How Twoobs turned a damaged stock shipment into a sales boon
Melbourne-based Twoobs has turned a damaged shipment of nearly 3000 pairs of its distinctive shoes into a sales boon that has exceeded the startup’s targets, in an eco-friendly marketing masterclass for other SMEs dealing with stock bungles.
Twoobs is run by sisters Stef and Jess Dadon who tell SmartCompany they experienced a surge in growth during the last eight months and placed what Jess called the “largest shoe order to date” to bolster stock.
When the massive shipment arrived from the factory, however, around 55 per cent of the 2944 shoes had minor quality issues, she says, including “cosmetic imperfections like visible glue, creasing, smudges, and a scratch here or there”.
The pair were offered a refund by the factory, but were gutted when they realised that would mean the agonising prospect of tossing the massive shipment of eco-friendly shoes into landfill — something that goes against the ethos of the brand.
Twoobs, which launched in 2016, was built on foundational principles of sustainability as well as ethical practices towards animals. The entire line of Twoobs is made of lightweight lycra, vegan leather, and sugar cane, and includes recycled materials found at landfill.
When Twoobs customers are done with their shoes, the company will take the old pair back in order to transform them into brand new playground mats, even reimbursing the customer a cool $10 for their trouble.
So the savvy sisters and their small team of six turned the stock bungle into a marketing opportunity, launching OOPSYs — a campaign where the company came clean to customers about the quality issues of the shoes.
“We got creative, and despite never going on sale as a brand, we decided to sell the shoes at 25% off and be completely transparent with our customers about what had happened,” Jess says.
An EDM campaign to customers reads: “They’re still totally wearable and they look a little like they might after you’ve taken them out for a few spins, but we just didn’t feel right selling them at full price”.
Twoobs’ loyal customers responded in droves, with nearly 500 pairs of the damaged, discounted shoes sold in just four days, blowing the team’s sales targets away.
The Dadon sisters were overjoyed their come-clean marketing gamble paid off.
“We genuinely weren’t sure whether people would want to buy shoes that come with flaws, however minor they are,” Jess says.
“The discount obviously helps, but what we’re hearing from customers is that they’re really excited by the idea of buying shoes that would’ve otherwise ended up in landfill.”
Customers welcomed the discounted price too — it’s not something Twoobs normally does, because “we don’t want to create urgency through a slashed price and pressuring customers into buying things they don’t need,” Jess explains.
“Instead, we price our shoes fairly, and design long-lasting shoes that aren’t going out of fashion next season.
“For us, sustainability runs way deeper than just our product design, and with the average person buying around 8 pairs of shoes per year, encouraging people to buy less is a really important part of the conversation.”
Jess says she hopes other businesses will take inspiration from Twoobs’ transparent approach, saying the campaign proved that a bottom line and sustainable practices can coexist, not to mention create goodwill among customers for the brand.
“When we come up with creative solutions to climate-related issues, more often than not we see positive flow-on effects for our business as a whole,” Jess says.
“This idea that it’s possible for purpose and profit to sit equally as drivers of a company is something we aim to inspire other businesses with.”
This story was originally published on Smart Company.