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Changing The Relationship Kids Have With Their Stuff

Changing The Relationship Kids Have With Their Stuff

When I was growing up “sustainability” wasn’t a thing, or at least, I certainly didn't know about it. Nor did my parents.

I was very much part of the throw-away generation. 

Shoes have a hole, throw them away. Jumper too small? Throw it out. Out of style? In the bin it goes.

Ironically, my Dad could repair almost anything mechanical or electrical, but clothing, other than being made into rags for DIY, was tossed into the bin.

There were no adverts about this and certainly no education.

And that pretty much carried on until well into my adult life. I guess, even as a 44 year old, the awareness of shopping more ethically has really only resonated with me since my daughter rocked up 6 years ago.

And even then, it was more because things were so damn expensive and ruined more frequently!

In recent years, issues such as climate change and the impact of plastic consumption, have brought the concept of “sustainability” to the forefront of conversation. It has evolved into one of the most significant and pressing issues of our time. The heightened awareness of environmental damage, the destruction of natural resources, and the urgency to address these challenges have catapulted sustainability into mainstream news.

COVID also had a significant effect on the way we shop. It accelerated the want for more ethical and where possible, locally produced products.

As we began to formulate the idea for Dubs, one thing became clear - we needed a way to ensure that the stuff we made, lived on for longer. We did that by partnering with our awesome shoe charity Sal's Shoes and by designing new lines of shoes with their “end of life” in mind. 

But as we continued down this journey, I always wondered about the kids point of view. Yep, parents buy our shoes, but it's the kids who are the real customers. Do they really know that our sole is made from sugarcane, do they care? Or, perhaps more importantly, should they care?

Kids are now getting taught about these issues in school. They are asking questions about climate change, plastic pollution and recycling. They have a real concern for ‘litter’ they see on the streets, which is fantastic. And with brands such as Vinted, Depop and Continue making buying ‘pre-loved’ items so much easier and acceptable, it really feels like we are moving in the right direction.

But…what if we started even earlier, with kids brands. Through the lens of our brands, we empower kids to understand the environmental impact of their fast fashion. 

Give them the tools to understand how small changes in the way they view their clothes can make a big difference, and build brand awareness around that.

And rather than make this feel like even more homework, we gamify it all. Make it playful. 

I'm a big kid anyway, so it’s easy for me to imagine how to turn the mundane into games, but what if brands did this as part of the way they market themselves and speak to their customers. Imagine if they embraced this approach, removing the need for parents to have to play even more ‘make-believe’.

Show the kids that buying second-hand clothes can be more budget-friendly, leaving spare cash to do other fun things, days out with the fam…. or that mega bar of chocolate

Lets hero the fact that wearing something that has had multiple owners is actually a badge of honour.

Lets give each shoe its own story, its own history. If this trainer could talk, it’ll say it’s been to this festival, climbed this many trees; what adventures are YOU going to take these shoes on?

Maybe there is a family leaderboard!?

Ultimately, it's about turning sustainability into a shared, enjoyable journey that is told through the lens of the brands kids love.

Perhaps in the future your kid, rather than asking for a pair of XYZ because the cool kids at school have them…they asked for, say. I don’t know… a pair of Dubs! … not because they ARE the coolest sneakers in the universe but because they are the most planet-friendly too. THEY could be the cool kid in the playground!

As long as we infuse positivity and excitement into the experience, highlighting the benefits and empowering kids to play an active role, shopping for their shoes could be that fun experience!

Eventually, we want Dubs to be more than a Kids shoe brand. But more an educational platform for kids. We’ll hero ‘kids stuff’ that have had ‘multiple adventures’, by making it a badge of honour to have something that has had 4 owners.

We’re still a start-up and being “sustainable” is so expensive, but we have a very important and exciting goal to aim for. Step by step and starting with trainers, we are changing the way kids interact with their stuff.

Blog written by Stuart Davis; co-founder, Dubs

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