Approaching CSR with a New Kind of Transparency

How E-commerce Retailer Everlane Set New Industry Standards in Brand Communication

Nina Bürklin

Business Case
Source: Bloomsbury Fashion Business Cases
DOI: 10.5040/9781474208772.003
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Founded in 2010, the e-commerce retailer Everlane shook the apparel industry with its innovative concept of transparent pricing. According to the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy, founder and CEO Michael Preysman and his team aim at new forms of brand communication, including openness about their supply chain and prices. Furthermore, the San Francisco-based online retailer counters fast fashion cycles with its timeless and high-quality products that range from menswear to womenswear and accessories. Building on modern forms of strategic communication like Twitter and Instagram as well as temporary pop-up shops, Everlane has managed to establish a stable customer base. Exploiting the inefficiencies of brick-and-mortar retail, the e-commerce start-up incorporates quick prototyping with small order numbers that allow the team to test new products regarding fit, materials, and colors, thus improvements are made based on feedback from its clientele. Hence, Everlane empowers customers to be informed and involved with their purchase and binds them emotionally to the company. Despite Everlane’s current success, the question arises of how to handle a growing customer base worldwide. The scalability of the business model focusing on close customer relationships and a limited product portfolio needs to be examined. Recommendations for current and future transparency, marketing, and distribution strategies need to be defined. Furthermore, although the social enterprise has received considerable amounts of attention and praise for its courageous corporate strategy, the future will be determined by its consistency and credibility. Strategies to retain Everlane’s credibility in the long run need to be developed.

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