.
Experts also divide the ethical fashion market into type based on fair trade, animal cruelty-free, eco-friendly, and charitable brands. The animal cruelty-free segment was the largest division with more than 40% of the market in 2019. Looking ahead, eco-friendly products are expected to grow the fastest, with a compound annual growth rate of 11.6%.
There is also a third way the ethical fashion market can be divided, which is by end-user based on women, men, and children. The women’s segment was the largest division, with more than half of the total market in 2019. However, looking ahead, the men’s segment is expected to be the fastest growing with a compound annual growth rate of 10.2%.
The ethical fashion market is extremely fragmented, with a large number of small players in the market. Some major players include Reformation, Tentree, Everlane, Alternative Apparel, which includes Hanes Brands, Eileen Fisher, and H&M Conscious;  All of the above points to room for ambitious new competitors looking to enter the space.

Visionaries Vs. Scientists In Startups

A few decades ago, when tech startups were a brand new thing, the success stories of the first wave of tech giants were mostly attributed to the genius of the founder(s). It’s not difficult to see why—companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google were changing the world at an unseen pace, so it definitely seemed that their founders and leaders had prophetic abilities.

These impressions were solidified by stories like Apple, who ousted Steve Jobs from the company in 1985. After more than a decade of troubles and middling success, the company decided to re-hire him as a CEO in 2000. Since his return to the helm, Apple managed to grow more than 200 times (from a $3B market cap to more than $620B a few months after his death).
Amazingly, if you believe that Jobs was the main reason for the company’s growth, then it would have been a sound financial decision for his board of directors to offer him a sizeable remuneration in order to get him back as CEO (when he returned, he did it for a salary of $1).

Because of stories like these, it’s not a surprise that a lot of investors are searching for charismatic, strong-handed, visionary leaders to place their bet on. Of course, cases like WeWork and Theranos display that putting too much faith in charismatic leaders without carefully investigating the underlying objective economic reality is a risky move by investors.

More importantly, “be a disruptive visionary” is not a piece of particularly useful advice to give to an aspiring startup founder. In fact, Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, seemed to mimic Steve Jobs (down to the black turtlenecks). Yet, while this helped her convince a lot of big investors to put their trust in her, it didn’t help her disrupt the healthcare industry and to create a real, profitable business.

To help aspiring founders succeed, you have to give advice that is much more actionable and that helps them understand what works in practice and what doesn’t.
Because of this, if you search under the glamor and bright lights of the startup world which is reported by the business media, you’ll find that the startup community has slowly and steadily moved away from the search for the charismatic visionary leader, and towards a scientific process which maximizes the chances of success of an innovative venture. This is reflected in popular books like The Lean Startup and a wealth of online resources and startup guides which focus on what you should do, rather than who you should be.
This scientific process boils down to using the feedback that you receive from the real world (from your customers, rather than from the press or even your investors) in order to discard bad ideas and to invest time, effort, and resources in good ideas which find the elusive product-market fit.
That said, even though you are more likely to find real, sustainable success by employing a rational, scientific process of idea and product validation, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of how you are perceived. The media, the wide public, and even most investors and potential partners wouldn’t have the patience to delve deep into the minute truths found by your validation experiments. They wouldn’t even care about your efforts if there isn’t a good story clearly visible.
The reality is that people care about an ambitious vision and a good narrative even though they tend to be deceptive. So, when talking to outsiders, it pays dividends to present them with the familiar optics of a confident startup founder with big ideas. For good or for bad, confidently selling the economic potential and social impact of your venture is part of the startup game. That said, when you are making plans and decisions, make sure not to buy too much into your own hype and to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground.

The importance of recruiting in early-stage startups

May
19, 2021

6 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As a serial entrepreneur, I have had to start the recruitment process for a startup many times. It is never an easy process, because once you have created the concept and you know what you want to do, you even already have some clients, you know that you will need talent to join your vision of the company, but in many cases you are still selling air, or a project in a PowerPoint. How do you convince someone to join your adventure? Especially when you have a limited budget and need to manage costs. You must be creative with the recruitment strategy and to find good candidates, since the success or failure of your venture will undoubtedly depend on this first team . It is very important to remember that the initial talent that is hired for a startup helps define the culture of the company for the coming years, so it is vital to prioritize a diverse group of candidates with the right skills but above all the attitude you are looking for. your business. Here I propose recruitment solutions for startups that can also help you recruit for the business you are starting. 1. Understand the requirements for hiring employees It is a good idea to make sure you are familiar with employment laws as well as employment discrimination laws. Hiring employees for a business can leave you exposed to new risks such as labor disputes, the need to terminate contracts and pay settlements, as well as social security issues. It is very important to be aware of this type of notions to be able to offer what the law indicates in addition to being competitive in the market. 2. Learn to recruit the best talent The first step in hiring your first employee is knowing where to find them. As a startup, you may not have the resources or brand recognition that more established companies have, but you don’t need to rely on traditional job boards to recruit top talent. You can find potential employees through referrals from friends and colleagues, using social media, or working with recruiters. It is also important to know what type of expertise is needed for each position. Obviously, the more senior positions, where you need people with more experience is where you have to work more to convince people that working for you is a good opportunity, maybe for them you can think of some flexible work plans or think about offering them within of the compensation package a component of shares in the company. The latter will also help you align interests. Another interesting source of talent for startups is what is called “early talent” or “early talent”. Who is the early talent? Early talent simply means those with less than three years of work experience. This group is generally made up of college graduates or recent graduates, and tends to occupy general or technical entry-level positions. This generation of early hires is primarily made up of Gen Z , those born after 1996, who are tech-savvy, entrepreneurial, and true digital natives. 3. Provide a work environment that is friendly to these early talents. When you hire your management people who must be people with previous experience, make sure they are people who know how to lead and collaborate with people from the new generations, millennials and Generation Z. The set of good leadership, plus early talents who are digital natives, is ideal as early talents know how to adopt new technologies more quickly, are open to change, and have no preconceptions about how “things should be done.” Hiring early talent is mutually rewarding: Young professionals develop their careers and increase their skills, while companies benefit from their work. Although these benefits also come with certain commitments, these new generations cannot be expected to want an 8 to 5 job, where they have to do the “famous butt hours” to reach their goals. So you have to design growth plans for these ambitious kids, in addition to keeping them with constant challenges, offering flexible hours more based on goals than on schedules. 4. Innovate in the interview process The interview is a fundamental step when hiring for startups. Don’t just take a traditional interview and ask them questions. Follow some of the best interviewing practices to make informed decisions and find candidates who fit your culture. You can ask candidates to complete a task – a good way to check candidates’ experience is by assigning them a task. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it is a way to make sure they have the necessary skills for the job. Candidate Background Check: When you screen candidates for a position and conduct a background check, you verify the information on their application. Checking references: You can learn more about your candidate’s work ethic and qualifications by checking references. 5. Create a unique onboarding process that makes them feel like part of the team You’ve posted a job description, interviewed candidates, made an offer, and now you have your first employee. The next step is onboarding the newest member of the team. A successful onboarding process is important for long-term growth, cultural fit, and impact on employees. Having details when they enter, a good explanation of what they are expected to achieve in the position they occupy is basic. But also that they know the rest of the team. All these steps are essential to create a team that will grow your business. Remember that a startup cannot hire too many people so each position is key. This will really be the way to get your company off the ground.