As we closed the chapter on 2020, we reflected a lot on what we learned, what we’re grateful for, and what we hope to accomplish in the year to come. Woof, 2020 – what a year. When you quit your job to pursue a new dream on the day that most of the country goes into a mandatory stay-at-home order, there are a few (okay, many) moments of panic. In this musing, we’d like to share with you: one thing we learned, two things we’re grateful for, and three things we hope for in 2021.
One thing we learned:
1. When someone tells you “no,” you are onto something. At Pareto, we are doing things differently across many dimensions of the business, from how we are funding the brand to our approach to developing supply chain partner relationships. Over the course of this year, we’ve heard a lot of “No one has ever asked for that before. Why would you ever want to know that...” and “I’ve been doing this for 50 years...” and “Trust me, you don’t need to know what happens at the [insert any stage of the supply chain]...” and “The only way to grow an early stage brand is…”. We would be lying if we told you that these interactions never made us pause or question our direction. However, over this past year, we’ve learned how critical it is to stick with what we believe is right, to never stop at no, and to always ask why. These moments of friction have led to the conversations that are yielding the best solutions – ones that leverage decades of experience while also challenging the “this is the way we always do it, so it is good enough” mentality. From the beginning, a quote that we frequently come back to is, “Doing things differently leads to something exceptional.” We have always been inspired by the entrepreneurs who have questioned the status quo to build something that is better for their customers and better for the world.
* It goes without saying that we’ve learned more than just this one lesson this year (especially the power of a cost-effective, Zoom headquarters), but we’ll save those for future musings.
Two things we’re grateful for:
1. You, our community! Since Day One, you’ve supported us, engaged with us, and shown us the real power of a fewer, more purposeful mentality. Each fit test session, each email exchange, each DM, each product review, each photo of you styling your Pareto pieces makes all of this worth it. Please keep it coming – we can’t wait to get on the road and meet more of you soon!
2. Our transparent, honest, make-it-happen supply chain partners. To make the best, most ethical, and most environmental clothing, we need to know every hand that touches each piece. But just knowing is not enough – it is crucial to have the right hands, and we definitely do! Pareto would not be possible without our partners, who are willing to do things differently and take a risk on our big vision. We’re so grateful for their craftsmanship and collaboration.
Three things we hope for in 2021:
1. We hope to help you build a wardrobe that has it all. A wardrobe that is...
...built to look good. Feel like each piece was made for you.
...built for all days. Wear each piece wherever your day takes you.
...built to last. Reach for each piece day after day, for years to come.
...built responsibly. Feel good about how your clothing impacts the planet and other people.
Fashion should be fun, but it doesn’t have to come at the expense of style, time, comfort, money, or the environment. This year, we’re committed to bringing you timeless essentials, providing you with effortless styling inspiration, and sharing with you stories of amazing women in our community taking on their day with their fewer, more purposeful pieces.
2. We hope to start reshaping the “playbook for new brands,” demonstrating that profitable growth does not have to come from more product, more often. We’ve seen it time and time again – young brands complete a proof of concept and then raise capital to skyrocket growth, chasing every shiny object along the way rather than building a strong, profitable foundation for longevity. We’ve designed an exciting plan to grow Pareto while staying true to our mission of fewer, more purposeful. This year, we’re committed to bringing this plan to life in order to build a strong foundation that sets us up to operate for the long run.
3. We hope to shift the conversation on “sustainability” in the apparel industry – it is so much more than how clothing is made. If we want to make a real impact on the environmental and social impact of the apparel industry, we must also talk about the quantity of clothing made. This is a big vision, and we know it will take time. This year, we’re committed to sharing our learnings and perspectives via Our Musings, having more conversations with stakeholders in the apparel sustainability space, and communicating the decisions (and sometimes tradeoffs) we are making at each stage of our supply chain.
This musing could have turned into a 10 page essay, but we’ll spare you (for now!). We can’t wait to see what 2021 holds – for you and for Pareto.
As always, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below – what have you learned from 2020, what are you grateful for, and what are your hopes for 2021?