We all wear clothes every day. Our clothes are our second skin and part of our identity. But at the same time, the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Finding sustainable clothing is not always easy.
Niki De Schryver, sustainable entrepreneur at heart, therefore designed the online tool COSH! The aim is to offer a more sustainable alternative to everyone who is aware of the pollution and problems linked to 'fast fashion'.
Concretely, COSH! is a brand new online search platform that guides consumers in their search for sustainable, ethical clothing. Shoppers will find a clear overview of the sustainability characteristics of clothing brands and can search for sustainable(er) fashion within their style and budget. Sustainable shopping does become easy here.
Furthermore, COSH also makes itself available for sustainability advice to retailers and for press releases of new sustainable brands.
COSH! grew from an app to a complete, user-friendly online platform that helps consumers, without effort, make much more conscious and sustainable choices when physically shopping.
COSH! clearly presents the sustainability characteristics of clothing brands, focusing on materials, working conditions and circularity. Shoppers can easily find sustainable clothing in their style and budget, and can even download a customised sustainable shopping route.
People discover sustainable brands from Belgium and the Netherlands and their local sales outlets. There is already a 'transparency index' for large international brands (Rank a Brand method), but this is paid for by the brands themselves ...
Thanks to the platform and networking, we also received many consultancy requests: more and more brands and retailers see the importance of switching to more sustainable products and want to be advised on this.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
COSH! was initially an app with AI, but then pivoted to an online platform. The budgets for AI are much higher than the subsidy budgets. By making that switch, we overcame a technological barrier and were able to make a big go of it.
Getting retailers to buy into an innovative story is not easy. Sometimes it feels like we have to compete with governments: some brands think they can get the support COSH! offers them for free from city services or civil society organisations.
Our collaboration with Studio Cojak came to an unexpected end. This caused problems in the newly formed COSH! team, resulting in major delays. Now we have learned our lesson: we consist of a fixed and better structured team and wrote a clear internal code of conduct.
Entrepreneurship is hard, busy and requires a lot of perseverance. As an entrepreneur, you have to be strong, have faith in the process and keep on planning, even if those plans then change. It remains a difficult balancing act to keep all the balls in the air.
1online search platform
220sustainable brands from BE and NL
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Thanks to this project, COSH! was able to grow and develop into the user-friendly online platform that it is today. After we decided to turn the application into an online platform, COSH! made a real breakthrough and we now have paying customers. However, to date, these are still not enough customers to break even. With a little more budget, we could grow from start-up to scale-up.