Innovation That Matters

Crowdsourced company values in the clothing sector

Work & Lifestyle

Orin is a new activewear brand that is disrupting the clothing industry, asking the internet to make decisions on nearly every element of the company’s development from product to marketing.

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Springwise has seen an increase in innovations using crowdsourcing. In Mexico City, citizens were invited to contribute to the municipality’s new constitution, and in the US organisations are using crowdsourcing to gather data in areas as wide ranging as sex trafficking and interview questions for job seekers. Applying the process to yet another problem is Orin, a new sportswear brand which asked people to weigh in on the products and company ethos.

In August 2016, the US based startup opened an anonymous online survey, asking respondents to vote on three areas of the company’s development: the product; the manufacture; and the marketing. Those taking part could decide on which would be the first products to launch, choosing anything from sports bras to leggings. They could also vote on where production would be based, in the US, Colombia or Sri Lanka for example; the level of sustainability of the factory; and whether factory workers would receive minimum or living wage. Each of these decisions had an impact on the price which was updated in real-time on the survey page as voters made their decisions. As such, leggings manufactured in the US would retail for just over USD 40 more than the same pair manufactured in Sri Lanka. Finally, respondents were also asked to choose the race and body shape or the models used to advertise the products.

According to cofounder Kevin Chan, the idea for this extreme version of a “customer first” mentality came from watching certain mass-market brands move towards more transparency. Pointing to American Eagle Outfitters, which instituted its no-retouching pledge in 2014, Chan explains, “It’s a hypothesis I wanted to test.” Voters, who came largely via traffic at Refinery29, Business Insider and Yahoo, chose decisively in most cases. Perhaps disappointingly, an overwhelming 88% decided that workers should be paid the status quo, rather than the living wage. Would more information on the impact of lower wages have bridged this compassion gap and changed the vote?

Will we see the process of crowdsourcing company values applied to other government and corporate sectors?



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