Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.
Lively solves the frustrations of ethical shoppers by curating fashion-forward consciously-made apparel for individuals. We build systemic change by reporting on buying behavior of these conscious consumers to inform brands on what sells well, creating a race-to-the top.
WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"
What if we could change the way people think about fashion's potential for social impact AND build an industry that's equipped to serve them?
Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
The fashion industry has little reason to clean up supply chains. Without incentive to change, the extremely complicated problems that lead to human rights abuses and environmental harm will persist. We know that industry responds to market demand, but individuals have very few places to exercise their purchasing power. It's difficult to even know how and where to begin to shopping consciously.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
Lively connects conscious consumers with products they can feel great about buying and provides companies with a more complete market picture so they can compete for the business of conscious consumers (a rapidly growing market segment). Customers provide their style, sizing and cause preferences. We send them a box of specially-curated items that connect them with who, where, and how the product was made. The customer keeps what they want and sends back what they don't. Lively uses aggregate (not individual) data on what sells well with these consumers, packaging it in a way that allows brands to begin to shift their practices to compete for this growing market. The impact: supply chains that serve rather than harm garment workers.
Impact: How does it Work
Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.
An individual customer comes to our website and fills out a profile with information on their style, sizing, and cause preferences. We then send them a shipment with a variety of consciously-made apparel items matching their preferences, alleviating the barrier most conscious consumers have today of knowing where to shop. Each customer learns more about who made the clothes, the practices used, and where they can find more similar items. They keep what they want and send back what they don't. We then have information on the buying behavior of this market segment and package that aggregate data for companies. This allows large brands to make a stronger case for sustainable practices and creates incentive (more customers) to change.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.
We believe that by providing an avenue for individuals to easily and collectively exercise their purchasing power, we can create a market force that the fashion industry must adjust to. The adjustments will be in the direction of supply chains that take human rights and the environment into account. The people who are most impacted by and benefit from this change are those whose 40+ million lives are touched in the supply chain each day: garment workers, cotton growers and farmers, and more. Presently, this is an idea that has been prototyped, tested, and iterated, and as such, we do not yet have impact data. We anticipate - based on our testing and conversations with leaders at large brands - that the information provided to the industry can indeed change the way major companies choose to operate. By impacting the largest, the rest will follow.
Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?
In 5-10 years, we hope to be serving individuals in all major markets and serving the largest brands in those markets. Our goal is to continue to expand our individual customer base as much as possible in order to create the most accurate information on conscious consumer buying behavior possible. By expanding our individual customer base, we expand the impact can achieve. Within 5-10 years time, we also hope to have built a social enterprise that can advocate and increase the minimum threshold for what's considered "ethically" made in pursuit of an accountable and responsible industry.
Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?
We plan to be customer-funded after initial startup phase. "Customer" refers to individual customers purchasing consciously-made apparel, as well as to brands purchasing aggregate information and meta-data on what products sell well with conscious consumers. We've prototyped, tested, and iterated this business model. We've also identified two additional revenue streams where we could expand in the future in order to continue driving impact.
Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?
Most companies and projects addressing conscious consumerism are individual brands that work to build sustainably-made apparel. While those ideas are important ones, we at lively are focused on systemic change - a change in the way people think about and are able to shop and an industry that's equipped to serve them. A few companies that use this model of curated apparel for customers have launched in recent years. They have been very successful, proving the model works, but none have focused on human rights, workers' rights, or sustainability.
Emily and I were classmates in our first course in grad school. We were catching up over dinner one evening when we both realized that they were trying (and failing) to shop more consciously. The problem - we realized - was two fold: 1) we didn't really know where to find products we could feel good about buying and 2) that the fashion industry doesn't have to compete for conscious consumers the way things currently stand. We put our heads together to come up with a model that connects individuals with products while reporting to companies on what sells well, driving forward a "race to the top" for brands. We've spent the past year prototyping and testing the idea.
We are both co-founders with grit, passion and strong backgrounds in international development.
Erin serves on the leadership team at Devex as Director of Partnerships, where she works regularly with multi-national corporations, NGOs, and donors to align interests towards development goals. She has years of sales and revenue-generating experience at a social enterprise, has helped to successfully launch a new business line, and continues to succeed in management of teams and projects. Overall, she's a big-ideas and systems thinker who advocates for lean start-up and human centered design principles in nearly every project she works on. She holds a Masters in Social Enterprise with a focus on sustainable supply chains in the fashion and apparel industry, and a Bachelors from William & Mary.
Emily is an Monitoring & Evaluation Consultant leading a research project to understand how mobile technology can be harnessed to increase literacy in India. For the past seven years, she's worked in fundraising, program management, and operations for education, social enterprise, training, and youth programs around the world, with experience at one of the most internationally-renown NGOs. She has a deep curiosity in how global systems affect communities and firmly believes that every individual has the power to change the world. Overall, she is a practical, action- and detail-oriented thinker who understands the intricacies of systemic impact. Emily holds a Masters in International Development from American University, and a Bachelors from Xavier University in International Affairs and History.
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]
Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]
Advocate/Organizer, Consumer, Non-profit Staff, Researcher, Other [please specify].
Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]
Brands, Consumers, Corporations, Designers, Factory Workers, Factory Owners, Retailers - Department Store, Retailers - Specialty Store, Retailers - Mass-merchandise Chain, Retailers - Discount Chain, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager, Supplier - contractor, Supplier - subcontractor, Trading Companies, Women.
Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.
Data, Standards, Technology.
Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?
Consumers Aren't Motivated to Care: Neither Compelling Reasons Nor Easy Means to Change Consumption Habits, Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.
Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?
Unite More than Voice: Tap into Community Capital and Collective Resources, Disrupt Business as Usual: Target Key Players Who Can Influence the Bottom Line.
Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?
If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?
● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?
Yes, we plan to educate consumers & connect them with their products, making it accessible for nearly anyone to be a changemaker
● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?
This is currently an idea, informed by testing with many individuals and speaking often with large brand supply chain & CSR reps