After six years working at Amazon, Sydney Badger had bigger dreams than maximizing efficiency. But, she also had a black-belt in maximizing efficiency. Public Habit is the marriage of expert supply chain optimization and, that most human of things, soul.
Public Habit is a made-to-order clothing company specializing in high end wool and cashmere products. Fashion, as we know it, is built on a model of planned obsolescence: items either go out of style or break down, forcing the customer to continuously refresh their wardrobe and further perpetuating the wasteful machine of commerce. Sydney seeks to flip that model on its head by only making clothes after the consumer has ordered them, reducing returns, virtually eliminating overstocked inventory, and allowing for optimization of material use and supply chain dynamics by shipping directly from factory to consumer.
Sustainability is a many faceted concept, and as of yet, perfection is still an ambition rather than a crossable rubicon. Sydney sources her materials from high-quality farms in Mongolia and other Asian sources, and manufactures the garments in China. The shipping is by far the most costly (in environmental terms) aspect of the business. But she believes that if we can slightly change consumer preferences, scale up the business model, and reach a threshold of demand, than the processes of manufacturing which are currently only available in China can be re-created in domestically, cutting down on the travel time while keeping all the efficiency.
We're all in the process of progress together, and as someone famous once said (my money's still on Voltaire but the debate continuous), we can't let better the be enemy of good. Public Habit is showing the fashion industry how to create supply chains that reduce waste to the benefit of the collective good while itself always striving to do better, and in our book, that's damn fine work.
We interviewed Sydney on our sister podcast, Who's Saving the Planet. Check out the full interview here.