There was a time when Christmas was the busiest time of the year for stores. Thanks to American e-commerce events like Black Friday, the busy season now spans a month. Natural Vibes founder Guillermo Ortega Garcia talks about why even sustainable clothing brands are embracing the season.
When Guillermo Ortega Garcia launched sustainable socks firm Natural Vibes in 2018, he was determined not to subscribe to the same mass consumption strategies of fast fashion. But it quickly became clear that to run a successful business, even brands with strong sustainability standards like his had to play the game.
“If you want to have a market share against unsustainable brands, you also have to have to do these kinds of offers,” he tells Silicon.
Today, the Spanish entrepreneur generates half of his annual revenue selling discounted socks online during the period of Black Friday (the Friday after the American Thanksgiving holiday) until mid-December. It’s a huge opportunity for a small business like his, which operates with freelance and agency support in Ukraine, Poland and Portugal. And one for which work begins in June.
“You can never prepare enough because there is a lot of stress during this time and you don’t want to leave anything to the last moment,” he says.
“You can never prepare enough because there is a lot of stress during this time and you don’t want to leave anything to the last moment”Natural Vibes founder Guillermo Ortega Garcia
Natural Vibes sells directly to customers via its webstore, which it promotes through Google ads and social media promotions, and online marketplaces.
But, he’s not just looking to shift large volumes of socks during this period. “It’s a great opportunity for people to get to know your brand,” he says. “You offer a great product, a great customer service but you also try to make sure they return by signing them up to your newsletter.”
Newsletters & USP
The 15,000 subscribers to the Natural Vibes newsletter are the first to be informed about new designs and get a week’s head start on the Black Friday discounts.
All in all, he reckons 30% of customers who purchase during this period are converted into returning customers during the following 12 months.
Having a USP also helps. Natural Vibes socks are Global Organic Textile Standard certified, they use recycled plastic and are manufactured in Portugal and Turkey. What is more, for every pair sold, the company pays for a tree to be planted through Eden Reforestation Projects.
“I think that this approach is attractive and that’s what differentiates us,” he says, acknowledging that competition is tough. “People tend to search online for brands rather than clothing categories like socks. But we see more people returning directly to our site.”
It took five years to establish this online presence, by investing a little more each year for a moderate and sustained growth. Clearly, it is paying off. This year, Garcia is expecting to sell around 12,000 socks in around 4,000 orders over three weeks. He won’t be alone: a warehouse in Germany packs, ships, conducts quality checks and handles returns. The entrepreneur, meanwhile, is on call for the customer service part.