Sarah LaFleur’s Ten-Year Goals and 2023 Commitments for M.M.LaFleur
Our Founder & CEO shares her hopes, dreams, and plans.
January 1, 2023 marks M.M.LaFleur’s ten-year anniversary. We’ve been through a lot since my co-founders, Miyako Nakamura and Narie Foster, and I hit publish on our ecommerce website at 3am on January 1st. The rest was not history, but rather, one winding, exciting, anxiety-inducing, and often heartbreaking journey, some of which I had the opportunity to share with Guy Raz on “How I Built This.”
I am so thankful that M.M. made it through the past two and a half years of the pandemic. In truth, there were times when I wondered if we would go out of business. But thanks to you, we made it. So for that, and for all of your continuous support over the years—thank you.
Knowing that we have the opportunity to stay in business when so many companies don’t, I’m even more motivated to make the next decade count. We’ll make it count by continuing to design products that genuinely improve the lives of our customers. We’ll make it count by rethinking the way we partner with our manufacturers so that more women can earn a living wage. We’ll make it count by empowering the women on our team to build an even better company.
Recently, a dear friend of mine introduced me to the concept of writing a “press release” from the future. So, I took her advice and decided to write one for M.M.LaFleur in 2033.
I shared this with my team back in October, and today, I’ve decided to share it with you, our customers. It’s a vulnerable thing, revealing your pie-in-the-sky dreams to hundreds of thousands of people, but saying our goals out loud is a way of holding myself accountable. So below, find my dream 2033 “press release,” followed by our commitments for this coming year.
Our 2023 Commitments
For the past two years, we’ve had the privilege of working with sustainability advisory firm Eleven Radius to develop a long-term sustainability roadmap based on The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. After an extensive review process with our team and consultants, we homed in on three areas where we believe our company can have the greatest impact. Here are our three objectives and the projects we’re working on right now.
Starting in 2023, we’re taking a bold new step: Going forward, we are committed to donating 10% of our yearly profits to organizations that support and promote the success of women. We’ll share the recipients of these funds in early 2024.
How You Can Help
- Learn about our partner organizations and their missions, and consider donating to them if you’re able to do so.
- Where possible, shop with companies that work closely with their suppliers and pay fair wages throughout their supply chains.
- If you’re an executive or an HR professional at your company and are interested in learning more about how you can institute pay and leveling transparency, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That said, we also understand that wardrobes, dress codes, and sizes evolve over time, and at some point, you may end up with an M.M.LaFleur piece you no longer need. We’re committed to providing customers with easy ways to responsibly get rid of clothes once you’re done with them. In 2021, we launched Second Act, a customer-to-customer resale marketplace that allows you to seamlessly buy and sell pre-loved M.M. clothing (here’s why resale is the most responsible way to get rid of unwanted clothing). For non-M.M. pieces, we also have a partnership with thredUP, where you can resell, donate, or recycle your items. Here’s what’s next on our list.
- By the end of 2023: Further improve fit standardization and provide more fit guidance on our website to reduce shipments back and forth to our warehouse.
- By the end of 2023: Provide customers with detailed instructions on responsible garment recycling.
As of now, we’ve converted 50% of our core fabrics to preferred materials, including Recycled WonderTex, Eco Soft Wave, Better Than Denim, Eco Heavy Crepe, and Washable Silk. 70% of our inventory is shipped from our factories to our warehouse by boat, rather than by plane, which is significantly more fuel-efficient and thus reduces the carbon footprint of each garment. And in 2020, we transitioned to flat-pack shipping from our factories to our warehouse, which takes up less transit space and requires fewer cartons. Additionally, we take care to use recycled materials in our packaging when possible: Our hangtags are made from 100% recycled paper; the polybags used to ship from our factories are biodegradable; and our bubble mailers are made with 50% recycled materials and take up less transit space than cardboard boxes. Here’s what we’re working on next.
- By June of 2023: Establish list of products to convert to preferred materials.
- By the end of 2023: Introduce more transparency around our materials and where they come from, including sharing factory information with our customers.
- By 2026: Convert 100% of our highest-selling fabrics to preferred materials.
- By 2030: Convert 100% of our fabrics to preferred materials.
- By 2030: Become climate-neutral.
- Ongoing: Work with Fabscrap to divert fabric scraps made during the development process from landfills.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- When you shop, look for garments that use preferred materials, such as recycled fibers, organic materials, and biodegradable materials.
- Shop with brands that offer details around their fabrics and textile waste practices.