Deadstock is a massive problem as stated last week. So we asked what happens to Papu Design’s, Uhana Design’s and NOUKI’s deadstock – what do they do with their collection’s leftovers? Or is there any leftover and how’s that possible?
All three brands emphasize that the key element for not having products around the stock is that they do not see their products as only to be used on a specific season. Many of the products continue from a collection to the next and are described as classic-products. In other words, the pieces are never out of season as they are designed from quality materials and to last time.
”We also order products reasonably, and therefore, no big surplus stock is being formed so far”, Mira Vanttaja from Uhana Design summarizes.
Sometimes it is, however, hard to predict what products become the most popular ones. So another way to put a stop to fabric kilos is the pre-ordering concept, which all three brands have used. In pre-sale only the products that consumers and retailers order are manufactured and so, the demand meets the offer. Pre-sale supports the ideology of slow fashion since the shopping decision is made with consideration. It also helps the producer to create products and collection that are wanted by customers.
Nevertheless, NOUKI’s founders Anna Reilin and Saara Naskali have noticed that the challenge in pre-sales is to get the customer excited about the new way to shop. It is challenging to sell only the image of the final product and something that the customer gets after few months of the buying decision.
The founders of NOUKI have also developed a concept called Design Your Own. In this concept, the customer has the opportunity to influence the product’s appearance, for example, the length of the hem.
But always, there are pieces of collections that are not sold, for example, one of each size. And at the same time as the company grows, the production volume also grows, which means that the surplus will inevitably increase. So far all three brands have been able to sell the final ones, samples, protos and photoshoot products through pop-up’s and ’friend’s sales’. In those, many final pieces and also fabrics found their owners.
Papu’s CEO Jussi Kurkela mentions that they have had an outlet-store online twice, which works like a pop-up, but only online. Also, they have co-operated with Emmy and have been asked to join flash sale sites who want specifically surplus stocks to sell. NOUKI has also participated in such events as Helsinki Design Market and Fashion stock sales, which the founders find a viable way to sell the last pieces of their collections. Uhana’s Mira brings up that they have also thought about charitable donations as one way to place the last pieces.
In no case Papu, NOUKI or Uhana would burn high-quality clothes or throw them into the garbage bin.
In addition to clothes, Papu’s Jussi mentions that fabrics are surplus as well. By surplus fabrics, he means all the materials that are not used in production. If the production place orders too much of fabric for 100 pair of pants, for instance, it is their surplus material. To stop the fabrics being waste, Papu had a solution.
”We made a limited edition of Patch leggings from our surplus fabrics. This way we stopped the materials to end up being wasted,” Jussi gives an example.
According to NOUKI’s Anna, their fabrics continue from one collection to another, so the fabrics are, then, stored to wait for the next collection. Sometimes also accessories are made out of the surplus fabrics, and now Anna has noticed that customers are also very interested in buying only the fabric, so those are also sold. Also, Papu and Uhana sell some of their fabrics for the ones who have sewing skills.
”From the biggest pieces of cutting waste beanies are made. The smaller textile pieces that we cannot use in our production, we sell to companies who are able to use them, for instance, in blankets and mattresses,” Anna says.