Superfried – Walk the Talk
Buying clothes from Rapanui
Howdy, Mark here. Time to walk the talk once again, as I pursue my transition toward a more sustainable lifestyle and business. This time I am investigating clothing by Rapanui.
Is it possible to purchase affordable, ethical garments that are also good quality?
A few years ago, I reached the age where I felt I no longer had enough time in the day to manage my life, business and look after the children. So one day, whilst feeling disappointed that my most flattering t-shirt was in the wash I had a moment of clarity. What I wore did not greatly affect my life, so why was I wasting my time considering such pointless decisions? If I required more time, I needed to prioritise.
I immediately decided to adopt a uniform. The colour of choice would be the most flattering and practical – black. The garments would be black tees, black hoodies, dark jeans, and trainers. Done. Was I having a mid-life crisis? Or was I trying to emulate the late Steve Jobs? No, I was just seeking efficiency. No, I was just seeking efficiency. Despite the bemusement of friends and family, I still think it is one of the best life decisions I have ever made : )
With my new wardrobe already established, when I was first told about Rapanui I was itching to purchase some of their products. In my rush to test my new theory, I had not considered the eco credentials of my existing purchases.
Ironically, it is for environmental reasons that several years have passed before making my first purchase – I wanted to wait until my existing items had worn out! Well, it has since been hinted by my wife that that time is long overdue.
My curiosity was increased further when researching Rapnui for my recent ebook – Surf through the Greenwash. Even if only half of what they stated on their website was true, they would still be way ahead of the rest. I have rarely read such thorough attention to detail concerning a company's own processes and those of its supply chain.
All of their products are organic, vegan, and taken back via free post at the end of their use to be turned into new garments. They will also accept 100% cotton clothing of any brand. To incentivise this behaviour and thank their customers for returning the clothes, they offer a discount on their next purchase. During production, 95% of the water used is recirculated and recovered. They have factories in India and the Isle of Wight, both of which are completely powered by renewable energy.
But that is not all. In the spinning factory, 2% of the cotton accumulates on the floor. This by-product is collected and used to create the paper for their packaging. Lastly, all Rapanui packaging is plastic-free.
Rapanui – Sustainable clothing
How are the products?
Rapanui is essentially a clothing store for staples. I would not recommend visiting if you are seeking a party outfit. As you would expect, the clothing, colours and models feel natural. It was great to see healthy people modelling the garments whilst still revealing their normal lumps and bumps. The website is easy to use and well-priced with tees costing around £7-8 in packs of 3 / 5 or 7. A particularly useful feature for most, but wasted on, is the option to select a mixture of colours in your pack. I ordered a 5-pack of tees, in black, and a hoodie for £35, also in black. My total order was £75 – over the £60 threshold – which entitled me to free delivery.
The delivery was relatively quick and when it arrived the awesome doodle-style illustration packaging brought a smile to my face. This looked just like the artwork produced by my eldest. They aim to encourage the recipient to reuse it, and I think it would work.
However, upon opening the pack I felt slightly underwhelmed, but I could not understand why. there were no labels, nice packaging or even branding on the garments. But then I realised – that's the whole point. They have dropped all of the unnecessary waste and focused solely on the product. Once this had dawned on me, my smile was back.
The organic cotton feels great, far better quality than the more expensive tees I had previously been wearing. The fit of the medium t-shirts was perfect, so they will be kept. I had selected the same size for the hoodie, but this was rather snug, more like a wet suit, so that would have to be returned.
Returning an item
This was a relatively simple process, although I did need to email them first to know where to look since I only wanted to return part of the order. After inserting my order number and contact details I was able to select which items I wanted to keep and change the details for the item I wished to return. Using the same bag, at the post office they simply scanned the QR code sent by Rapanui to print the return label. Job done!
I have rarely seen a company with such attention to detail regarding their eco credentials. Not only do they create eco friendly products of the highest quality, they are also affordable. This gives me faith that with the right mindset and drive, businesses can adopt a sustainability-led ethos and maintain a profit. Rapanui is a no-brainer.
If more companies could adopt just half of the practices employed by Rapanui, imagine what an impact that could make. It is possible to do things in a better way and move towards a circular economy. But to achieve this requires the will and desire from companies and a demand from consumers. Clothes have never been cheaper, but there is a point where the price is so low, that corners are being cut. Either workers, the environment or both are paying for it. Perhaps there should be a legal, minimum price for certain items. Should we be able to buy a T-shirt for just £2 that was made on the other side of the planet?
Let me know your thoughts – drop me a message. Alternatively, if you require help with your business, let's chat to discuss how Superfried can develop a bespoke design solution tailored to your needs – book a call.