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The Avocadostore offers a platform for small brands with sustainable products. In the meantime, the online platform has become the largest marketplace in Germany for Eco Fashion & Green Lifestyle. To ensure transparency, the brands’ products must meet at least one of the ten sustainability criteria. Mimi Sewalski spoke to Luna Journal about the fast fashion hype and why fair fashion is the future.
Avocadostore was founded in 2010. What were your goals when you founded it?
When we founded the Avocadostore in 2010, there were already some small labels that switched to organic cotton and fair production. But they were mostly well hidden and not very present online. We wanted to create a platform that would make it easier for small brands to sell online without a lot of risk and effort. At the same time we wanted to create an address where the conscious consumer could find, compare and buy all sustainable alternatives to conventional products: Avocadostore.com
What criteria does a supplier have to meet in order to be allowed to sell its products on your platform?
We have created 10 sustainability criteria, of which each product must meet at least one. Since sustainability is a very vague term, there is no right or wrong, yes or no, but one has to weigh up often. Our criteria are, for example, “production reduced in harmful substances”, “recycling/upcycling”, “raw materials from organic cotton” or “fair production”, here it is often clear. But with our criteria “Cradle to Cradle”, “Made in Germany” or “Long lasting” we often compare them with the industry standard and usually also ask whether it is really the better alternative to the conventional product. Because we are also not a test institute, we ensure transparency and give our customers the opportunity to participate in discussions. For example, every customer can directly give feedback on a product, criticize it or ask questions.
Which brands are represented on your platform?
Actually, we represented pretty much all brands that sell sustainable goods. Of course, there are many fashion brands, but we also show a great variety in other categories. From bamboo toothbrushes and natural cosmetics to baby articles – everything to do with a green lifestyle. We are also scouting more and more brands from abroad, so that we often offer products that are nowhere else on the market or that are particularly innovative and new on the market.
How do you explain the hype surrounding fast fashion?
I think you can compare it well with healthy food. The more you know, the less you can go back. You slowly feel your way forward, inform yourself and then find a way that is feasible for you. The media have reported and explained a lot about textile production, and of course that doesn’t leave us consumers cold. At the same time, the eco fashion industry has become very professional, i.e. productions are getting better, cheaper, more mainstream and are no longer lagging behind the conventional ones in terms of fashion grade and price.
How can fast fashion consumers be convinced of sustainable products?
What I personally like to recommend to people who have confidence in the subject is underwear. Here you immediately notice the difference. You wear great quality directly on your skin, notice that it feels good and also know that it has been produced without chemicals and fairly. Basically, everyone has to decide for themselves where they want to try something. Many of our customers also try an Eco Sneaker first, because they are really in vogue and look great.
Often the reason given by consumers is that fair fashion is too expensive. What is your opinion?
From my point of view, more consumers should ask how it is possible that traditional fashion is so cheap. Besides, the argument is wrong. Many Eco Fashion labels are comparable to conventional brands. Maybe not with H&M and Primark, but definitely with the mid-price segment. With Tommy Hilfiger jeans, nobody says it’s too expensive because you’re willing to pay a higher price for the brand. So why not spend a little more on a brand that stands for fairness and environmentally friendly production?
What opportunities are there for manufacturers who don’t have so much budget for sustainable production, but still want to become more sustainable?
There is always a possibility. Sustainability can also mean efficiency and thus cost savings, especially in production. But you can also often do something about packaging. At Avocadostore, many small labels sell very successfully without having invested a lot of money beforehand. I think you really have to want it and change the whole process best, then everything is coordinated and pays off in the end.
What are the future prospects for Fair Fashion?
I see great opportunities because even the big producers realize that the consumer actually wants fair fashion. At the moment it is also a marketing argument, so I predict that many conventional manufacturers will switch. Here remains the question of who will implement it authentically and well and not just communicate it.
What is the difference between recycling, downcycling and upcycling?
In recycling, old materials are reprocessed, whereby the quality usually suffers somewhat. Since this is the case, it is often referred to as downcycling. In upcycling, used materials are used to create something that exceeds the value of the original product, but some see it as just a form of recycling.
In addition to companies such as Tchibo and Otto, you are also taking part in the PraxPack pilot project. What is it all about?
As a much smaller e-commerce company, we naturally do not have the resources of a large company. But we also notice that there is an industry that needs some disruption, i.e. an industry that has a lot of potential for sustainable improvement. Since our DNA contains a sustainable alternative for every conventional product, we have of course also considered how we can develop green logistics with green packaging. We have a lot of ideas, but have always reached the limits of our capacity. That is why we have decided that it is good to work together with the big players, because the impact we can achieve together will only increase.
What result do you hope to achieve?
We hope that we will find new standards that will influence the entire logistics and e-commerce industry, so that consumers can continue to make use of the freedom of the digital, but in much more sustainable variants. By the way, the CO2 emissions of online orders are often even lower than those of retail purchases. Depending on whether you return or not, how you get to the shop and whether you get a bag in the shop or not.
What future plans are you pursuing with the platform?
We want to inspire people to simply and uncomplicatedly try out sustainable alternatives. Of course, we want to continue to grow and also present, discuss, evaluate and test all the innovative product ideas in the future and thus remain the top address for sustainable consumption in Germany.
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Link: Avocadostore a platform that would make it easier for small brands to sell online