Circle Economy, an impact-driven organization, is offering a free online guide that teaches apparel brands how to start a rental business or resale company in less than a year.
The Circular Toolbox, which launches April 1, will guide brands of any size through a five-step process to circular innovation. This includes getting approval from the top, putting together a team and then piloting a new idea off the ground.
This toolbox was created as part of the Switching Gear initiative, a two-year initiative spearheaded by Circle Economy and partially funded by The C&A Foundation. It aims to accelerate the adoption of circular business models within the apparel industry.
In 2019, the project was launched in Amsterdam. Four brands, Asket, Lindex and ETP were supported in designing and launching a rental or retail pilot.
The toolbox, which will soon be released, was tested and proven useful during the project. It includes resources such as workshop sheets, research tools, facilitator’s guides and a podcast with participating brands.
It comes as demand for second-hand fashion and other circular models continues to grow, driven in particular by a younger and more environmentally-conscious consumer.
It’s not enough to use sustainable materials
Helene Smits from Circle Economy, associate for circle textiles, stated that the fashion industry’s efforts to reduce their environmental footprints have been predominated by a focus upon sustainable materials. This is an important driver of impact reduction. However, it is becoming obvious that a shift to sustainable materials is not enough.
She said, “Increasing the use of our garments can be one of the best ways to reduce the impact of the clothing sector. Subscription, rental, and resale models promise to achieve this: maximise the life and active use of garments as well as provide ways to decouple growth and resource use.”
Stockmann Group’s Swedish fashion chain Lindex took part in Switching Gear. In 2020, Lindex developed a resale model. Annette Tenstam is Lindex’s strategy leader for circularity, environmental sustainability and innovation. She stated that Lindex is exploring circular business models as part of its transformation. We received support in developing a new model and in building knowledge within our organization.
Tenstam said that the methods and tools used during the project are something we will continue to use in any future circular business models. This is why I highly recommend the Circular Toolbox for anyone who is interested in renting or resale model business models.