Social innovation is at the heart of a sustainable fashion company that combined social purpose with ingenuity to overcome its most daunting challenge to date.
Anna Fiscale says her business is about two passions coming together: beautiful design and social innovation. Progetto Quid, an ethical and sustainable fashion company, takes high-quality textiles from high-end fashion brands—leftover fabric that would otherwise be discarded—and hands it instead to emerging designers who redevelop it into beautiful collections. Nearly all of Quid’s designers are women and many of them come from difficult pasts. “A major reason I started Progetto Quid was to stimulate a more inclusive labor market,” Anna says, “and we succeeded, growing to employ nearly 150 people across 16 countries in the span of just 7 years.”
While this was a major success for Anna, it did not represent the greatest challenge for her company. “For our young social enterprise, the most important challenge was being able to not just survive COVID-19 but actually emerge stronger,” Anna explains. “We did it by transforming limits into starting points for new opportunities—and digital tools were absolutely critical to our ability to do so.” Progetto Quid was forced to close all nine of its physical shops during the pandemic. Not only did this result in a huge financial loss for Anna’s company, but the way back did not seem very clear at first. “For many Italians, clothing is more than just something we wear—it’s something we want to experience. We want to touch it and fall in love with it before we buy it,” Anna explains, “There simply was not the same culture of online shopping here as in other countries.”
Limits placed before her, Anna set right to transforming them into opportunities. Progetto Quid created videos showcasing its collection for those who couldn’t see it in shops. These videos, which were broadcast on YouTube and across the company’s various social channels (including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram), became an effective way to tell Quid’s story of ethical sustainability and feature its employees—including some of their pets as recurring guests in the background. “It was a small way for people to have 15 minutes of joy during a pandemic,” Anna explains. “It also allowed them to develop a real connection with our brand and products, even from a distance.” These videos not only allowed more customers to feel comfortable buying Quid’s products online—they also became critical for getting the word out about the company’s newest product: a line of washable non-medical masks.
In just over two months, Quid received orders for over 700,000 items. Google Ads played a key role in helping to boost its visibility and drive these sales. “We have been using Google Ads for years and it has always been one of the main sources of traffic to our site,” Anna says. “That provides unparalleled visibility for us—especially during a pandemic.” Other digital tools proved critical as well. For instance, Quid’s social media networks and its Google My Business page all offered key channels for keeping up communication with customers and answering questions promptly. Google My Business even provided ways for customers to book appointments for a tailor-made shopping service Quid launched, which offered a reserved area of the store and a dedicated sales assistant for trying on garments safely.
“COVID-19 has been Progetto Quid’s greatest challenge so far, but we were able to overcome it by reinventing ourselves and taking advantage of the many digital capabilities available to us,” Anna concludes. “Today we’re optimistic and I’d say we’re ready to take on anything moving forward.”
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