This month the modern trend of ‘fast fashion’ has attracted my attention. The Environmental Audit Committee, a review panel composed of MPs, recently delivered a rather damning verdict on the contemporary fashion supply chain.
The report made much of the wasteful surfeit of clothing in Britain today - the main thrust being that younger people buy fast and cheap, and too often throw out clothes worn only a handful of times.
Not only are the implications environmental in concern (landfill, fibres flowing into the ocean), they are also mental in nature.
Social media has opened up new avenues of selling - be it B2C influencer marketing, found especially in the world of fashion, or social selling where a salesperson leverages ‘common’ ground with a target. Many of these new routes are positive.
However, according to the committee, aggressive marketing by clothing companies has “overridden the knowledge” that every additional purchase does not really change your wellbeing. Your new sunglasses might be a nice pick-me-up, but they don’t really fundamentally change how you feel about yourself.
When viewed through the lens of my business, the committee’s findings have given me great cause for thought.
In fact, many companies out there looking to upscale and upskill their sales teams are guilty of falling into precisely the same pitfalls as those fixated on the caprices of modern fashion. They jump at providers too quickly and cheaply, and when they do receive valuable lessons, they discard them too quickly.
Perhaps the online abundance of sales training options lends them a transient quality, similar to that if you were to perform a Google search for jeans.
Part of the Environmental Audit Committee’s argument is that this encourages disposable behaviour when shopping for clothes. From personal experience, the same phenomenon plagues companies looking to improve the performance of their sales team via the casual perusal of a search engine.
It’s as true of fashion as it is of sales training: you need to put in the time and research to discover what is tailored to you - whether you’re looking to hug your waistline or increase your bottom line. What’s more, think twice before discarding what you buy.
The consequences are more far-reaching than you may anticipate.