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All Good Things: a sustainable concept powered by retail stars

New sustainable retail concept, All Good Things, offers an innovative and overdue solution to retail’s landfill legacy.

One rubbish truck of textiles is burned or goes into landfill worldwide every second, sustainability organisation the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has stated.

This grim statistic demonstrates the difficulties that retailers and brands face in getting rid of fragmented and end-of-line stock – as demonstrated by Burberry, which landed itself in hot water last year with consumers after burning £28.6m in unsold clothing, accessories and perfume.

New retail concept All Good Things is bursting into shopping centres around the UK offering a sustainable solution to excess stock. The new retailer sells dead stock from its 35 premium and designer wholesale partners, including Joseph, The Kooples and Jigsaw. This is complemented by sustainable niche names such as accessories label Elvis & Kresse and womenswear brand Ivy & Oak.

We’re building on the industry’s current efforts to engineer greater sustainability into their supply chain

Ben Barnett

All Good Things opened its debut store at Bristol’s Cribbs Causeway at the end of October, rapidly followed by a second at Intu Merry Hill shopping centre in November.

Brands vary store by store, and retail prices range from £24.99 for knitwear with an original retail price of £45 to £500 for designer pieces that would have sold full price at £2,500. Rental also plays an important part, through a partnership with The Endless Wardrobe to offer occasionwear options.

Big names

The start-up is the brain-child of some big names. Its four-person management team is advised by Ben Barnett as chairman, CEO of the TFG London portfolio of brands, which includes Hobbs, Whistles and Hobbs. Entrepreneur David Zeeman, co-founder of homeware brand Dassie Artisan, is CEO. Karen Fuller, former retail director of Jigsaw, has joined in the same role and BrandAlley’s senior footwear buyer, Sonia Chopra, has been hired as head of buying. Former head of global media networks at BT, Keith Bristow, is chief operating officer.

Merryhill exteriors

The retail star power behind All Good Things does not end there – a plethora of industry veterans have joined the management team to invest a total of £1.25m. Shareholders include former Karen Millen CEO Beth Butterwick, Hobbs managing director Justin Hampshire, and former Jigsaw CEO Charlie Atterton.

The close-knit management team are buzzing with energy when Drapers pays a visit to the Merry Hill store on its first day of trading, despite working around the clock to open on time.

The 6,500 sq ft corner store is imposing but inviting. Warm lighting bounces off the pale woodwork and rendered walls to create a welcoming environment. The idea was to create a store that is “elevated in a subtle, premium way”, Zeeman explains. This has been achieved with elegant glass chandeliers, gentle coving and a neutral colour palette.

Each garment is discounted from its original retail price, making it accessible to a wider audience

Karen Fuller, retail director

Customers praise the living green wall behind the till – a staple feature for each store – which references the retailers’ sustainable focus.

“What we’re doing is building on the industry’s current efforts to engineer greater sustainability into their supply chain,” says Barnett. “Working with a broad spectrum of premium brands to build a structured programme for extending the life of their fragmented stock [through sale or rental] is definitely a step forward.”

He adds: “[The concept] does not require everyone to solely embrace garments that have been produced out of recycled bottles or fibres, because, while growing, the results currently appeal only to a small percentage of the population. We are however giving those brands a forum through which they can sell.”

Public conscience

The team behind All Good Things were initially concerned that it could prove a challenge to convince brands to publicly put their name to the concept. However, they have been surprised by the response. Many heavyweight names were keen to be associated with the project and are proudly displayed in the Merry Hill store’s windows.

At the rear of the store the word “Insider” is printed on the wall above a set of double doors, behind which lies a members-only area. Brands that want to be more discreet about joining the sustainable start-up can remain behind closed doors, maintain greater control over brand adjacencies and retain exclusivity. Customers wishing to gain access can sign up to the database with purchase. 

All good things (1)

All Good Things’ core customer is a “John Lewis concession” shopper, Fuller explains, although adds that she has been surprised by the wide-ranging demographic All Good Things has attracted so far. The retailer’s wholesale model means it can offer customers premium brands that would otherwise not take space in the same centres, stopping footfall leakage to the surrounding cities.

The proposal is a convenient ethical solution, giving both a bargain and sustainable satisfaction for consumers who are confused at how to combat fashion’s dirty secrets.

Fuller says: “Customers repeatedly tell us they are looking to build sustainability into their wardrobe, but frankly don’t know where to start. Our curated solution really seems to resonate, particularly as each garment is discounted from its original retail price, making it accessible to a wider audience.”

Green growth 

All Good Things has rapid expansion plans. Four further openings are expected by March, and the longer-term goal is 50 stores in the next three to five years.

“That’s very ambitions but if we get the model right and we’re in a position where we can scale it up, then it’s possible,” says Zeeman, adding that he has “been inundated with requests” from landlords.

And understandably so. The concept gives landlords a chance to increase their sustainability credentials while filling medium-sized units, that often lay vacant, and bring in premium brands that would otherwise not have a retail presence in the shopping centre locations.

All Good Things’ sustainable solution seems an early hit with brands, landlords and customers alike. It has ambitious plans to expand the numbers of partners it works with and stores at a rapid pace. Although purely a retail concept for now, Zeeman has aspirations for future online developments in the form of a members-only site.

It is a business that offers a clever solution for both consumers and retailers, who both reap the commercial and sustainable benefits.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Eric Musgrave

    Drapers is being exceedingly generous and/or naive to describe All Good Things as "new", "sustainable", "innovative" and a "solution to retail’s landfill legacy". It's just selling old stock, which specialist companies have been doing for decades and these days is best exemplified by TK Maxx. Not that long ago, the Classified ads section of the magazine carried lots of ads from "jobbers", who bought up old stock for distribution through effective if unsophisticated channels like markets. Some of us remember when menswear veteran Roger Dack organised hugely popular "warehouse Sales" in London's King Cross where this sort of dead stock was shifted. Even the rental element of All Good Things is not new, innovative etc - Moss Bros has been hiring out menswear for decades and renting women's occasionwear (inc hats) is not a new idea (even if PRs write a press release saying it is). Getting rid of old / unsold / unwanted stock is an age-old problem for the clothing industry and the "sustainable" solution is not to make too much in the first place, but that is easier said than done. Good luck to all involved in All Good Things, but if people are spending in there, in consequence there will be unsold stock sitting and hanging somewhere else. This country is over-shopped already and that is a major problem for the sector.

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  • Here, here Eric . Nothing is new , the online shopping phenomenon is akin to Freemans catalogue of old with the Klarna payment option now completing the circle to full scale "clubby book" vibe...
    Roger's DWS were fantastic for the small designers that he supported helping them clear unsold stock and was a proper sample sale too . The fabric sale for the fashion students allowed the designers to put something back in & support new talent as well as help fund their businesses.

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