Retail operations in the world of fashion, have been on the wheels of evolution and revolution.
With each passing year comes new series of approaches to the antics of connecting various products, merchandise, and services to their target audience, customers, or consumers.
Over the years, a lot of companies have emerged with the vision of restructuring the face of the retail business in the clothing industry. While most of them reached notable landmarks, others were caught up in the web of customers’ satisfaction.
In this article, you have the chance of reading through the story and impact of two notable retail establishments; the Everlane and Uniqlo companies. And also get to see them get placed in comparison and contrast.
Major Difference between Everlane and Uniqlo
The major difference between the Everlane and Uniqlo brands is in their mode of operation and target audience or customers.
Business for Everlane revolves around the walls of the internet, as they are principally an online store that has a resounding presence in the retail business.
All their products and merchandise can only be procured if you have an internet connection to visit their site.
In contrast, Uniqlo has many physical stores all over Japan, and Asian countries with sub-quarters in top-tier countries like America.
Also, the target audience is another dynamic that differentiates these two fashion heads from the other.
While Everlane has its eyes on the theme of Ethical fashion, which covers a wide array of long-lasting basics; Uniqlo, on the other hand, is poised on producing merchandise that has the potential of matching up against the trend of the time.
Their product description refers to this phenomenon as the production of timely clothing.
Though these two companies are both on the retail path which is a striking similarity, they are different in a whole lot of things.
They are also producers of clothing and other related accessories, while still dishing their retail function on a large scale.
Other differences that are worth considering are the company’s place of policy execution or headquarters. Everlane has its head office in San Francisco County, California, USA.
Conversely, Uniqlo has its headquarters in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Also on the disparities, Uniqlo is a subsidiary retail company from the branch of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd.; whereas Everlane is a company on its own, operating as a singular entity since its inception in 2010.
Brief History of Everlane
The Everlane retail company came to be in existence in 2010, after the intellectual marriage between founders Michael Preysman and Jesse Farmer.
For the records, Michael Preysman is the frontline pioneer of the company which gives him the position of CEO even to date.
The clothing retailer of American origin has its Headquarters in San Francisco, California, and has its website (https://everlane.com/) as its major dispense outlet.
The company is an e-commerce retail company, which explains why it does not have a physical store where you can walk into and place your orders.
Due to this modus operandi, the company runs a type of direct-to-customer service from its early days as a major retailer for men’s wear, until date.
Everlane has a vision and mission, which Michael Preysman envisioned and tried to establish as a start-up retail company.
The company had an appealing marketing and sales strategy that gives its customers the opportunity to see how much it costs to get a single item through the production window and the company’s mark-up price.
What they intend to achieve with this strategy is a more transparent purchasing formula, which allows its consumers to pick a price effect from 3 different price variations for a particular product.
The retail giant parades itself as a company that recognizes the importance of environmental sanity and acts by containing industrial waste and pollution.
They present themselves as a company that is conscious of natural materials and recycling, shunning the use of any form of synthetic materials in their production.
To actualize this, Everlane launched a series of merchandise that was made from recycled industrial waste; like their ReNew clothing (24th October 2018) made from over 3 million recycled plastic bottles.
Additionally, the DayGlove ReKnit shoes released afterward were equally made from recycled plastic bottles.
The products offered by Everlane include both Men’s and Women’s basics, shoes, clothing, bags, and accessories.
And the best part of all these is that the company offers you luxury-quality products at super affordable prices while offering you timeless styles.
And also saves you from the mark-ups of the middle man, who would probably want to maximize profit by hiking prices artificially.
Brief History of Uniqlo
The history of the Uniqlo retail company is full of thrills, drama, and growth. But the company did not get here by just being a regular retail store; they did it through consistent and strategic growth.
Uniqlo is a Japanese retail clothing company whose existence can be traced back to 1949, to a store founded under the name of Ogori Shoji by Tadashi Yanai, in Ube, Japan.
There were many rounds of transitioning from being a store to a clothing line with the moniker of Unique Clothing Warehouse, down to its establishment as a corporate company on the 2nd of September, 1974 named Sun Road Co., Ltd and then Uniqlo Co. Ltd on Nov 1st, 2005.
The retail giant got its name from an unprecedented occurrence that transpired in 1988, during its registration as a full corporate retail company with the name ‘UNI-CLO’.
The administration staff in charge of the registration process misspelled the ‘C’ as ‘Q’, and the founder Tadashi Yanai decided to retain the mistaken misspelling as the real name of the company all over its branches in Japan.
Uniqlo also encountered another evolution when its parent company Ogori Shoji switched to be addressed as the Fast Retailing Company in September 1991.
By April 1994, Uniqlo already had to its name over 100 stores in Japan and close Asian countries like China, leading to its massive growth and expansion.
A lot of people question why Uniqlo is preferred to other retail companies in their league, and I will draw the answer to that question from a marketing strategy that was played by the company.
During the Japanese recession of 1990, people found it difficult to change apparel or update their wardrobe, but instead of Uniqlo seeing the economic downturn as a threat to sales, they leveraged it to write their name in gold in the clothing retail business.
The company took over the designing, production, and distribution of its merchandise to customers in an exclusive form.
What they adopted as an execution plan is known as SPA (Special-store of Private Label Apparel), which involves overseeing the production process from the scratch.
Uniqlo now turned to China for the production of their products, knowing that there will be a lesser cost of production incurred. With these strategies, the company was able to offer products that were both affordable and of great quality.
To pursue more grounds in the international market, Uniqlo sought after the European scene but it did not pan out well for them on the first trial.
Since they had smart minds within their marketing team, the company figured out that their approach was not good enough, and they turned to the media, designers, and celebrities to re-strategize.
The new move came out as a success and they opened more stores in Hong Kong, South Korea, and the USA, including their London store which was rejuvenated due to the strategy.
Currently, Uniqlo operates in about 16 countries, with stores scattered all over the world. They offer high-quality, modern clothing that has a universal design while using authentic natural materials in their production process.
Uniqlo’s goal is to unify the design, manufacturing, distribution, and retail factors of its establishment.
They are also poised to produce items that are harmonious with nature, using the All-product Recycling Initiative while maintaining a strong connection with partners.
Everlane vs Uniqlo: Head-to-Head Comparison
|Head-quarters||San Francisco, California, USA||Minato, Tokyo, Japan|
|Founder (s)||Michael Preysman and Jesse Farmer||Tadashi Yanai|
|Industry||Clothing Retail||Clothing Retail|
|Parent Company||None||Fast Retailing|
|Mode of Operation||E-commerce||Physical stores|
|Product Type||Ethical Fashion||Trend Fashion|
|Production Materials||Recycled Industrial waste; e.g. Rubber bottles||Premium natural materials.
After the long stride along history and memory lane, which took you back to where it started; it is now time to put these two retail giants on the scale of comparison.
I will be comparing Everlane and Uniqlo retail brands judging on some basis, from their vision as a brand, their mission as a retail company, and other interesting factors worth mentioning.
These factors include;
Vision and Mission
Everlane has a very clear vision about what it intends to achieve with its inventory system in the retail business.
This vision is to be able to create a direct channel between the consumer and producer, thereby closing in on the middlemen who are responsible for most price hikes of commodities.
And their mission statement reads meaning to all of these as they sought to design a retailing formula that is based upon the consumer’s choice of expenditure.
That is to say that, you get the commodity based on the ratio of quality per cost. Given their three pricing format, you get to make purchases based on your budget and the quality of the product which your money can afford.
On the other side of the scale, Uniqlo is bent on building a retailing empire through the massive campaign and territorial establishment in various countries and places.
Their vision and mission reek of expansion, they are more concerned about expanding outside the shores of Japan that they had to cut down on the production cost, a factor that results in affordable products.
Just like Everlane, Uniqlo has its eyes on reshaping the retail status quo, by offering affordable products with high quality.
Mode of Operation
The world is fast embracing the digital way of doing things, and I believe Everlane understood the assignment which is reflected in their operation as an e-commerce retail store.
The company limits all its activities to the internet, and everything stays digital. Both the payment format, product selection, and company’s contact are powered by electronic and Artificial Intelligence.
The only physical outlet of the company is its administrative office in San Francisco, California, USA; which foresees all the happenings on its website. With this inventory, they operate using the direct-to-customer formula of retailing.
It is a different story for Uniqlo, which has a lot of stores all over the world. A recent survey that I conducted shows that the retail giant has over 1,000 stores in more than 20 countries of the world.
All these stores are open for the purchase and any other form of merchandise. Though the brand has a website, it is not as inclined as Everlane in the internet space, because Everlane’s co-founder Jesse Farmer has a good profile in tech-related fields.
For their mode of operation, Uniqlo uses the SPA (Special-store of Private Label Apparel) format. This formula entails the overseeing production process from scratch to finishing.
Before considering Everlane, I will talk about the market value and cost of products from Uniqlo, which is a bigger brand and name. Uniqlo presents clothing items that are simple but matches the trend of the moment.
They do this while observing their quality and this they do by outsourcing most of their products to countries like China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh where the cost of production is very low.
This makes their products to be very cheap, that you can even get a t-shirt for as low as $14-15.
Similarly, Everlane also offers cheap and pocket-friendly products but with a higher taste of quality.
This makes their products a tad more expensive than the Uniqlo ones which are poorly made in some low-cost Chinese industries. You can buy an Everlane-made T-shirt for $35-$45.
The recycling process of reusing industrial waste, thrift clothes, or just plastic to make clothing materials and accessories has proven to be efficient for years.
At least, Everlane company issues out clothes mostly made from recycled waste like plastic bottles and other disposables.
The production process used for these commodities ensures that they are made into their finest forms to show the efficiency of using recycled disposables in the textile industry. This places the products made by Everlane on the pedestal of quality merchandise.
On the other hand, Uniqlo has been known for outsourcing the manufacturing of its products to low-cost industries in countries like China, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
These industries are already notorious for producing substandard products because of the low cost, and Uniqlo utilized them in establishing its affordable products in the Japanese market during the 1990 recession.
Although the quality has improved, they are still nowhere close to Everlane in the production of quality goods.
Even though these two brands are renowned for their retail services, their impact on the clothing industry via the production and design of clothing cannot be left without applause.
Uniqlo was established formally as a company that deals in men’s clothing lines known as the ‘Men’s Shop Os’.
But gradually, it spread its wings to embrace other apparel including those for women and even children. But no matter what their product is, it was always meant to be sold at a highly pocket-friendly cost.
For Everlane it has always been an all-around fashion item for them. Their interest ranges from shoes to bags, clothing, and even other accessories which could add value to your closet and also make you stand out whenever you step out.
These items were sold directly to the customers without them having to pass through a middle man, who would probably want to maximize profit by increasing the cost artificially.
To grade these two brands on the levels of luxury depends on what you perceive luxury to be. If a luxury brand for you is that brand that is priced the highest in the store, then these two are not luxury brands.
But if luxury for you is getting affordable goods with decent quality, then they are luxury brands. On that note, I will credit these two brands with the luxury tag because they portray what is now known as affordable luxury.
They offer you luxury-quality goods at an unbelievable price. Therefore, of their effort in quality and their simple, timeless designs, they are both luxury brands.
I mentioned Uniqlo being in the race with other brands on new fashion upgrades and it is not a farce. It is true because that is the case with the style of Uniqlo.
They are surged in making designs that speak volumes of simplicity, yet these products are presented in such a way that they match up with the trends of the moment.
This is the reason they are known as a fast-fashion brand, always evolving with the newest thing in town.
Unlike Everlane whose product mission is based on the concept of ‘Ethical Fashion’, which is a phenomenon that relates to clothing items that are made to stand the test of time.
These items are made with the intent of promoting durability, which explains why the company resorts to the use of recycled plastic and rubber materials due to their durable lifespan.
Everlane was launched in 2010, and it was co-founded by two Americans who are still on the hem of affairs today. The company has no parent company nor is it a subsidiary or break-off of any company or enterprise.
It was established as intellectual property of its founders Michael Preysman and Jesse Farmer, as the former retains the position of the CEO.
However, Uniqlo is wholly owned by Fast Retailing Co., Ltd, which is their parent company. The company covers its representative functions while Uniqlo delegates on issues regarding its brand by itself.
I don’t know if this should even be debated, but I won’t spare you the gist.
Although Everlane occupies the internet space more than Uniqlo, and they are expected to have more outreach due to the influx of people on the internet; they are still way behind Uniqlo in terms of brand popularity.
Uniqlo actively pushes its campaign in over 15 countries of the world and is still moving on for more.
They have stores all over the world and this gives them an edge at fame over the Everlane Company.
Also, Uniqlo started as a long line of companies as back as the 40s, it should have more recognition than Everlane which only launched about a decade ago.
Years back Uniqlo was tagged as one of the companies which endorsed child labor and were coercing people to work for them in under-developed countries in Asia, under unfavorable conditions.
These industries were termed Sweatshops, and it shows how far the company had to go to secure low-cost products. Although the practice hasn’t been heard or noticed lately, it did taint their image.
Similarly, Everlane also had its share of industrial action amongst its workers, leading to an unethical downsizing. The act has left a lot of people giving a bad review of the work culture and environment of the company.
My finding from examining the Everlane and Uniqlo brands shows that they are both credible and poised to serve their customers with quality goods at low prices.
On that note, I would choose the Everlane brand as a better retail company than Uniqlo because of its contribution to environmental health and the use of recycled materials for production.
This is where I draw the curtain on this expedition of history and comparison between the Everlane and Uniqlo retail brands.
And my last words would be to tell you that what this article just did is to give you pointers, the choice to decide lies in your hands.
But I must commend Everlane for going digital which is the big thing currently, and I enjoin you to key in too.