Tale Me is a daring product-service model for children's clothes
In a past life, the Brussels-based fashion designer Anne Balez worked as a sustainability consultant and has always been passionate about fashion. When she became a mother to two children, her focus shifted to top quality, locally produced clothing for babies and toddlers. This clothing was not always easy to get hold of and was also very expensive. Designers often also found it difficult to deliver small quantities.
"Young children often grow so quickly, their clothes can't keep up"
2012 was the year in which she noticed the online emergence of the sharing-economy. This gave her the idea to rent clothes instead of selling them. Just like every young parent, she was alarmed by how quickly small children grow out of their clothes. They often have certain items that they only wear a few times.
"It's such a shame because this makes many parents opt for low-price and often less sustainably produced clothing."
In 2014, she started Tale Me. She works with designers on her own productions with small-scale studios in Belgium, France and Portugal. She then buys these batches and rents them out online. She also works with designers on developing her own collections which she then has made in Belgium, the Netherlands, or Portugal.
"Materials, assembly and finish must all be tailored to a long life-expectancy and she also maintains an overview of quality throughout the production process."
During the design phase, the focus is on the suitability of the garment for repair. When it comes to a choice of materials, they usually work with linen and biocotton from Turkey and eucalyptus fibres from Portugal.
As a customer, you can choose between two subscription formats. One which costs EUR 20 per month and you receive a package selected by Tale Me, and one which costs EUR 28 per month and you can put your own package together. For this, you receive five lovely items of clothing that you can keep for two to three months, depending on the age of your child. Customers are recruited at small trade fairs in Brussels. Today, there are 75. The intention is to grow to 800 customers by the end of 2015. To support this expansion, Tale Me has taken on three colleagues.
In order to set up Tale Me, Anne Balez was provided with a great deal of strategic support from 'Impulse Brussels', an organisation which helps young entrepreneurs to change their ideas into concrete realities. Tale Me was also selected for the European Commission's CIP Eco-innovation programme. The investment fund applauds her innovative and sustainable business practices and will provide financial support with the development of Tale Me for the coming three years. Tale Me has also been awarded the Sustainable Impact Award from Tridos bank.