The Danish children’s wear brand Vigga, founded in 2014 by husband and wife Peter and Vigga Svensson, is not your usual children’s wear brand. Not only is everything made in eco-friendly materials, such as organic cotton and recycled wool, but what really sets it apart is its business model, because you cannot buy Vigga clothes, you can only lease it on a subscription basis.
Understanding how their products were used was the beginning
For ten years Vigga and her husband ran their own kid’s wear company. In their company, they had a very ambitious product strategy, focusing on organic and recycled fibres, no harmful chemicals, and they considered packaging and fair worker’s rights. They felt like green superheroes right until one day, when a survey on their Facebook page told them that their clothes in average were only used 5-7 times by their customers, simply, because kids grow, and clothes do not. That day they realized that their contribution to the world was not the world’s most sustainable kid’s fashion brand, but rather a giant pile of more than one million pieces of clothes. If a romper has only been used seven times before it’s too small and is put away in the attic, then what does it matter how sustainable the romper was produced?
The epiphany left Vigga and Peter with a giant challenge: How to create not only a sustainable product, but also a sustainable way of using the product. One thing was clear to them; the world needed a new consumer model.
According to Vigga; today’s clothing industry is out control. Fashion brands launch up to 12 new collections per year in an attempt to constantly stay relevant to the consumer. And the result is a scary consumption habit;
- Americans buy 400% more clothes than 20 years ago
- In the UK 30% of the clothes did not leave the closet the past year
While the clothing industry might benefit from being fast, cheap and compromising on quality, Vigga and her husband wanted to changed that. The answer was to launch a new, innovative concept; a potential game changer to the entire clothing industry as we know it.
The solution is reusing: In Vigga’s new kid’s wear world, they offer a circular business model where consumers subscribe to maternity and children’s wear, and have the clothes replaced when these become too small.
The outgrown clothes are then returned to Vigga and after a strict quality inspection and professional laundry, they are ready to be worn by a new child. What Vigga aim for is to provide an attractive alternative to the throw-away society and establish a clothing consumption based on a business model that both the business, consumer and environment benefit from; the consumer gets access to very high, sustainable quality at a competitive price point through a convenient and time saving subscription model, and the circulation of clothes provides a cash strong business model. Vigga also had an LCA study done recently, which showed that their circular concept reduces the environmental footprint by up to 80 % compared to traditional consumption.
How the subscription works
The subscription is currently only available in Denmark and starts from 259 kr. (over $30) per month and you will have a wardrobe consisting of soft, basis garments, which will automatically change to a larger size as your pregnant stomach or baby grows. Customers can choose between four different pack sizes and more than 500 pieces of organic VIGGA clothes – or let VIGGA put together the package. The company also offers extra items such as outerwear and home knitted items to complete the closet. Once you’ve outgrown the clothes Vigga will take it back and after a quality check and washing on their swan-labelled laundry, the clothes are ready for a new pregnant stomach or baby.
Building a community
In a circular concept like Vigga’s the people are the driving force. Without the customer doing their part by taking care and returning the clothes it will only be linear. They have to depend on each other. That interconnection has the potential to build a strong and powerful community based on trust and responsibility. By closing the circle, sustainability changes from being an expensive or inconvenient add-on in people’s everyday lives to an integrated part of it. And this is where the movement begins.