If there ever were a champion of eco-fashion and textiles, Marci Zaroff, author of ECORenaissance: A Lifestyle Guide for Cocreating a Stylish, Sexy and Sustainable World, is it. And, as the founder and CEO of Ecofashion Corp., parent company to Metawear, YesAnd and now Farm to Home, there are few better suited to being touted as the lifestyle guru of organic.
This was the thinking behind the launch of Zaroff’s newest brand, Farm to Home, which sold exclusively on mega shopping channel QVC last fall. We caught up with Marci at home in New York City to talk about this initiative.
How did the idea of selling on QVC come to fruition?
Marci Zaroff: I’ve had a long history and friendship with a reputable consulting agency who were buyers at QVC. When I started Farm to Home, we connected to present the idea of a lifestyle brand for organic for QVC. We didn’t really have product at first, it was high-level strategy and concept. The idea was to make me the house expert on organic lifestyle. Then, we worked closely to co-create the collection. It wasn’t like, this is our product, take it or leave it.
When did you first go on the air?
MZ: To start they gave me an hourlong launch show, which ran on Sept. 26, 2019. We launched with bedding, towels, decorative pillows, robes and throws. The show went well. I have had five additional on-air appearances since then.
How has the line sold so far?
MZ: We’ve sold out of most of our merchandise, and we have a lot of new orders. But due to COVID-19 our new product has been stuck in India. Our 2020 inventory was supposed to come in starting April 1, and we were supposed to do the next show around Earth Day. We have new designs and reorders. We’re working on a pipeline of additional products from organic mattresses to organic food products and clothing. So we have a lot of product in development right now that we’re looking to launch in Q4 or Q1 of 2021.
MZ: For me this is a dream come true, because it’s always about education and storytelling. It’s hard to do that in a brick-and-mortar environment. But this gives me a TV and online platform to talk about the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the key components of GOTS. And there’s B-roll of me in the organic cotton fields and in the factories. QVC gives me the opportunity to educate while also giving consumers the chance to vote with their dollars.
QVC has millions of customers and potentially thousands of viewers per minute watching. It’s unparalleled. Where else could someone like me talk about product, which I love to do because I’m passionate about it, and get to educate viewers on the how, why and what and that organic is not just a marketing proposition, but it has substance behind it.
What does the online component of QVC look like?
MZ: Everyone knows of QVC as home shopping, but a big part of their business is e-commerce. It’s one of the biggest online retailers in America. Farm to Home now has a landing page on the QVC website.
How has Farm to Home been received?
MZ: We’ve had amazing support. I think like most retailers, QVC sees sustainability and green and organic as an important part of their future to be relevant. Their buyer is smart to identify someone like me to help them get there. And the power of collaboration for me is a win-win.
The QVC viewer is an educated, mainstream consumer that is looking for trust. They want to feel engaged and credibility is paramount. For viewers to trust what I am saying and what I am showing them I have to be real. They can research me and the more authentic I am, the more likely they are to support the movement I am sharing. Authenticity and transparency, which is the DNA of Farm to Home, are the key ingredients for consumers or viewer market adoption and saying they will give the product a try.
So how does it work to get on QVC?
MZ: There are long lines of people trying to get in the door. It’s like every single retailer in the world. You have to appeal to the buyer with what you have, why you and what you can do. So success is a lot of ingredients, there's no one answer. You have to check all of the boxes they look for to even get a test. And not every brand has the founder on air. They can hire a guest host, someone to represent a brand, a more seasoned TV spokesperson. But it’s a lot more powerful if the creator goes on air; the viewer wants that kind of authority.
How does being “exclusive” work?
MZ: The reason we are exclusive is because I have put my focus on QVC because I see the opportunity there to reach a national customer base and tell the Farm to Home story. To be successful on QVC you have to have unique positioning and great products at the right price.
Because EcoFashion Corp. is vertically integrated and deep in the trenches, we’re able to be efficient and provide price points that are very competitive and compelling. If you shop around, you’ll find these are the best prices for the quality that you’ll find anywhere for organic textiles. We work closely together to make sure that it works for everybody.
Ultimately we aim to deliver a high value proposition, not just in terms of the added value of being organic, but for the price and quality equation, too. It has to start with style, quality, color, fit and price, and then it’s organic. We’re not leading with "buy it because it’s organic." It’s buy it because these are the best sheets you will ever own, and by the way, they're also organic.
What other natural products categories are on QVC?
MZ: QVC has touched on natural and organic products in categories like food and beauty. However, we are really the only organic brand crossing multiple categories and connecting the dots of having a truly organic lifestyle.