Minna Bedretdin (on the right) through Saga Furs Fox2shop project helps small- and medium-sized fur retailers expand their product mix and appeal to a younger consumer base. Minna photographed with one of the Finnish partners Anna Ruohonen.
“People don’t know what to wear anymore!” laments Minna Bedretdin, Project Manager, Concepts and Collections at Saga Furs. “Some socially conscious shoppers no longer want faux fur as it’s made from petrochemicals and doesn’t biodegrade, others are drawn to real fur as the natural ecological choice, but they worry about animal welfare.” Meanwhile, the Vegan lifestyle movement wants to ban all animals in production. Last year leather was pulled from Helsinki Fashion Week, with the future possibility of cashmere, wool, and silk to follow.” With so many opinions around about what’s sustainable and what’s not, Bedretdin is not surprised that today’s fashion consumers increasingly want facts.
Fluent in six languages, fur and fashion expert, Bedretdin, is well positioned to promote Finnish fox fur to small- and medium-sized retailers across Europe. “But it’s not the fur product I’m selling it’s the storytelling behind it,” she stresses. “In this case, the Saga Furs sustainability story. And the retailers are thanking me for it!” So much so that the company is responding to demand by developing a tailored sustainability package, which will give frontline sales people access to easy to understand facts on Saga Furs’ sustainability actions.
Sustainability package for retailers
“You could call it a cheat sheet designed to bring retail brands up to speed on all Saga sustainability issues and actions,” Bedretdin explains.
Bedretdin’s 40 partner brands in fashion, ranging from outdoor brands selling parkas with fur trim and family-run furrier businesses to the global retail giants, all overwhelmingly want sustainability.
“Some even see it as their license to operate,” says Bedretdin, “and Saga Furs as an industry frontrunner can give it to them.” The way Bedretdin sees it, retailers selling off the rack fur products are looking to become more proficient in telling the story behind their products in order to satisfy their own customers.
Before Bedretdin’s Fox2Shop programme took off, her customers dealt mostly in mink or used no fur at all. By bringing fox and Finnraccoon to the retail distribution channel, through Saga Furs, these companies are already been able to expand and modernise their product mix, which in turn, has broadened their appeal to a younger consumer base. According to Bedretdin, demand for Saga-certified fox fur generally comes from a younger fashion set, as does demand for sustainability.
“Millennial shoppers still want fur,” Bedretdin asserts, “but sustainability must be an absolute guarantee.”
Saga is the only fur seller in the industry with its own proprietary farm management certification system, regularly assessing, auditing and documenting farmer operations across the board. Saga only sells fox fur sourced from certified farms.
“We’re very proud of the Saga farm certification programme, not least, because it answers so many questions for our customers,” says Bedretdin. “Their customers want to know above all that our farmer suppliers have the highest standards of animal welfare and that the environment is being taken care of.”
Saga’s unique traceability system a top talking point
With fashion customers increasingly demanding higher levels of transparency Saga’s unique traceability systems (STS) has also been something retailers want to show to consumers. Saga leads the fur industry in product traceability, with only Saga certified pelts being traceable to their country and farm of origin, using STS.
One-stop shop for sustainability education.
When launched, the Saga sustainability package will be a leave-behind to go with the in-person question and answer sessions Bedretdin regularly holds during customer sales visits. She also has a direct channel through to Saga’s Finnish fox farmer suppliers and can offer customer farm visits.
As part of their hands-on education, Saga Furs partnership program offers inspiration in design and education in craftmanship, based on our strong heritage and long-time collaboration with top fashion brands. Many of the Fox2Shop partners and designers have made visits to the Saga Design Centre in Copenhagen. Here the artisans are always exploring new techniques for zero waste in the design and cutting of fur raw materials.
“The fashion value chain as an ecologically-driven circular economy is a good story to tell,” says Bedretdin. “It has everything from reducing environmental waste by making animal by-products to the reusability of our end products. For example, a fur garment can be repaired, remodelled, resold and recycled, from one generation to the next.”