How Fair Harbor, one of fashion’s fastest-growing sustainable brands, hit record sales during the pandemic: ‘Nimble’ manufacturing and close tabs on customer feedback


Fair Harbor

Summary List Placement

Just before the pandemic hit the US, in February, Business Insider spoke to Jake Danehy, 26, and his sister Caroline, 23, the cofounders of Fair Harbor, a brand that turns recycled water bottles into clothing.

At the time of our first conversation, Fair Harbor’s business was booming. It was on track to recycle over 3 million water bottles by 2021 and it had launched the Round Trip Initiative, a program where the company takes any old swimsuits from its customers in exchange for a discount code for future Fair Harbor purchases.

After spending five years scaling the business and opening pop-up shops throughout the country, the Danehy siblings told Business Insider they were reporting almost 1,000% year-over-year growth.

But then, of course, the pandemic hit, and the world started to spin.

Retailers shut down and people were no longer traveling. The menswear category, Fair Harbor’s specialty, went into a steep decline, with Stackline reporting that the category saw a 64% decrease in demand in March. This meant the Fair Harbor duo were quickly forced to find a new way to market themselves to consumers. Surely this whole situation would have caused a dent somewhere in their business, right?

Hardly, Jake tells Business Insider. Sales figures in the months following the pandemic up through June, reviewed by Business Insider, were up 1,200% year-over-year, and their overall rate of near-1,000% year-over-year growth has remained steady. They have been doing so much business these past few months, that they went ahead and launched their kid’s’ line. It already has 20,000 on its waiting list.

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“We’ve had to keep our heads down, stay creative, and stay incredibly nimble and agile”

Fair Harbor wasn’t impacted much by the manufacturing closures during the pandemic, the cofounders said. One of the factories they use is “nimble” and found ways to open up safety, while the other one they use is part of a conglomerate, which allowed them to shift some of their production from China to another facility in Southeast Asia.

“We were able to get our goods on time and stay up to date. We did run out of inventory in the middle of June, but that wasn’t a factory issue,” Jake said. “We were able to take advantage of the market that was working for us and get behind it.”

Jake said the company has spent the entire summer “off to the …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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