Is it easier to WASTE fabric than USE it?
Did you know it’s easier to waste fabric than it is to use it?
Yep - if it were easy and affordable to be a sustainable brand, every brand would be. So let us elaborate. At the end of a production season, we’re inevitably left with extra fabric from whatever we make. Why? Because we always overestimate when we order fabric. This accounts for mistakes (which inevitably happen) or changes in yield (how much fabric it takes to make something). Depending on which factory is making our stuff the yields are different so it’s pretty hard to predict just how much we’ll have left over until we’re done cutting.
The easiest solution for this extra fabric is to just leave it and not use it. WHY? Because It’s a time consuming and complex math problem to figure out what we can make out of it - how many more items, how many more cuts, how many labels we have left over/how many we would need to order...a gazillion spreadsheets.
Take our skorts for example. When our summer production finished in March, we had leftover fabric and wanted to use it. But here’s what we had to answer first….we have 7 prints, and there are 2 prints per skort, and do we have enough heat labels left? What about tags? And some of the shorts are already cut…but what sizes? We can’t make 13, it’s easier to make in batches of 5….but then we need to order more fabric for the shorts because we don’t have enough, and we only want to make 30 in that print, but there are 52 in that print, and there are 116 yds left….but is that print going to sell well? Is it really smart to have 400 in one print? Yeahhh my brain hurts too.
Working through all of this takes more time (and costs more in labor) than just leaving that fabric as waste. But sustainability is a non-negotiable piece of business for Youer, so it’s a math problem we must solve. Some brands solve it by selling their leftovers to fabric distributers called ‘jobbers’, who then sell it to small brands like Youer. One fun solution we found this summer? A few hundred extra skort shorts we had, turned into an exclusive wholesale line that only got distributed to our retailers!