Transparent practices are everything to PCR. Our client relationships, work environment, and overall model of business are based upon honesty and integrity. As marketing continues to progress toward user experience design and analysis, we believe it is vital to fuel the discussion on transparency and help organizations realize the importance of openness with their customers, employees, and strategies. This weekly series highlights the organizations who are getting it right and who other businesses can look toward for guidance.
Everyone has that favorite tee shirt. The one that you immediately throw on after a long day of forcedly sweating through constrictive office wear. Your go-to for everything from leisurely bike rides to backyard barbeques to spending an entire Sunday watching Netflix. The shirt that you eat, sleep, breathe and will probably be buried in. Face it, you love that shirt. But do you ever consider whether the company that you bought that shirt from loves you, or loves your money? Or better yet, if that shirt was made with love? Everlane does.
In late 2010, CEO and former venture capitalist Michael Preysman sought to use his eye for great design and his discontent with traditional retail to create a completely digital, one-stop clothing design shop. Everlane now functions as a completely in-house, online retailer, e-commerce platform, and distributor of high-quality, low-cost, no-sweatshop basics and accessories. It has become renowned as an innovator in modern retail and demonstrates constantly-evolving concern for process, product and prospect.
Perhaps the greatest differentiator between Everlane and comparable e-commerce sites is the company’s open, in-depth value of working with ethical manufacturers. The site’s “Factories” page not only pinpoints the various locations and profiles of Everlane’s manufacturing partners, but details everything from each workshop’s number of employees to the reasoning behind using one variety of leather over another. Photo galleries of crystal-clear images showcase working environments, smiling mom and pop-eque management, quality products, and unthreatening culture. Everlane’s associate factories are largely family-owned and operated, yet span five countries, encouraging globalization on a relatively small, personal scale. When visiting the site’s individual factory pages, common themes of appealing employee benefits, morally-concerned owners and locally-sourced, cruelty-free materials quickly emerge. Everlane makes it more than apparent that their interests encourage business with manufacturers who value the mantra of “Radical Transparency” as much as they do.
Everlane is a small, yet mighty shop. The company has modest offices in San Francisco and New York (where most of their consumer relationships exist), and empowers collaborative, forward thinkers to join their growing team. While many employees have credentials from big-time brands like Yelp, Marc Jacobs, and Goldman Sachs, Everlane attests that they seek out people “by a shared passion for pushing boundaries and challenging conventions.” They ensure that hired designers are as detail-attentive and quality-product-oriented as possible and consistently pervade a “never stop improving” goal set into their company culture. As a responsive business, they are constantly striving to be proactive and developing ways of working that question the status quo. Everlane’s brand is positioning is truly innovative and self-reflective. The site boldly proclaims: “Nothing is worse than complacency, and as a brand our culture is to dissect every single decision we make at every level of the company.” They pride themselves on their ability to fuel client and partner transparency, encourage adaptive ways of thinking, and strive toward always becoming better.
As far as basic customer service initiatives go, Everlane has all of the bases covered. Excellent exchange and return policies? Check. Low shipping costs to both the US and Canada? Check. Multiple consumer communication channels and rapid response? Check x 2. Customers can expect quality support from Everlane, but don’t expect it to begin and end with meeting typical standards. The company was derived as a solution to retail inadequacies that transcend simply shipping product to person. As consumers, Preysman and his partner Jesse Farmer were fed up with paying an arm and a leg for high-end basics or, by contrast, opting for thrifty, yet low-quality threads. They acknowledged that a middle ground between quality and cost must exist and worked tirelessly toward understanding how to produce great clothing while minimizing production expenses. By taking the time and extra effort to establish their company as a 100% online retailer, they were able to nix brick-and-mortar costs, ultimately saving customers more than a couple of bucks. Then, they took an already successful consumer-oriented strategy one very transparent step further.
Every tee, tote, and trench comes with full disclosure on the costs of materials, labor, and transportation per product, corresponding markup, and comparison to traditional retail pricing. When clicking on “The Cotton V”, for example, customers have clear access to care and maintenance recommendations, origins of fabric and production, and a “transparent pricing” analysis that shows exactly how much each shirt cost to make in comparison to what each consumer is paying. Everlane believes every single one of their customers has the right to question conventions and understand market price and demand value. It is more than clear that they practice what they preach.
Everlane is a Transparency Trailblazer in absolutely every sense. They don’t only implement transparency into all facets of business, but hold honestly as the golden standard and strive to work harder in order to validate and saturate their beliefs. They value quality, promote genuine pricing, and maintain steadfast loyalty toward customer satisfaction. Marketer often conceals critical truth from clients, customers, and critics in order to optimize revenue. In a UX-centric world, it is not only advisory, but critical for businesses to place value on integrity, strive to adjust to user demands, and relentlessly improve.