10.03.2024

Hi there,

Adrian here, fairly new store manager! 👋

I've been running the store in this peculiar company for a little over half a year now. The goal is to get people to consume fewer clothes. At the same time, the fact remains that the sales growth in the store ultimately determines whether we succeed or not. But as I see it, this can actually work.

Let me explain.

I grew up in the clothing industry and managed to become an adult there before the sales frenzy in fast fashion one day made me quit my job on the spot, with nothing else to turn to.

It was the scariest - but at the same time one of the best things I've done. It set me on a good path that eventually led me to Northern Playground. After working in the outdoor industry for a few years, I ironically find myself back in the clothing industry.

Or do I really?

I remember being shocked by the drive and execution ability all my new colleagues had. The Google calendar that was opened for me at the beginning, with all the meetings and planned tasks, looked like a world map I couldn't make head or tail of. There are only 10 employees; how do they have time for all this? In hindsight, I've realized that it was just me who was disorganized compared to them. It was a bunch of entrepreneurial minds, with a "get-up-and-go" mentality and a genuine desire to make a difference. The goal of actually making the industry and the world a better place underlies everything that has made me, after half a year, feel very comfortable and confident in the ambitious goals of the company.

The most challenging part of managing a physical store for Northern Playground is that the rules of merchandising and most of what I've learned in the clothing industry, I now have to either discard or use differently. The clothing industry that I (and you) know does everything they can, to be honest, to make those who come in leave behind as much money as possible and take away as many clothes as possible. 5-6 collections a year with the latest trends and colors, Black Friday, Christmas sales, spring offers, pre-sale, mid-season sale, Easter campaign, and the wheel keeps turning.

So why is this job different? Well, because I'm supposed to get those who come to us to buy fewer clothes and spend less money on clothes. Quite concretely: Before, the instruction was to "trick" customers into picking up some extra items they didn't really need. Here, in many ways, it's the opposite.

Some have cleared my way. Branding, marketing, and communication to the market are done by my talented colleagues. They have been a bit crazy; when they build a company that sells clothes - when the whole point is to get people to buy fewer clothes and still have good growth. But as I said, I feel very confident that it works and that we are on the verge of creating something truly great.

As a store manager, I am no longer going to push sales and create a work culture where we strive for short-term goals. I will push awareness, guidance towards more sensible clothing choices, and think far ahead in all sales processes that take place in my store. Yes, I'll gladly sell you this garment, but don't buy it if you don't need it. And don't buy it if you don't genuinely want to collaborate with us to make the garment last as long as possible. And ideally, the garment I sell you should replace many other purchases you would otherwise have made. That's why this is going to be so darn good. You buy fewer and better clothes, while realizing that "less is more." If it means that the companies I worked for previously struggle, then that's great in my book. We can't continue to trick people into buying things they don't need.

I'm definitely not back in the same clothing industry. It won't be easy for an old-school merchant like me to sell in the right way, but it feels more right than ever to sell.

Once in a while, one of the Northern Playground employees sends out a letter giving you an honest look behind the scenes of the company. We believe that transparency is an essential part of being a socially responsible company. This is the 30th letter. Read the other ones here.

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