Today, the service consists of two parts: a closet cleanout and creating your capsule. “You have to go through your closet. You have to take every single item out, lay it on your bed, look at it and say, ‘Do I love this? And do I wear it often?’ If those two things are true, you should keep that item; if they’re not, then it is taking up space that it doesn’t deserve in your closet,” explained Smith. Cladwell provides helpful instructions, tips and videos to walk the user through this process. Next, Cladwell’s algorithms generate the ideal wardrobe for the individual user. After they check off what they already own, users shop for missing items. “We actually link to brands that we recommend—we are not paid by those brand—but we linked to them because we’re your friend, to help make sure you buy quality as opposed to quantity,” Smith elaborated. The company said a capsule wardrobe saves users $600 per year.
The company currently has tens of thousands of users who use the platform every day. “It seems like it has really struck a chord with our generation right now,” Smith said. Cladwell is also testing an outfit generator service that will help users get dressed every day. The enhancement will help increase brand loyalty and customer engagement among users who pay a quarterly $15-subscription fee. The staying power of Cladwell, however, goes beyond branding and customer engagement. “A lot of people think that this is a trend and they’re wrong. This is a generational shift based on values, and so, it’s going to take a generation for it to shift again. Aesthetic trends come and go, but value-based trends, they have staying power. I think we’ve got another 20 years of growth,” Smith said
The minimalist trend extends beyond stuff and into areas such as housing. Getaway, the first project out of the Millennial Housing Lab, allows people to test out tiny living for $99 per night. Although the company’s tiny cabins are meant for weekend getaways, Getaway is, “Proud to be helping build the Tiny House Movement,” which involves, “a simpler life, being friendlier to the environment, financial security, self-sufficiency, and lots of adventure,” according to the company’s website. These are all values that fit into the millennial lifestyle.
At Fung Global Retail & Technology, we believe the minimalism and decluttering movements will stick around for some time. Even as millennials pay off their debt and garner more disposable income, we believe they will choose to spend their money on experiences—such as traveling, concerts and eating out—rather than things. Other industry trends support this idea. The sharing economy, in which consumers choose to use the new set of services available through Uber and Airbnb rather than buy cars or time shares, and the caring economy, comprised of consumers who spend on ethical and sustainable brands, are two examples. We predict companies that provide consumers, particularly millennials, with services that fit into this minimalist and socially conscious lifestyle will see success.
I am an award-winning global retail analyst and a specialist in retail innovation and technology. I am the CEO and founder of Coresight Research, a think tank and mentorship network that advises clients on disruptive technologies reshaping today’s globA
Lisa Dughi Brand ContributorGrads of LifeBRANDVOICE
We know how much of a difference one person can make in another’s life. But what if your goals are loftier than reaching just one person? What if you want to make a difference in the lives of a hundred, a thousand, or more? There are millions of young people across this country that need access to opportunity so that they can have successful futures after high school. What if you could play a pivotal role in providing that access?
That’s the challenge NAF is working to solve. With over 100,000 students enrolled in NAF academies in underserved high schools across the country, reaching these students wouldn’t be possible without our business partners. NAF advisory board members in particular – those who volunteer their time on a regular basis to give back to their communities – are investing in their future in so many ways, but many still struggle to meet the need for all students to have opportunities. NAF seeks to impact over one million students across the country by providing access to opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have. To get there, we need to scale the solutions we know work.
This past June, we brought together some of our most successful advisory board members to develop strategies that could be replicated anywhere in the country, no matter how different the needs or circumstances of a location. The end goal is the same: to support student success.
Many of the challenges that they uncovered were not unique. Funding for opportunities is a common problem. Many companies are either unwilling or unable to provide paid internships for students under the age of 18. To supplement this, advisory board members turn to the community for donations to fill the void. Other programs also suffer from the funding issue and work through their local government’s summer youth employment programs to cover the cost.
A major issue, of course, is capacity. Expanding opportunity means expanding networks and finding those who will champion the cause. Identifying those volunteers who will be a catalyst for scaling and will lead the way with enthusiasm and dedication can encourage others to get involved. Every person who comes on board has the capacity to contribute in large and small ways and may even bring in some unique strategies to bring in even more volunteers.
NAF is also exploring ways companies can scale their capacity to provide more internships. Through NAF Future Ready Labs, companies that traditionally support one to one internships have the opportunity to support 20-25 students who work together on a project of value that the company can use right away. For the past two summers, NAF has been working with major companies to get this idea off the ground and are now exploring ways to bring it to local companies.
There are many more unique solutions to expanding opportunity coming down the pike. We know technology will continue to play a key role in the movement, but dedicated volunteers will continue to remain at the heart of the mission and will drive the possibilities forward.