As retailers incorporate sustainable business practices and consumers hold companies accountable, brand defensibility will become imperative, says Annie Agle, director of impact and brand at Cotopaxi. Agle joined the Retail Gets Real podcast to chat about the startup’s mission-based model.
With a joint mission to eliminate poverty by eliminating waste, Cotopaxi uses discarded scraps from manufacturers to create bold, limited-edition apparel its fans love. The company donates a percentage of profits to support grants that help alleviate poverty and improve the human condition.
That focus on mission and doing good in the world has had a positive effect on the business as well, leading to a community of engaged customers and fans. “Our customers are the best,” Agle says. “We could not operate or be successful as a company without our customers. There's more than just buying a product. I like to think we kind of have like a benevolent cult following, which is just so cool.
"Our customers hold us accountable every day. But they're also the beginning and end of the validation for this new wave of conscious capitalism. The kind of success we've seen as a company is obviously attributable to our customers. But ultimately, too, they're not just helping us as a company, they're helping to validate a whole new way of looking at how to do business, especially within the fashion industry.”