Socializing the Supply Chain - Gauthereau Group

Hershey’s is moving to independently sourced rainforest-friendly cocoa - at least for its its Bliss line of chocolate - but it took two years of Facebook campaigning, 50,000 signatures on a petition, 100,000 letters from concerned customers, and finally threat of a Super Bowl ad to finally pressure the chocolate giant to change its practices. McDonald’s is phasing out gestation crates and pink slime after similar consumer activism campaigns was too loud and too persistent to ignore.

Social media cynics doubt the value of hitting the “Like” button on Facebook, but these are clear signs that the collective value of the consumer voice has hit an unprecedented pitch, albeit in the form of clicks and tweets.

Before the internet, brands owned their own voice. They wrote it on the packaging, in TV ads, on billboards. In the social media era, brands don’t own their own voice anymore and that’s just a reality. Social media is making consumers too loud and organized to ignore, and they’re demanding a level of transparency big brands have never had to reckon with.

So they can try to spend a lot of money trying to control their voice and hide behind marketing campaigns or they can say, “this is who we are and this is what we stand for.”

The cool thing is that it’s no longer about pretending to be perfect or convincing you a sip of Nestle Quik will take you to chocolate powder paradise. In the social media era, it’s more important to be just be honest.

Patagonia exemplifies this shift in brand thinking. They aren’t the most organic or the most green retailer, but they’re extremely clear about the way they do things. Should they go fair trade? Make their clothes in the US or somewhere else? They open the door to their customers to tell them what’s important. Nobody’s perfect, but let’s have a dialogue, let’s have a conversation about it. This is nothing short of a revolution.

At Totsy, not every brand we sell is 100% fair trade or 100% organic cotton, but we give as much space as possible to brands that are working hard to have better supply chains because it’s important to us.

There’s a social side to our supply chain values as well. For toys we feature on, the whole goal is to promote products that develop or improve or encourage interaction between kids and parents. We promote more wooden puzzles than video games, to give two extreme examples, and we won’t sell toy guns. Is it something a kid can play with siblings or parents? Does it encourage education? Is it bringing more value than just a toy product?

For other products, like makeup and heels and sexy underwear for little girls - we refuse to sell those brands. There’s a time when you’re a kid, and there’s a time you’re adult. Under seven years old is definitely the time when you’re a kid. Maybe some parents wouldn’t take issue if we sold these products, but we feel that we have a voice here and it’s important.

You can buy anything you want on the internet, so you don’t need Totsy to do what Amazon already did for shopping. For parents in particular, they’re usually discovering brands they didn’t know about because they didn’t have a child before, so there’s an education process behind what we feature. We curate very highly and only sell 15 new brands a day, but we make sure you never miss out on the best brands.

We have a very clear set of values for what makes a brand the best, and we make sure we don’t even promote products that are not aligned with those values.

A full 30% of new customers find Totsy by word of mouth, social networks or the blogosphere. We think that’s a testament that Totsy moms like what we stand for. Read about Totsy being green and tell us what you think on our Totsy Facebook page.

Want to take our site for a stroll? We plant a tree in honor of your child with your first purchase.