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Aug 20, 2020

WWD: Behind TechStyle’s New Recurring Donation Program

TechStyle is combining its precision in inventory management with corporate social responsibility

by Kaley Roshitsh | Aug 20th, 2020

TechStyle Fashion Group, which owns the brands Fabletics, Savage x Fenty, JustFab, ShoeDazzle and FabKids, this week unveiled an ongoing partnership with product philanthropy partner Good360.

About $1.5 million worth of JustFab and ShoeDazzle apparel will kick off the new recurring partnership, which TechStyle views as part of its ongoing plans to lessen its environmental footprint with an eye toward philanthropy.

“Based on our projections, tens of thousands of units will be donated monthly from across our brands,” Meera Bhatia, president of expert services at TechStyle, told WWD.

To date Good360 has distributed more than $9 billion in donated goods worldwide via its network of more than 90,000 prequalified nonprofits. The nonprofit is also partner to Walmart, American Eagle Outfitters, Mattel, Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co., among others.

As retailers and brands search for ways to free up warehouses of excess new inventory during challenging times — be it instances like a resale linkage or philanthropy — environmental awareness can drive decisions that have multiple beneficiaries.

But as industry outliers have pointed out, effective inventory management and supply chain due diligence should be a given.

“The partnership with Good360 isn’t limited to just returns — excess new inventory is also donated,” Bhatia said. “Our membership model by design gives us a leg up when it comes to the issue of excess inventory, because it allows us to predict demand very accurately. Our ability to limit unsold product to levels far lower than industry averages is something we’ve always been really proud of, especially right now. Returns will make up the bulk of the donation, but unsold product will be part of the mix,” she added.

Like the rest of the industry, the group has had to adjust “every aspect of our 2020 strategy,” in the words of Bhatia, and it has taken the opportunity to strengthen its e-commerce presence and capitalize on its established categories in athleticwear and intimates.

Bhatia said no COVID-19-related layoffs were made and the 700 sales associates were able to be re-allocated based on needs.

“We now view our retail staff as omni-associates, and are exploring opportunities for them to continue supporting the company beyond the sales floor. For now, the initiative offers them job security in the event of more closures, while expanding their skillset,” Bhatia added.

In light of racial injustices, TechStyle this year hired its first head of diversity and inclusion alongside other measures such as upping employee-wide training and pledging financial support of causes addressing racism.