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FORNY20-FORNY2020

STUD: Commercialization of a full-service circular business model (CBM) for influencers to establish and invest in sustainable brands

Alternative title: Kommersialisering av en fullservice sirkulær forretningsmodell for å etablere og investere i bærekraftige merkevarer sammen med influencere

Awarded: NOK 1.00 mill.

Influencer Brands offers a full-service circular business model (CBM) to help influencers establish and invest in sustainable clothing brands directly to the consumer (D2C). Influencers are described by the Cambridge Dictionary as "someone who influences or changes the way other people behave", and works mainly with marketing of other companies’ products through their social media channels. They have a major impact on customers' decision-making processes, whereas 56% of Generation Z and Millennials have purchased a product after being exposed to influencer marketing. Most influencer collaborations focus on financial returns by promoting fast-fashion products, rather than social and environmental aspects. This is a particular problem in the fashion industry - the second most polluting industry in the world. Furthermore, the government points out a critical knowledge gap between consumers and the lack of information about ethics and sustainability around the products they purchase. To close this gap, consumers must gain a better insight into the clothing brand's value chain and business model. Influencers are able to turn many of their followers into loyal customers by building trust in social media. This gives the influencer a great power in the consumer's buying process. In this way, influencers can contribute to a positive change in the fashion industry by establishing their own clothing brands with a circular business model that they promote to their followers. The team behind Influencer Brands from NTNU School of Entrepreneurship has thus developed a new full-service CBM solution where the team will help selected influencers to establish and scale their own sustainable D2C brands. Influencer Brands' goal is to build brands that provide long-term economic, social and environmental value, and that contribute to a more circular fashion and influencer industry. During the STUD-ENT period, the team has worked strategically to find and establish a close relationship with a new clothing manufacturer in Portugal for its first subsidiary, Shero. The team has visited the factory several times to ensure good ethical working conditions, as well as tested several sustainable materials to ensure good quality and functionality. During the project period, the team has everything ready for the launch of Shero by preparing a D2C online store, PR strategy, investor strategy and a community of 16,000 potential customers. The first brand will be launched in the Norwegian market in September 2022.

During the project, the CBM has been implemented in Influencer Brands first subsidiary, Shero, which will be launched in September 2022. The team has together with influencer Emilie Voe Nereng conducted several surveys from Nereng's 205 000 followers on social media showing that they demand more sustainable activewear, and find it difficult to gain information about ethical and sustainable aspects about the products they purchase. Additionally, the team has changed their production partner from China to Portugal in order to secure a more local and ethical production. Shero will offer more sustainable activewear made out of recycled plastic from the ocean. The fashion industry is still dominated by fast-fashion brands that over produce low-quality clothes every day. However, in order to change this trend, the end customer needs to request that the brands change the way they produce. Thus, by utilizing the power of the influencer in the buying process, Influencer Brands aims to create a shift in consumer demand for more ethically and sustainable clothes. Shero is the first brand in the portfolio, but within the next five years, Influencer Brands will hold 3-5 independent CBM brands, contributing to a greener and more sustainable fashion and influencer industry.

Funding scheme:

FORNY20-FORNY2020