Power to the People: This Company Just Crowdsourced All of its Manufacturing Decisions

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Orin Activewear has given new meaning to the idea that the consumer is at the center of everything.

Retail is slowly backing away from creating product months in advance and finding demand for it later, but one new activewear brand is crowdsourcing all of the details for its forthcoming product before it even launches.

Calling itself “crowdsourced activewear,” Orin wants to let consumers on the web decide what types of products they want, how much factory workers making the goods should be paid and even what they want the models wearing the product to look like.

The company put a survey up at survey.orinlife.com, asking the world just 10 questions, and the results are both telling in terms of what consumers are really looking for and perhaps on the more unfortunate side when it comes to fair trade and ethics. A sizable 45,632 people responded to the crowdsourcing call and their responses are anonymous.

Questions were divided into three categories including product, manufacturing and models and as respondents picked their preferences, an average price-per-piece would calculate at the top of the screen.

For example, selecting a pair of standard shorts to be made in a standard factory in Sri Lanka where workers are paid minimum wage would run $16, but seeking luxury shorts made in the U.S. where workers earn a living wage would mean shelling out $65, Tech Insider reported.

The product questions yielded relatively predictable answers. When asked which type of activewear top they’d most want, 43 percent of consumers said tanks and only 8.1% said long sleeve tees, with the majority (63 percent) wanting those tanks in two basic colors: black and dark grey.

Nearly three quarters of consumers want activewear bottoms specifically for yoga—whether pants, capris or shorts—and they want those in black or dark grey too.

Consumers want the people modeling their activewear, not so surprisingly, to be more on the athletic side (55 percent) and concerning race or ethnicity, most (38 percent) want the models to be white.

When it came to the tougher manufacturing questions was where responses took a turn.

Regardless of the product type, 66 percent of respondents said they want the goods made of “premium” materials, followed by 24 percent who selected “standard” and 10 percent that want activewear made of luxury materials.

Most were willing to pay the price increase for premium materials, but not for a certified factory or to pay workers a living wage.

The toggling price on the survey jumped 10 percent if the respondent indicated they’d prefer the factory certification to be premium, so most (77 percent) were OK with the factory having just standard certification.

Consumers didn’t seem compelled to have factory workers paid a living wage. Given the option in the safety of anonymous responses, only 12 percent of those surveyed said they wanted workers to be paid a living wage compared to the 88 percent who said the status quo would be just fine.

In looking at where to manufacture the product, keeping their own costs low still rose above most else for consumers.

With the U.S., China, Colombia and Sri Lanka as options, respondents went with Colombia (38 percent) and Sri Lanka (28 percent) as both offered lower costs and average quality, but more went with Colombia after being made aware that the factory there specialized in activewear.

Now that the survey is complete, Orin’s survey site says: “Thanks to everyone that filled out our survey! We’ve kicked off production based on the results below. Stay tuned for our launch!”

Kevin Chan, who launched Orin, said the company will stay true to the survey selections as it begins production and based on how the line is received, consider experimenting with more ethical options down the road.

“For a new brand, going with what’s popular before redefining normal will make a bigger impact,” Chan told Ecocult. “You need to establish yourself as an influencer first…Aerie, for example, they are often credit as being one of the first brands to not airbrush their models, but hundreds of other brands did the same thing before them. The only difference is that Aerie had a significantly larger audience, which they built by following what was popular at the time.”


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