The business model of MUD jeans

  • Business Model Shifts

Fashionably destructive

Jeans are a fundamental part of modern fashion. Everyone seems to own a pair. Their massive popularity has put a heavy strain on the manufacturing industry to keep up with consumer demand. An industry standard pair of jeans requires about 8,000 litres of water to be produced and this is just one of the many negative effects jeans production has on the environment. On top of that, less than 1% of the material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing.

Titans of industry such as H&M and Zara have invented “fast fashion”, offering brand new designs every two to three weeks while also keeping prices low. At what cost? The fast fashion linear business model leads to questionable working conditions of factory workers, a massive demand for resources, unsold clothes being destroyed, and clothes bought but hardly being used. This is the price the world pays to feed hyper-consumption.


The Business model canvas of a traditional mass-market fashion brand



What if we clean up our own mess?

This is the question Bert van Son asked himself after being in the fashion industry and seeing the impact of fast fashion on the environment. Bert got to see first-hand the strenuous under-paid life of textile workers, which enables the massive reduction in production costs of clothing. In 2013, MUD Jeans was born. A company that is on a mission to reshape the entire fashion industry.


The circular business model

Sourcing only the highest quality organic cotton, MUD Jeans made sure their jeans would last as long as possible. This resulted in consumers needing to buy fewer pairs of jeans. As a manufacturing partner, Yousstex International was chosen because of their incredible working conditions. The factory takes care of its employees while also producing the highest quality products and is always innovating.

Through their innovative leasing service, MUD Jeans charges their customers a monthly fee. This allows consumers to replace or return their pair of jeans for no extra cost. Once a pair of jeans is damaged or reaches the end of its life, the consumer sends the jeans back. The jeans are then recycled and the material is used to create another pair of high quality clothing.

This concept may not be the most straightforward nor is it the cheapest solution but MUD Jeans is showing the world that it is possible to look great and act sustainably. The MUD Jeans business model would not be effective at all if they weren’t completely transparent about everything they do. The company has released in depth details about each part of their supply chain. From the origins of their organic cotton to the personal profile of the factory owners. They don’t just talk about the impact they make, they show it.


The Business model canvas of MUD jeans



The Circular Shift

We can learn numerous things from the MUD Jeans business model. The first pattern we see from the company is “Use it, not own it”. Transitioning from the notion of ownership to simply limited time use meant that companies can control the lifecycle of their products. Not only does this remove an extra hassle from the lives of consumers but this allows businesses to use these resources again with much less impact on the environment.

Another pattern we see is “Use it longer”. MUD Jeans builds their products to last but also offers repair services at no extra cost to the consumer. This incentivizes consumers to keep the same pair of jeans.

After all, it does not really make a lot of sense to buy clothes and not wear them or throw them away after just wearing them a couple of times.


This case is part of our new book Business Model Shifts.


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