While it often falls on the shoulders of consumers to make the ‘greener’ shopping choice and for brands and businesses to make fundamental changes internally, Pool thinks it needs a threefold approach for meaningful change to happen. She explains: “it’s up to consumers, brands and government.”
She points out that so much can be done at speed from a legislative point of view, as the ongoing crisis has demonstrated. But at the same time, she says, “consumers have to vote with their wallets,” to “buy better, buy less.” At the same time, she adds, “we as brands have to produce less.” She points out that brands can’t expect environmental behaviour from consumers if they insist on producing more and more products.
“We have to design products for longer,” Pool says. “You can convince a consumer to part with more money up front if you can convince them they’re going to get more from it,” she adds. She laughs as she points out DAME is the “worst company for an investor because we sell one product.” She believes wholeheartedly that DAME can run as a successful business without selling more than one product.
The coronavirus crisis has had a fundamental impact on many parts of everyday life but perhaps no more significantly than on consumer buying habits. Pool points out that the panic buying that proliferated as the UK went into lockdown showed that we “need to be more concentrated and concerned in the way that we buy.”
Online sales have seen a huge increase and, as Pool says, there’s “never been a better time for reusables if you can’t get to the shops.” She believes there “has been a gear shift. The buying public can see a different way to shop.” And as the habits shift, it creates opportunities for retailers looking for different ways to sell their products and market to consumers. But, says Pool, “they have to be brave enough to do it.”
Find the problem first
Pool explains how when she first heard about the B Corp movement, she recognised that it reflected the values she wanted to instil in the business. B Corp is a system of accreditation that is based on using business as a force for good; about making sure a company balances purpose with profit. It is, explains Pool, a rigorous process that took DAME a year and a half to complete; “there was “no room for greenwashing,” she adds.
She believes that B Corp, “allows you a framework for how to build and grow your business. [It also] connects you with a network of like-minded businesses who are all using business as a force for good.”
DAME operates with an incredibly diverse supply chain and business, working with women at every stage of the development, engaging female lawyers, designers, and medical engineers. It also forged a partnership with an organisation that supports domestic abuse survivors, providing them with crucial income. “We wanted to make sure the product was going to be created by the people who were going to use it. Historically that hasn’t been the case,” explains Pool. “Even though we’re a small company, we wanted to give back where we could,” she adds.
She highlights that DAME is working directly with the brand’s community to develop the business’s second product: a reusable pad. “It’s important for us to give back and connect with other people and make sure it’s a collaborative process,” Pool explains. “In the end it makes for a better product which is a win all round,” she adds.
Pool believes that for businesses to stay relevant and afloat in the current climate, it’s essential to keep moving forwards. To keep listening to what the consumer community wants and expects and offer that to them. Her advice to those wanting to do something different or launch something new is to “always attack it problem first.” “There’s got to be an actual pain point and a user base who want your product.” It’s that pain point that Pool advises people to keep in their sights.
“Whenever there’s big seismic change in the world that’s the most exciting time,” says Pool. “That’s when you can make the biggest difference.” A marketing masterclass from a business founder looking to not only galvanise and support those around her but to also shift the environmental narrative.
Celia Pool was speaking at BITE LIVE 2020. To watch the full conversation, visit the dedicated event page, Bleed red, think green: A marketing masterclass from DAME