Sustainability is also a good excuse for good money
Welcome to "nouveau monde", your "nouveau genre" (see, we even create new words) newsletter to better understand how to make the world better through the lens of retail. This is #37
Menu du jour at nouveau monde is about startups reinventing the shoe industry and how a small plastic thing might save traffic jams.
Things move fast in retail and sustainability, we’re really happy to help you get the right tips and be inspired !
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Today's newsletter is 974 words, a 4-minute read.
News of the Unicorns of the world of sustainable shoes
As you can read if you receive the Inside newsletter dedicated to their business section…
Rothy's, a sustainable footwear manufacturer, has sold a 49.9% stake to Brazilian footwear company Alpargatas. The recent sale has valued Rothy's at $1B.
Alpargatas will buy Rothy's for $200M in cash, followed by $275M in share purchases.
The new funding will enable brand promotion, and Rothy's aims to also use Alpargatas' retail network to expand its presence.
The sustainable footwear maker recycles single-use plastic bottles into eco-friendly and fashionable footwear.
The company has its manufacturing base in Dongguan, China, where it has a 300,000-square-foot facility.
It has ventured into accessories and men's footwear and has a presence in Los Angeles, New York, and other cities.
Rothy's earned $140M in net revenue to November this year. Better for the environment, it uses less land, less water and less cows !
Ok, let’s see this.
Since the manufacturing is done is China, why do we consider Rothy’s is an American company? Because it is where the company is registered? Why don’t we change the rules or at least provide more transparency to the business.
Even though I have few respect for Everlane’s CEO who is I think quite a pretentious dude, his company was making some interesting changes providing more information on the production part, and the marketing spend split.
Why “Better for the environment, it uses less land, less water and less cows !”? Lets’ go deeper. Wikipedia saved me some time. “Rothy's products are made from 100% recycled plastic water bottles and post-consumer recycled materials. During the manufacturing process, the water bottles are hot washed and sterilized. Chips of plastic are melted down into pellets, stretched into fibers, and given air treatment until they entwine. The soft yarn produced is then loaded onto knitting machines which knit the upper part of the shoe in 14 to 24 minutes, depending on the design. They are then sewn to the sole by hand, paired with recycled foam and recycled rubber soles.”. Oh my Gosh. You wear plastic shoes then? Is the soft yarn produced good for health?
“The Point is the best-selling of the flats, retailed at $145.”. That an expensive piece of plastic, right? Nah, just kidding.
“The shoes have been well-received by fashion critics, particularly for their comfortability and durability.”. Well, if the Kardashians of the world are satisfied, the world is saved.
As you can see, sustainability makes good money for investors, and can be sold like any luxury sort of products. There is a bright future ahead.
Almost a year ago, for nouveau monde #2, I've written “No parking, no business, my ass” considering that today you don't need parking space to be able to sell products when you have a store downtown, and that it's better for your sales to have bikes and walk lanes than a row of cars in front of your store...
I still believe it's true but we have to be realistic : a lot of people still mostly use their car to go for their everyday moves and there is another trend : delivery!
It's a long time I follow how a startup called Coord is doing. And recently, Coord announced it was joining Pebble, which was also part of SideWalk Labs, which is joining Google, its mother company. A little confused ? We'll, this just means that Google is betting big on city planning and is now doing it unmasked, which is a strong signal.
Let's go back to Coord - now Pebble if you follow. It enables city planners and actors of the city to know and organize cities curbsides.
We all have witnessed the chaos delivery trucks are able to make in a few minutes on a street...
Pebble aims to solve this problem by offering a simple tool : a little connected object that is really cheap and easy to install and that will enable city operators to see if a parking space, a curb or whatever is occupied or not.
Multiple actions are possible if you have this data :
First, you can get the knowledge of free parking spaces and integrate it in a parking or city app for instance, therefore reducing uncertainty when you need to ride by car (or in locations where the car still is the only way to transit...), reducing traffic (you won't need to turn and find a place, you can go directly to it)...
You can also use the data gathered to manage the need of parking in a specific location : if you see that there's a high or low pressure on a zone, you can plan an extension or reduction of your parking space for instance.
These two use cases are specific to car owners and seem to come from a bad movie of the last century. Unfortunately, cars seem to be there for a while still, and even if they are all electric, they will use the same space - maybe even more, have you seen Tesla's Cybertruck ? 😱😱 - and light delivery solutions like cargo bikes might have a good trend, but they won't completely replace classic trucks in the near future.
Pebble also enables to manage curbside and lower the mess made by delivery trucks : Coord had digitized curbs in about 25 cities, enabling them to have real time data of how their streets are doing and enabling delivery companies to have more data about where they are allowed to park, to stop for a minute and so on.
With companies like Pebble, you can build loading zones, manage smart pricing solutions for delivery companies and invent many use cases and make two different worlds communicate and collaborate.
But the most important part of the deal? Yes, Google wants to be involved in that business and control the curbside, therefore the delivery business.
Bonus track by Anthony
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