After two decades in fashion, Kristy Caylor was disheartened by the industry’s sustainability concerns. Too much stock and stimulated high consumption created so much waste. That’s why she launched For Days in 2018, which allows customers to exchange worn-out clothing basics for new products, while upcycling returns. Caylor thought her original subscription model would solve fashion’s waste problem. But she had seriously miscalculated. –As told to Anna Meyer
Right after we launched For Days, we heard from customers that our subscription model was pushing them to get value for money by using more clothes than they needed. My feeling faded – we had hung our hats on sustainability; I was like, “Oh no. This is big. This is not a small shift.” I already had press, seed-round investors, momentum, clients and earnings. To be honest, I’ve considered moving forward anyway. But I couldn’t pretend I hadn’t heard of the trouble.
It was an uphill task, but in February 2019 we closed our doors as we reorganized. For four months, we took on no new customers and held intense strategy meetings to discuss new e-commerce products, change our messaging and brainstorm new pricing models with insights from our small existing customer base. In November 2019, our company was relaunched with: our current model: When a consumer is done with a For Days piece, we buy it back to recycle it properly — all on the customer’s own timeline.
Ultimately, even without the subscription, annual customer retention improved, as did customer feedback. It taught me that being wrong as a founder is part of the job description. Own it, have faith in it and realize that it is inevitable.
From the May/June 2022 issue of businesstraverse.com. Magazine