Why we should all be talking ‘Best-seller materials’ and not ‘Best-seller products?’

I was asked yesterday what circular fashion production and RFID tagging had to do with better ‘best-seller’ product selection, less worst sellers, and therefore less waste and all the sustainable benefits of that.

The answer is nothing. RFID is an identification and data tool. The skill of designers & buyers, supported by predictive analytics, is responsible for best sellers.

Well actually, the answer is everything.

It does require us to make a big shift in our mind-sets about how brands, retailers, producers make money now and how they are more likely to make it in the future.

Sales & profit are now made quickly. Through the rapid dynamic of selling ‘best-seller products’…and excuse my parlance…‘to hell with the rest.’ Today’s product is king, and materials are a commodity for landfill. We view materials simply as something to make products with

What about tomorrow?

‘Making more profit from selling less products’ will be the stark reality for many brands, retailers, and producers.

If customer sentiment, and the cost-of-living don’t get you, then the costs of off-shore models, energy prices, and sustainability legislation certainly will.

Sales & profit will need to be made slowly. They will be made through the patient process of recycling & re-purposing raw materials to create several products, some poor and some best-sellers. Tomorrow raw materials will be king. We will view products as things to make from raw materials.

The good thing for designers, buyers, merchandisers, and raw materials is that the ‘raw materials’ get more than one chance to be best-seller products and to live for longer.

Lucky ‘best-seller products’ stay alive and are used for longer, rented, repaired, re-sold to have long and worthy lives.

Unlucky ‘poor-seller products’ can be de-constructed, and their raw materials used to make lucky ‘best-seller products’ the next time, or the time after that.

Potentially, all raw materials can become ‘best-seller products!’ They can remain in circulation.

The key to the success of this circular dream is the quality and the attributes of the raw materials we grow, we produce, we construct, and we buy.

Materials that will last for lifetimes, are versatile and flexible in how they can be used, the variety of products that can be made from them, are attractive, comfortable, desirable and can be totally recycled, refreshed, and regenerated.

These will be our ‘best-seller materials’ and they will be invested in by knowledgeable product designers and buyers. They will be invested in commercially just the once, and then re-invested in creatively, over-and-over again, season-after-season.

Brands, retailers, producers will grow sustainably rich on the profits of their investment in ‘best-seller materials’ not on the speculative gamble on elusive ‘best-seller products.’

That’s a safe bet, that we will all be the richer for taking.


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