As a result, Fair Indigo is able to keep its merchandise prices in line with other catalog sellers of casual apparel. For instance, a women’s silk faux cami top sells for $49, while both a women’s cotton denim jacket and a men’s cotton utility jacket cost $79.
But Do Customers Care?
Like hybrid cars or fair trade coffee, a good portion of Fair Indigo customers shop the company’s catalog, Web site and store in support of the marketer’s cause. “The biggest thing here is that this market basically doesn’t exist,” Bass says. “[But] there are customers out there who are socially conscious and care about people in factories.” The company’s targeted audience is women, ages 30 to 50, with an average household income approaching $100,000.
Generating awareness for its cause requires a steady dose of reinforcement. The catalog’s entire inside front cover explains its story and what fair trade means. It also provides a detailed description of how the cataloger chooses the “best, most ethical factories around the world,” showing four photos of mostly happy-looking workers making clothes.
Then, scattered on about a quarter of the 40 pages of the catalog are testimonials (including photos), not from customers, but from factory workers. One worker from a co-op factory says, “I hope to use my profit-sharing money to pursue a science degree.” Another says, “I like knowing that my efforts are appreciated in the countries where the products I make are sold.” And still others contain complete, four-paragraph stories along the outside page margins of happy factory workers in locations such as Shatoujiao, China.
“What stands out about Fair Indigo is the level of customer-centricity throughout the organization,” observes Sam Decker, chief marketing officer for BazaarVoice, a supplier of outsourced technology to harness online word of mouth that counts Fair Indigo as a client. “The company has an outside-in focus on the customer, which seems to shape everything it does.”