Experience sales in a sustainable way

July is here and that means that the sales have officially begun. A time when the shopping streets are filled with shoppers and our wardrobes with a lot of new stuff. That trendy blouse with a discount might be your thing now, but next year it will be sighing of boredom in the back of your closet. The sales are still too often accompanied by meaningless spending of money, it's time for change!

Still going for sales shopping? Then stick to these tips:

1. Do I need it?

Which garment is in need of a replacement

Don't buy to buy, because that has no effect. Your bank account will drop a few digits and your adrenaline rush will disappear again after a few hours. If you don't need a new blouse then definitely don't buy one in the sales. Cheaper should never be an excuse to make a purchase.

Because a lot of people think this way, we are stuck with a large amount of textile waste of 15 million tons per year. A lot of the clothing that is bought during the sales period flies into the garbage after a few uses. So, next time you get a coup-de-foudre ask yourself: Do I really need it? Does it fit with the rest of my wardrobe? Can I use that new shirt to make an original combination with my own clothes? Is the answer 'no', thank you, next.

2. The green retailer

Leaders of retailers who ensure that everyone in the chain is paid correctly

With the environment in the back of your mind, it's best not to do your shopping at a fast fashion or unethical clothing chain. This is where you have to pay attention because a high price tag does not mean that the piece is ecologically sound. But don't panic, because there are plenty of sustainable retailers all over Flanders. And guess what? They also participate in sales! Do you still miss a summer dress in your closet? Then be sure to visit one of the following: Host (Antwerp), Tenue Préférée (Leuven), Just Hazel (Ghent), Launchroom (Antwerp), Harvest Club (Leuven), Mais Oui (Bruges).

3. I must and will have it

Totally in love with that one piece of clothing that you can't afford at full price.

Every now and then you get butterflies in your stomach when you see a certain piece of clothing. It's a wonderful feeling unless the piece turns out to be a little above your budget. Just wait patiently for the sales period and don't let yourself be seduced by the online sites. The retailer would rather see you come back and sell it to you at a lower price than not at all. And let's be honest, would you have seen it without the shopping experience? Without the help of the staff or the cosy interior? Probably not. Sustainable shopping also means supporting local retailers. To give them your full support, you should actually buy another item at full price.

* Like it took me three months to consider and buy this beautiful Rhumaa Jumpsuit :).

4. It's gone

Gratitude and lawfulness is also fair

Is the article no longer there? Then talk to the owner and thank him/her for their time. Don't forget that the retailer has to spend a lot of money to give you that wonderful wardrobe experience. He/she has to pay the staff, which is already at least 30 euros per hour. On top of that come the purchase price of the piece and the rental price of the property.

5. Who gets what

Who is paid with your financial transaction?

Before you buy a garment, you also should know where your money is going. The prices in a boutique are not just higher. There are some good reasons for this. When a garment is sold, 6% goes to the textile producer and 10% to the factory.

The brand gets that 16% times 2.5, with that it should be able to cover all its costs. Those include the cost of the building, personnel, marketing, sales and taxes.

The retailer uses a margin of 2.6 and thus receives the largest part (41%). But that does not mean that the shop earns the most. With the money he receives, he pays the rental costs of the property, his staff and marketing. On top of that comes the total value-added tax of the garment which is 21%.

In summary:

So be sure to take into account that you are buying sustainable garments of which you're in need of and of which at least one piece is bought at full price. This will make you a worthy, ecologically and ethically responsible shopper.

Who's gonna pay for it if you don't pay the full price?

Price structure of a garment

Approximately 21% is value-added tax

  • VAT of 19-21%, depending on the regulations of the country

41% goes to the Retailer:

  • Retail: Marketing costs: website management, social media management, cash register software, accountant. Help with sales on busy days. Profit? Taxes on profit? (6%)
  • Retail: Rental of the property: If the retailer wants to pay himself and his staff 1500 euro net salary, he has to sell at least 200 items at 100 euro per month. That is 6pieces a day at full price for one individual's salary. (15%)
  • Retail: rent of the property: if the retailer has to pay 3000 euro rent a month, then he/she has to sell at least 200 items at 100 euro per month. This way, the retailer still earns his/her minimum wage. This means that he/she has to sell 6 items per day at full price if no personnel is employed. (20%)

22% goes to the brand

  • Brand: taxes depending on the country of the headquarters (4.4%)
  • Brand: Sales costs: trade market, printer brochures, sales agents, transport, complete sample collections.
  • Brand: marketing costs: website, social media management, graphic design, lookbooks and photography (9%).
  • Brand: designer, sampling manager and production manager (4.2%)
  • Brand: rent building headquarters, office space, energy (4.4%)

10% goes to the producer

  • Producer: taxes (2%)
  • Manufacturer: building rental, HR manager, Machines, software, sales, marketing (2%)
  • Producer: sewing, washing, testing, ironing and packaging; including taxes on wages. (4%)
  • Sampling: patterns and sampling (2%)

6% goes to the textile producer

  • Textiles: taxes: both the textile supplier and the fibre supplier pay taxes (1.2%).
  • Textiles: textile designer, R&D, factory building and machinery, employees, textile marketing, sales, transport and general costs (3.6%)
  • Fibre: cotton farmers, transport and fibre factory (1.2%)

Price structure of a sustainable garment made in Europe, sold by a Belgian / Dutch trader.