What is it? Sojo is an app-based service that connects customers with seamstresses and tailors in their area. Through the app, customers can find a seamster in their area, view pricing, and place their orders for alterations or repairs. Sojo bicycle riders then collect the item and bring it to the tailor where it is fixed to be delivered back to the customer.
Why is this important? The fast fashion business model leads to the production of vast amounts of garments with short life spans and low prices, oftentimes under difficult conditions for the workers (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017). The fashion industry is a large emitter of greenhouse gases with the new production of clothing accounting for 10% of global carbon emissions (McFall-Johnsen, 2021). At the same time as production and consumption increases, clothing is heavily underutilized in the mainstream fast fashion system and the average number of wears of a garment has decreased by 36% in 15 years (Ellen MacArthur, 2017). Buying second-hand clothing is a more sustainable alternative but can be difficult as clothing available in second-hand shops and online sales might not be the right fit for the customer but the skills to alter or repair clothing might be lacking (Sojo, 2021a).
Main resource strategy: Slowing the loop through extending clothing life by altering and repairing clothes to make them fit and give them a second life.
Business model aspects:
- Value Proposition: Sojo is an app-based pick-up and delivery service that facilitates clothing repairs and alterations by connecting customers to local tailors. By entering their postcode, customers can find seamsters in their area and view their background story as well as exemplary pricing (Sojo, 2021b). By enabling repairs and alterations, clothing that might not fit can be altered, making reuse easier and avoiding the need to buy new clothes or the disposal of older garments.
- Value Creation & Delivery: Currently operational in zones 1 and 2 of London only, Sojo runs an app that features tailors local to the customer, presenting their story and example pricing (Sojo, 2021c). The customer choses the repair or alteration needed and the item is picked up by a bike courier to be delivered to the tailor. It is altered or repaired and returned within 5 working days (Sojo, 2021c). Tailors that want to join the service are selected and onboarded by Sojo (Sojo, 2021c).
- Value Capture: The costs of repair depend on the tailor’s pricing rate. Sojo takes a 30% commission on the orders processed to cover the customer recruit, processing of payments, infrastructure, guarantees, etc. (Sojo, 2021c). A delivery fee of £3.99 is charged to pay for both pick-up and delivery (Sojo, 2021c).
Strategies for degrowth/ sufficiency (based on sufficiency strategies from Niessen & Bocken, 2021):
- Awareness-raising & Question consumption: Sojo started out as a means to avoid fast fashion and enable more secondhand purchases (Sojo, 2021a). Therefore, the business is vocal about the need to move away from fast fashion and stop overconsuming, for instance through their social media or blog (Sojo, 2021d).
- Lifetime extension service: By connecting customers with local tailors, Sojo provides a service to extend the lifetime of garments, giving them a second or third life instead of being disposed of and replaced with new clothing.
- Short distance promotion: By showing customers available tailors based on their postcode, Sojo supports the connection of consumers to local tailoring businesses, reducing shipment distance and supporting local business.
Business model experimentation practices: Sojo founder Josephine Philips first had the idea of Sojo when studying at university. While buying secondhand clothes, she realized that the fit was often difficult with items that she liked but she was not able to alter the clothing herself (Sojo, 2021a). She decided to set up the Sojo start-up next to her studies, attending entrepreneur events and learning about the start-up landscape, as well as carrying out market research into demand for such a service (Lucy’s Creative Space, 2021). Sojo was launched in Autumn 2020 in London zones 1 and 2 and the founder hopes to make it available across the UK and internationally in the future (Loffhagen, 22.01.2021).
Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2017). A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future. Accessed 5 October 2021 at: https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications/a-new-textiles-economy-redesigning-fashions-future.
Loffhagen, E. (21.01.2021). Introducing Sojo: the Deliveroo of clothing repairs. Evening Standard. Accessed 5 October 2021 at: https://www.standard.co.uk/insider/fashion/Sojo-app-clothing-repairs-alterations-b900553.html
Lucy’s Creative Space (12.02.2021). Sojo: the Deliveroo-like service for clothing repairs and alterations [Blog post]. Accessed 5 October 2021 at https://www.lucyscreativespace.com/post/Sojo-the-deliveroo-like-service-for-clothing-repairs-and-alterations
McFall-Johnsen, M. (2021). These facts show how unsustainable the fashion industry is. World Economic Forum. Accessed 5 October 2021 at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/fashion-industry-carbon-unsustainable-environment-pollution/.
Niessen, L., & Bocken, N. M. P. (2021). How can businesses drive sufficiency? The business for sufficiency framework. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 28, 1090-1103. doi:10.1016/j.spc.2021.07.030
Sojo (2021a). The Start of Sojo [Blog post]. Accessed 5 October 2021 at: https://www.Sojoapp.co.uk/journal-1/thestartofSojo
Sojo (2021b). How it works. Accessed 5 October 2021 at: https://Sojo.uk/how_it_works
Sojo (2021c). Frequently asked questions. Accessed 5 October 2021 at: https://Sojo.uk/faqs
Sojo (2021d). Why we need to reflect on fashion’s culture of overconsumption [Blog post]. Accessed 5 October 2021 at: https://www.Sojoapp.co.uk/journal-1/toxic-consumerism
About project Circular X
Project Circular X is about ‘Experimentation with Circular Service Business Models’. It is an ambitious research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) which supports top researchers from anywhere in the world. Project CIRCULAR X runs from 2020-2025. The project is led by Principal Investigator (PI) Prof Dr Nancy Bocken, who is joined by a multidisciplinary team of researchers at Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI), Maastricht School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University. The project cooperates with businesses who want to innovate towards the circular economy.
Project Circular X addresses a new and urgent issue: experimentation with circular service business models (CSBMs). Examples of such new business models include companies shifting from selling products to selling services and introducing lifelong warrantees to extend product lifetimes. However, CSBMs are far from mainstream and research focused on experimentation is little understood. The research aims to conduct interdisciplinary research with 4 objectives:
- Advancing understanding of CSBMs; their emergence and impacts
- Advancing knowledge on CSBM experimentation
- Developing CSBM experimentation tools
- Designing and deploying CSBM experimentation labs
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, grant agreement No. 850159.
Using of this information
When you refer to this case, please use the following source:
Circular X. (2021) Case study: Sojo - The 'Deliveroo' of clothing alterations & repair. Accessed from www.circularx.eu