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Green Girls Podcast | Episode 3 | Shein

Hey amigos! Welcome to Green Girls, the podcast that follows our journey (and struggles) to becoming green.

Get in the car losers, we're going shopping. In this week's episode, Mikaela and Chloe chat all about mega fast fashion giant Shein.

If you liked this episode get in touch on Instagram with @greengirls.podcast

Listen on Spotify, iTunes, or right here:

Links to what is mentioned in today's episode:

Diet Prada Links:

Copycat fashion

Diet Prada ™ on Instagram: "It used to be that fast fashion companies would mostly knockoff the latest looks from top catwalks, and trend pieces from established…"

D Festival

Diet Prada ™ (@diet_prada) • Instagram photos and videos

Shein statistics and info:

Shein Success Story - Founder, Business Model, Revenue Model, Funding and More ( About Us |SHEIN Australia

Shein is the future of fast fashion. Is it ethical? - Vox

Shein: How Mysterious Chinese Store Became Online Fashion Giant in US (

Shein: Is China’s Mysterious $15 Billion Fast Fashion Retailer Ready For Stores? (

Episode 2 Transcript:

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we record this podcast. Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.

Mikaela: I have been down the rabbit hole for this one.

Chloe: Oh, I'm so excited.

Mikaela: No matter how many times, I don't even know how many days I've spent researching this, but whenever I have free time, I'm just like, okay. And, every day I find something new and every day I'm like, how am I gonna fit you in? So I've tried my best and I think I have a pretty good layout, but, um, we'll see.

And I'm just gonna go through it all. And if there's anything that we think is like too much or whatever, we can delete it, but, um,

Chloe: OKay. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mikaela: There's a lot.

Chloe: That's all good. Well, alright, Mikaela, take it away. What's this episode about?

Mikaela: Okey dokey. So, [00:01:00] today's episode is about fast fashion giant, Shein.

Chloe: Ooh.

Mikaela: Yes. And I have so many, like, I've got this formatted out all nicely and every now and then they're just like a random bit of text that was like, I could research this forever. OMG. The more I read the more I'm like, ahhhh. So, yeah, strap in.

Chloe: I can just see that, like in all Italics, capital locks,

Mikaela: Absolutely,

Chloe: Bold.

Mikaela: I think I had like 20 pages of notes that I've tried to condense.

Chloe: Oh, you beat me.

Mikaela: Yeah, it was a lot. But anyway, I am just gonna touch on this. I'll give you first of all, just a brief sort of intro on like what even is fast fashion.

Cause some people might not have an idea. So I've actually read a few varying points on who actually coined the term 'fast fashion', but it basically came about because of the need and want of cheaper, faster manufacturing and shipping. So it's like essentially instant gratification. You see a style that you like on the runways or [00:02:00] like from a high end designer, and next minute you can buy it for a fraction of the price.

So it's a really fast turnaround.

Chloe: Yeah.

Mikaela: Um, interesting enough. A lot of things, point to Zara being one of the first businesses to take this approach.

Chloe: Oooh.

Mikaela: So yeah. Interesting. My research led me to the founder of Inditex, which is apparently Zara's parent company in the 1990's, so basically the concept of fashion seasons, like Winter and Summer and all that was discarded for a year long cycle of production.

So meaning new items, are introduced every few weeks.

Chloe: Oh. Oh, great.

Mikaela: Yeah. So actually this is gob smacking to me. Apparently Zara's mission, was for it to only take 15 days for a garment to go from the design stage to being available in store.

Chloe: What?!

Mikaela: I know, I can't even fathom.

Chloe: Oh my God, my microphone just peaked so hard.

Mikaela: I'm sorry, there's gonna be a few of those. We're gonna have to like [00:03:00] lower it down.

Chloe: What?

Mikaela: Yeah. So basically to do that, they, moved manufacturing overseas to countries with more lax labor laws, low wages, and also the commonality of working overtime without pay. So,

Chloe: Ahhh,

Mikaela: It's not, not a good thing, but,

Chloe: Yeah, that's how they made it happen.

Mikaela: Exactly. And I've got a little stat here that I thought was interesting that was related to fast fashion. Which I didn't really know and to be honest, like I'm a bit of a culprit of using synthetic fabrics, buut.

Chloe: Mm-hmm.

Mikaela: The production of polyester textiles alone, emitted about 706 billion kilograms of greenhouse gases in 2015.

So hundreds of gallons of water going to making a single cotton garment as well. And most of the clothes from Shein are made from synthetic fabrics, which often are responsible for releasing micro fibers into oceans. So, not a good [00:04:00] start.


But yeah. Did you sort of know what, like fast fashion was?

Chloe: I guess when I used it, I was aware that it was fast and cheap and I thought that was great.

Mikaela: Yeah. Yeah.

Chloe: I thought that's just the best thing ever because I, I wish I didn't have that attitude of like, oh no, I can't be seen in this again, but if it was something for a night out and bear in mind, this is probably when I was between 18 and 21.

Somehow I had a clothing budget, but bear in mind that budget was for fast fashion. Not like proper clothes.

Mikaela: Absolutely.

Chloe: And if I went out in something, I was like, oh, I have to wait like a month before I can wear this out again. Yeah, that was, I think how I thought, you know, looking back at young me.

Oh, so yeah, so far ago.

Mikaela: I know, I know I'm the same though. Like, and I'll touch on that later. But yeah, for now I will continue into a bit of an intro to the business. Shein, so I'm sure many of you guys have heard about Shein, like, [00:05:00] if you have Instagram or TikTok, these particular platforms are flooded with Shein hauls and unboxings.

Chloe: Yes, they're everywhere.

Mikaela: I Know. Cannot escape.

But if you don't know who they are, I'll give you a quick rundown. So this is according to Shein themselves. Shein is a global fashion and lifestyle E-retailer committed to making the beauty of fashion accessible to all.

Chloe: Well, doesn't that sound great.

Mikaela: We use on demand manufacturing technology to connect suppliers to our agile supply chain, reducing inventory waste, and enabling us to deliver a variety of affordable products to customers around the world. So you will soon realize that everything I have taken from Shein's words, sounds great.

Chloe: That sounds perfect. They're awesome. Yeah.

Mikaela: So they're an online mega brandand. They offer insanely cheap price, clothing, and accessories that compete with the big brands like Zara, Fashion Nova, Missguided, Boohoo. And they have no actual physical [00:06:00] stores. So they're completely all, all online. They have done a few pop-up shops, but yeah, more so online. So they don't have a lot of those overheads that, traditional stores have.

Chloe: Yeah. Gotcha. Probably just warehouses.

Mikaela: Oh kitty. Where are you going? Sorry.

Chloe: There's a cat on Mikaela's lap.

Mikaela: There is a cat on my lap. She's very cute, she's getting distracted. We may need to relocate. But yeah, I wanted to give you a couple of quick facts before we get even further into it.

And I wanted to also touch on my opinion and my predispositions. That was predispositions because as much as I tried to keep this, non-biased I'm a little biased.

Chloe: Yeah, no, that's that's fair.

Mikaela: Yes.

Chloe: I'm gonna be a little bias as well.

Mikaela: Originally they were called 'She inside' and they changed their name to Shein, in 2015.

Chloe: So, is it Sheen then or I, do you pronounce it She in?

Mikaela: Well, that's what I thought. Cause I always used to say She-in. [00:07:00] But it's Shein. I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but everything I have read and watched says Shein, so

Chloe: Cool. Let's go with Shein people can complain after.

Mikaela: Who knows. It'll be like a Hermione, Hermeoine situation from the first Harry Potter Book.

Chloe: Benedict Kumba bottle.

Mikaela: Exactly. Right.

So yeah, they actually originally started in bridal wear. Google says they started in 20, 2008.

Chloe: Wow.

Mikaela: But the website was copyrighted from 2009, but the about section on Shein says founded in 2012. Soooo.

Chloe: Right.

Mikaela: Don't know. I'm just gonna offer up all the facts.

Chloe: Cool. Cool, cool, cool.

Mikaela: I'm 99% sure that this is all correct, but I mean, when you read from a whole bunch of different websites that they have different dates.

Chloe: Yeah. You were just reading.

Mikaela: So, to give you sort of an idea of their growth, they had around 100 employees in 2013, and that grew to over 800 in 2016.

Chloe: Whoa.

And I don't think anyone had [00:08:00] heard of it in 2016.

Mikaela: I had. And I'll get to that.

Chloe: Had you,? Okay. Okay.

Mikaela: Yes. Yes.

So, interesting enough, the founder, his name is Chris Zu.

I'm probably gonna say that wrong. He was born in China and he's the founder. He actually, graduated from a university of science and technology and then started working for a company as a SEO specialist.

Chloe: Oh.

Mikaela: So that is a really interesting point. To see how they would've done so well.

Chloe: I will not buy Shein, but I might pay him to tell me how SEO worked.

Mikaela: Absolutely.

It's crazy.

Chloe: Clearly he's got it down, pat.

Mikaela: Absolutely. Having that sort of background is definitely a help when you're starting a global fashion brand.

Chloe: Yeah, for sure.

Mikaela: So, yeah, if you didn't know, they were based, well, they are based in China. And I have a couple of stats here, money wise, funding.

So [00:09:00] they've been given funding in August, 2021, this is estimated at 553 million just for funding. Their revenue for 2020. Again, they don't publicly disclose this, but this is what I've read, was 10 billion and their valuation as of November 2021 is 30 billion.

Chloe: Wow.

Mikaela: So that's some big numbers.

Chloe: Yeah. Wowser, whoa. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Wow.

Mikaela: Yes. So now that I...

Chloe: I'm sorry. And they also received funding.

Mikaela: Yeah.

Chloe: What does that even mean?

Mikaela: Absolutely. Now I did actually delete my stats cuz I thought it's gonna be too freaking much but it was broken up into, different companies and different years and what the companies have actually given them.

So it's like kind of like, uh, investing, I suppose, like someone, you know, invests this amount of money and they'll get a kickback.

Interesting because I didn't think that they would have that, cause they have quite a lot of like revenue from just their sales alone. But I mean, it makes [00:10:00] sense as a business, people invest in businesses to get them growing.

So anyway, that's, I should, should bring Jake on as a special guest and be like, Hey Jake, tell us the statistics of investing in businesses. Cause I have no idea.

Chloe: Next episode. Yes.

Mikaela: Next episode, special guest.

Oh dear. So, yes. Um, next on, I will touch on my, my predispositions and things that I've seen personally.

So, you know, being on Instagram, I've seen actually a few small brands and designers that I follow have actually posted stories, being like Shein stole my design, or,

*phone rings*oh, that was loud. Hang on. Sorry. Ah.

Chloe: Hi Mum.

Mikaela: Hi Mum. Hi, I'm just in the middle of recording a podcast with Chloe. Can I call you back? Yeah.

Okay. I'll talk to you soon. Bye, bye

I think last episode was Dad, [00:11:00] I love my family.

Chloe: Are you sewing my dress yet? Why aren't you sewing my dress?

Mikaela: I know she probably actually is being like, oh, just wondering, like how we're gonna meet up and I can give you the dress or, but yes.

As I was saying, a lot of, people I follow on Instagram have even posted like stories of them or, you know, fellow designers and side by side images, which is just crazy.

And I've seen, you know, some of the photos on the website have actually been taken exactly from brand pages.

Chloe: Oh, no way.

Mikaela: Like the exact same image.

Chloe: Yeah.

Mikaela: And I know that, like they say, this is not the case, but this is just what I've seen personally. And one thing that really grands my gears, is people reselling Shein items on independent platforms like Etsy and Depop and listing them as vintage.

Chloe: No way, people do that?

Mikaela: Oh my God. I've seen it so many times. It makes me rage.

Chloe: She's going red right now.

Mikaela: It makes me [00:12:00] absolutely anger because like the unsuspecting person might see that and be like, oh cool. This is like such a unique piece. And next minute it's actually, you know, a mass produced fast fashion.

A hundred percent.

Chloe: That would be me, because I don't go on Shein or fast fashion websites. So. I'll see so many things that are fast fashion. Oh my God. That's so cute, and I will have zero clue. Not, not one bit.

Mikaela: Exactly. And it's just not fair. Like you should, if you see something listed as something, it should be that like, obviously, you know, some people may make a mistake, but that's a deliberate attempt.

Chloe: Yeah. So if you're reselling it, I think you know.

Mikaela: uh, I know. Which is so funny. Cause I feel like so many people know Shein and so many people would recognize the products that it's like, what?

Chloe: Yeah. Shein like sells some crazy stuff from what I've seen, I've learned from another podcast that like just looked at reviews and like funny reviews.

Mikaela: I'd love to do that too.

Chloe: Oh, it's from, from that podcast we love, help. What's it called? TAnd that's why we drink. Christine does another one [00:13:00] with her brother called Beach too Sandy, water too wet. And they just read hilarious reviews. Oh, about stuff like the beach was too Sandy.

Mikaela: Oh my God.

Chloe: But the water was too wet.

Mikaela: Okay. I'm gonna have to follow them too, cuz that is a hundred percent right up my alley.

Chloe: It sounds brilliant. And there was one on like just bizarre products from Shein.

Mikaela: Yeah.

Chloe: Which is how I learnt that they sell, like toilet stickers.

Mikaela: Oh my God.

Chloe: And like earrings and bottles and like just whatever wacky, whatever aliexpress thing they could find.

Mikaela: Exactly. And it's funny, that you say. Uh, the reviews, because this particular company is one that heavily relies on reviews. They give you like extra discounts to post reviews. And if you post photos, you get more discounts. So it's like,

Chloe: Oh yikes.

Mikaela: A lot of people would just post a review and be like, yeah, yeah, great. When really like, yeah, I might be okay, but you know. Potential purchasers see that and go, oh my God, there's 500 reviews. It must be amazing. [00:14:00]

Chloe: Right, when they just want the points.

Mikaela: Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky. Now, as I said before in complete honesty, I have purchased from Shein before, but it was probably 10 years ago.

If not more. And I remember I filmed a haul on my old camera with no auto auto focus and it was horrid, horrid. I never edited, I never released it. I have tried to find it. I'm sure it's on an old hard drive somewhere, but I cannot find it. And I remember most items I had to fix because they came broken or they were like ill fitting, buuut,

I was a sucker for a good deal at the time.

Chloe: And yeah. Sounds about right.

Mikaela: Exactly. Even when they arrived as not expected, I shrugged it off and was like, Hey, that's what you get for, you know, $5, $10.

Chloe: Yeah. True. Yeah.

But like not everyone and like such a small percentage. I'm sure now of people know how to fix clothes. Or sew clothes. Good on you that you now have those skills but you can't send things,broken expecting [00:15:00] people to fix them.

Mikaela: I know exactly. Right. And I mean, this was in the early days, so I haven't bought anything recently. I can't like talk about quality, but I will go down. Yeah, later on at the end of this, I'll have a whole bunch of, opinions and reviews from people.

So that will be interesting to show you. Cool. Now, as I mentioned to YouTube video, I used to make a lot of videos and I had a blog as many, many other teens did in that era.

Chloe: Mm-hmm.

Mikaela: And it was basically like all about, you know, hunting down the best bargain and fashion buys, stay ahead of the trends. And I used to buy from all of these places often there was yeah., which doesn't exist anymore. And wholesale seven, which after a very quick Google search does exist. Looks very similar to Shein. Please don't go there. Ah, which I purchased from a lot. So it was cheap and bad quality, but I was a teenager on a budget.


Chloe: Yep. Yep. Yep.

Mikaela: Good times.

Now I started this off by going straight to Shein's [00:16:00] webpage, and honestly I can see how easy it is to get sucked into all the sales, like the first thing, instant popup offering discounts. If you spend over this amount and then another prompt to allow notifications. And then, as soon as I closed that, I got another one up and it was get $4 for your first order.

Low cost shipping, easy returns, the next one, sale sale sale. And I was like, what? Like, I just couldn't

Chloe: oh my gosh. It's everywhere.

Mikaela: It literally was like, I closed like five different popups. I was like, just let me read your about page. I don't wanna buy anything. I'm just doing some stalking.

Chloe: Like you're being hassled.

It's like, you're in a store and there's that person like, hi, can I help you with anything

Mikaela: Legit. You say, no, thank you. And they're like two seconds later. Hey, how are you going? Do you need a hand? And it's like, no, I'm good.

Chloe: I see you looking at that handbag. Like I glanced at it. Maybe I breathed in its direction.

I'm sorry.

Mikaela: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So I went to the about page and this will give you a bit of an info about the company in their own words. And I'll head into some, other things from [00:17:00] different sources later on. Basically. Yeah, I've shortened some of this, but I haven't added anything to it. So if you wanna read it in full, you can on the about us section on their website.

So this is just an about us. So they are an international B2C, which is business to consumer, fast fashion eCommerce company. And they focus on women's wear, has men's, children's, accessories, shoes, bags, etcetera. And this is where they said they founded in 2012 and their philosophy was, everyone can enjoy the beauty of fashion.

So it's, it all sounds like good. Now I'm thinking this info might be a bit outdated because it says that they ship to more than 150 countries, but everything I've read as of like this year says to 220, so,

Chloe: oh, okay.

Mikaela: I don't know if they've updated their about page recently

Chloe: somebody's lying.

Mikaela: It is dense.

Like there is so many pages, it's split, they've got our mission [00:18:00] section and they say they pride themselves on offering on trend styles, catering to both young women and teens that won't break the bank. And again, the concept, everyone can enjoy the beauty of fashion and they say same page. This is all, it's like the same thing.

Shein aims to provide the highest value trendy pieces whilst also being dedicated to quality value and service.

Chloe: I'm sorry. Did they say quality?

Mikaela: Yes. And they've said it a few times in this coming text, I don't understand.

Goodness me. Okay.

Yeah. Like to be honest, the whole layout of this content is odd. It seems very dense and like a lot of text with not much information.

So maybe, maybe it's an SEO technique.

Chloe: Bit of, bit of waffle. It genuinely would

Mikaela: yeah. Like it's. It's dense. And the next section is split into subheadings. And as I mentioned before, it's really interesting that it mentions quality and designers a lot.

Chloe: Mm-hmm

Mikaela: so this is the dense one, but I'm gonna read it because, it kind of makes me laugh.

Okay. So it says product design, about the designer. The first designer we want to introduce is a beautiful girl inside and [00:19:00] out. Like most of our designers she has been with Shein since it's inception 10 years ago. In the early days before our designs became popular, we arranged for our designers to further their study of fashion design and invited senior designers to help us build our brand.

Now, over a decade later, we have established a huge team of professional designers. Everyone of our designers has his or her own unique sense of fashion. Our designers understand that you as a customer are looking for more than beautiful and fashionable clothes. You are pursuing a lifestyle, like what?

Chloe: Cool. Awesome.

Mikaela: I seriously, the first, first time I read this and this was the first thing I did, I was just like sitting here mouth open, being like, what the, what the fuck am I reading my reading? Don't understand.

Chloe: Oh my goodness. Oh, I'm actually getting such like LuLaRoe vibes from this.

Mikaela: Yes. It's like culty and like, Hmm. It's just, I don't. Not for me, but anyway,

Chloe: that's a little bit, they're selling the [00:20:00] lifestyle.

Mikaela: Exactly. Like I said, I'm a bit biased, but if you wanna read all this, like you can have a good giggle and take what you will from it. So they've got, info about selecting fabric manufacturers.

They say we put a great deal of value into fabric quality. We want our customers to feel comfortable as if they're being hugged by our clothing. And then in my notes here, I've got, if you want anything from Shein, you may disagree with the polyester hug. They go on to say at the same time, we don't wanna increase the cost of production and therefore the price for our, our customers.

Yeah. And then they just go on to say, you know, about comparing manufacturers, lots of trial and error. We found a really good balance between quality and cost.

Chloe: Did they, did they really?

Mikaela: Well,

Chloe: Wondering what that balance was?

Mikaela: I don't know. It's interesting cause the more I read on later, they basically actually started off by selling products from [00:21:00] the main like garment district in China.

Like almost like drop, drop shipping before they did their own designs.

Chloe: Aha, I assumed that's what they still did, honestly.

Mikaela: Well, I'll touch on it a bit later too. But I think the, the issue with like, you know, some of the controversy of stealing small designers, things is because they are so fast and their turnaround time is so quick.

They, they might have a team of designers that go, oh, yes, I'm gonna take this and I'm gonna pitch this and they go, yep. That's great. We love it. And it doesn't get, it doesn't get like second checked, I suppose. So I don't know if that's just me trying to justify, cause I don't wanna think people out there are deliberately trying to be malicious and rip people off, but.

I don't know. I don't know.

Chloe: Well, I'll touch on LuLaRoe briefly. Have you seen that documentary now?

Mikaela: No, I have not had time. I've been too busy sewing.

Chloe: Oh my I'm so sorry.

Mikaela: It's on the list.

Chloe: So it was really good. [00:22:00] And LuLaRoe is an MLM, which we will not have got to on the podcast yet because of how I've structured things.

Mikaela: Tweaked. Well, there will be an episode coming in the future.

Chloe: There will be an episode soon about, an MLM

Mikaela: MLMMLM,

Chloe: Actually, I think next week. Yeah, I think it's next week in listeners ears. They're an MLM and they're based in America and their design team grew pretty rapidly, but they were all expected to create so many new designs,

Mikaela: Which is just not possible,

Chloe: Like leggings every day.

Yeah, it just was not possible. Like designers cannot be that creative all the time. They'll just burn out. And so they basically admitted on this documentary, like, yeah, we definitely just took things from the internet, tweaked it slightly. Put it on leggings.

Mikaela: Yeah. Which is all fricking legal.

Like I don't understand.

Chloe: I think so.

Mikaela: That's how all these like super fast fashion brands get away with it. Like you see, you know, even like there's a Versace heel, which I [00:23:00] really, really like, but I'll never buy because it's so expensive and it's leather and I shit you not, Novo has the exact same heel, obviously a fraction of the price.

But it is identical. Like you look at it and you're like, How do they get away with that?

Chloe: Mm, my uncle works for like a high end bag company in the UK, and they go through a lot of effort now to make their runways really exclusive and hard to get into. So that brands like this, any fast fashion brand doesn't instantly see it and just totally copy the design.

Yeah. Cause it will take them obviously, however long to make these gorgeous designs. And obviously you just need to see it and then replicate it. And so that'll take like a day or less. As opposed to coming up with the idea itself. So fast fashion just takes like the hardest bit out of it.

Yeah. It sees the reaction to something and goes cool. Yeah. We can do that for 10 bucks.

Mikaela: Yeah, exactly. It's just crazy. And I get that. There's the demand, because like I said, I'm not gonna buy those Versace heels because the price tag is [00:24:00] insane and you want that sort of, you know, you want that item. So that's why all these fast brands have the, the dupes or whatever you wanna call them.

Chloe: Yeah. I remember them. Pinterest is all over the dupes.

Mikaela: Yeah. I used to do it all the time. Like, I'm pretty sure I bought a Dolce and Gabana wedge design back when I was like, probably 17 from wholesaledress.

Chloe: Mm oh. I absolutely had knockoff uggs that did that thing where like half the shoe disappears.

Mikaela: Oh yeah. Love that.

Chloe: It was a, it was a vibe,

Mikaela: It was a vibe.

Oh, anywho. Back to the array of subheadings. The next one they had was modify the clothing item, which I think is just, yeah, that was the subheading. And it says before we make our products available to you, I I've bolded this, our professional designers perform rigorous quality assurance tests to approve every item of clothing.

We invite models to try on the clothes [00:25:00] and consider the overall look. And then again, bold, we continually modify the clothing item until the look is perfect. And I was like, hmm hmm, okay sure

Chloe: sure, sure, sure.

Mikaela: Yeah. And then weird enough, the next section they've got, quality assurance and they just go on to specify, like, you know, we carry out quality inspection in order to eliminate any and all problems.

Like that's a big claim. Even if you have like, you know, QA around, there's someone that's literally just their job. Like you're gonna miss things. You can't say. You eliminate all problems.

Chloe: Yeah, especially when you're as big as Shein is. And I'm sure there's a thousand videos with everything people have got that have not been quite right? Not been quality tested.

Mikaela: Yeah. And then the next sub heading is review the product again.

Chloe: So there's just three different headings about, I promise. It's good quality

Mikaela: Legit. That's it.

Chloe: Please trust us. It's good quality.

Mikaela: From the heading before where it says in order to eliminate any and all problems, the next section says, although we take many steps [00:26:00] toward quality assurance, occasionally something will slip and then goes on to say, obviously, if you're, if you don't, you're not happy or you are happy, like contact consumer service.

Um, and then this one I had to include as well. I'm sorry if this is too dense, but like, I, I was laughing the entire time. And every time I read this, I'm like what? They had a sub heading for photography, and they've got, the designer will take time to review all post production images in order to find the ones that best re represent his or her product.

I find it really hard to believe in the timeframe of fast fashion that they have the individual designers looking through product images of their design to pick the best image.

Chloe: Actually. Yeah. True.

Mikaela: Like what?

Chloe: Yeah.

Mikaela: Doubt it. Doubt it, doubt it, doubt it. Anywho then I go onto the next section, which is all pretty and colorful.

And it's split now into like our ethics, like our, our community.

Chloe: Do they really?

Mikaela: Yeah. That's which I was very interested to find. I did not expect it at all. [00:27:00] And I'm, I'll tell you the next bit. I was like, what!

Chloe: Do I need a drink for this?

Mikaela: Oh God, you might. So it's got like our community, our people, they say we always practice fair labor and never, ever engage in child or forced labor.

There was actually an interesting article. I'm not sure if I touched on it later, but basically in the UK you have to, you have to provide proof of your, not your wages, but of your workers, like in order to be able to import into their country and sell. And Shein actually didn't do that. So yeah, although they say this, like there's nothing really independently, that's gone into it to say, this is the case.

So, wow. Again, I'm just taking everything as a grain, like with a grain of salt

Chloe: mm-hmm mm-hmm

Mikaela: Then the same section they say fair pay for all. We believe people deserve a living wage and benefits such as health insurance and investment plans. And I'm just gonna scroll to the bottom of my notes because I know I [00:28:00] have statistic here, which is fucked.

Here we go. Okay. Here's the UK thing. It says it hasn't publicly shared factory workers, wages or hours, despite it being to required to by law in the UK. In 2021 factory workers reported working 75 hour weeks and 85% of garment workers internationally, this is not just China. This is just, you know, do not make minimum wage, bringing home 2 to 6 cents per article of clothing.

Chloe: Oh, wow.

So it's usually item based, not like yeah. Pay per hour

Mikaela: which is why, then you often see things that, you know, not quite sewn, right. Because they're flying through all these clothing, because think of that. How many, how many articles of clothing would you have to make a day? At that rate.

Chloe: Ooh.

Mikaela: To be able to buy food.

Chloe: Yeah. That sucks. Nope.

Mikaela: [00:29:00] Nope. Nope. So the next section was, how we give back and this shook me. So it says, they've donated over 1.5 million. They launched the hashtag Shein together initiative and I've got in my notes. What is this? Katy Perry was involved mid pandemic for our live stream with celeb performances.

What the fuck?

Chloe: Katy Perry, what are you doing?

Mikaela: Oh, it was lots of celebrities. So it was a free stream, in-app. It was you know, at the start of the pandemic and it was donating a hundred thousand dollars to fund COVID 19 solidarity response fund for the world health organization.

So they had this four hour live stream with celebrities and all that jazz, and they were also selling hashtag Shein together. T-shirts for 10 us dollars. hHey had slogans together. Yeah. They had slogans like 'keep calm and wash our [00:30:00] hands' or 'wash your hands', repeated over and over and 'let's stay home'.

So, additionally, if us didn't want to purchase the t-shirts, they could donate through, a link on the app and all funds would contribute to supporting the fund. And I could not, for the life of me find the amount that was donated, there was nothing that said what value is donated. So, oh, I don't know.

I could be speculating, but I have here. Does that mean if they hit a hundred thousand dollars, that's all they would donate. So if they made $200,000. They'd only have to donate their 100? I don't know the legalities, but I could not find anywhere, where the actual amount was that they donated.

Chloe: We're not gonna say it, but it can just hang in the air there.

Mikaela: Yeah, exactly. And obviously that was very successful cause they did another one in 2021 and that was...

Chloe: oh, of course they did.

Mikaela: Shein together fest. It's celebrating a light a wish [00:31:00] campaign. And I couldn't find that either. And it was a hundred thousand dollars donation to three different charities, which were chosen by the community.

So by whoever was in that, so. Interesting again, I couldn't find the specific amount. So I don't know if there was more or,

Chloe: We can assume a hundred thousand.

Mikaela: Yes. So that's what they said. I don't know. And then on their webpage, they they've got more stuff. They donated over 12,000 pieces of clothing to women in need, PPE to healthcare, a hundred K to this brand, a hundred K to that brand, planted over 600,000 trees.

Uh, and then I've got bold here as well. We're also steadfast supporters of black lives matter and racial equality. Women's empowerment, the homeless community, climate change and at risk youth.

Chloe: Okay. So they're the good guys.

Mikaela: So on paper, sounds great. I mean, again, I can't say for them, this is just what's on their website, so obviously they're gonna put all the good stuff.

Chloe: Yeah.

Mikaela: But yeah, they've got a whole [00:32:00] section here on our products and our planet, and I feel like it's kind of just key words, like leaving out key info, only showing what they want.

Chloe: For sure. Yeah.

Mikaela: Like for example, they've got, this is, this is crazy and I'll, I'll touch on it again later, but they say, While others go big, we go small. This means we only produce 50 to a hundred pieces per new product to ensure that no raw materials are wasted. Only when we confirm that that style is in high demand. Do we implement large scale production.

Chloe: Hmm.

Mikaela: Interesting.

Chloe: Okay.

Mikaela: Interesting.

Chloe: Interesting.

Mikaela: And look, I'm, there's more, it's got even our technologies environmentally totally conscious.

Our warehouses and logistics are also kinder to the environment. They don't really say how they just have like a whole bunch of dense text and random photos. They've got, uh, responsible sourcing, no animal policy, only use faux fur, and leather. We prohibit animal testing on our products and they also [00:33:00] say that they've implemented an incentivizing recycling program.

I think we touched on this with something else. That like, well, if you are so into recycling, don't create that much waste.

Chloe: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mikaela: So they've got, yeah. They encourage customers to bring in unwanted clothes to pop up and college campus events in exchange for gift cards.

Chloe: Right. So it's like, give us your clothes and get more

Mikaela: Legit.

Exactly. So then they say though, the donated clothes are refurbished or given to charities.

Chloe: Okay.

Mikaela: And interesting enough, there was actually also a link to a page about the bushfires in Australia. So like I said, I don't think it's really been updated.

That was what, 20 early, 2020.

Chloe: Yeah. The bushfires happened like just before lockdowns happened in Victoria.

Mikaela: Yeah. So basically they said, sorry to hear. Please note your parcel may be delayed. We are donating 10 grand to the disaster appeal to Salvos. Again, could not find, don't know.

Chloe: It's a lot of [00:34:00] stuff that makes it sound good. But when you know enough about fast fashion, you'll either laugh or cry.

Mikaela: Yeah.

Chloe: But that sort of thing.

Mikaela: Exactly.

Chloe: I think you're like, okay, you can't be all of this and still be cheap. So like you're falling apart somewhere.

Mikaela: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I mean, I think, I think if you listening to this, you probably know that I am not a supporter, but I'm gonna let you make whatever decision you would like to make.

We're just trying to give you as much info as possible so you can make an informed decision.

Chloe: Mm-hmm .

Mikaela: But yeah, now I've shared what Shein has to say about itself. I've got some stats and info from other sources, so, if you are interested in them, I think maybe we'll link them in the show notes.

If you're curious.

Chloe: Yes, there will indeed be show notes.

I'm pretty sure every single podcast can also be hosted on my website. So that will have the full show notes, transcript, anything you want.

Mikaela: Lovely, lovely, lovely. Now I touched on that [00:35:00] before about, they didn't have their own supply chain for 2014.

So they were like drop shipping. Do you know ROMWE

Chloe: R O M W E?

Mikaela: Yeah. Is that how you say it?

Chloe: I don't know.

Mikaela: Anyway, they purchase them in 2014.

Chloe: Oh, good for them.

Mikaela: So, apparently they have good relationships with suppliers by paying them on time, which is apparently rare in China, so,

Chloe: well, that's nice.

Mikaela: Yeah. I mean, it all sounds great. Even so when they, moved their supply chain operations in 2015, almost all of the factories it worked with relocated too, which is like, what crazy.

Chloe: Wow.

Mikaela: So the factories are actually required to use their supply chain management software. This basically means that they can monitor the manufacturing process and share real time customer search data with suppliers, which means that's how they can do the quickness.

Chloe: Aha. Okay. Okay. To know what's in demand.

Mikaela: Exactly. Right. And to add onto this as well. [00:36:00] Manufacturers must apparently be located no more than a five hour drive from its main sourcing hub. And must be able to complete the design and production process in as little as 10 days.

Chloe: Whoa.

Mikaela: So rivals like Zara typically have a five week turnaround time.

Chloe: Wow. Oh my gosh. That's such a difference.

Mikaela: I know crazy. So yeah, they're basically constantly gathering and analyzing customer data and use that knowledge to make new designs within as little as three days.

Chloe: Oh my goodness. Whoa, whoa. Wow.


Mikaela: Yeah. So, they use algorithms and data science to identify new trends and add an average of 2,800 new styles towards website each week.

Chloe: Holy moly.

Mikaela: I know.

So to put that,

Chloe: Listen. If, sure they might make 50 of every single item before they go whole ass into it.

Mikaela: I know,

Chloe: but if there's [00:37:00] 2, what? 28,

Mikaela: 2,800 new styles.

Chloe: Wow. If there's that many then, oh my God, I'm not doing the quick maths on that, but that's too many.

Mikaela: I don't know. Well, for comparison, I thought Boohoo and that were like, you know, crazy, crazy, but apparently Boohoo adds around 500 styles a week and Missguided and Fashion Nova around 1000, which is still ridiculous.

Like what 1000 different items of clothing have we not made?

Chloe: and Shein's there like,

Mikaela: yeah, Shein's like F you I'm a double it

Chloe: that's right. Hold my beer. Rookie numbers.

Mikaela: Oh my God. So yeah, one of these, one of these articles actually said that Shein doesn't work with very large factories, but with small to midsize ones that pick up orders daily.

And they said it's like very much like Uber. So when new orders come in, they receive it and then they start on it. So like most retailers place a main order at the start of the season, but Shein's just like...

Chloe: All the time. Wow.

Mikaela: Yeah.

Chloe: I'm sure there are some factories that actually quite like that, because [00:38:00] if they don't have work coming, then suddenly there is something.

Mikaela: Yeah.

Chloe: But also what if, like, you just don't know if it's coming and if you're being paid so little then is it even worth it?

Mikaela: And I can't imagine, that these factories would be committed to any other brands. I think they'd be solely for Shein. I don't know.

Chloe: Yeah. True.

Mikaela: Yeah. But, and then I've got a little subheading here that says money money, and it's just a couple of statistics on money.

Chloe: I'm shocked.

Mikaela: Yeah. So apparently in 2016, They entered the middle east market and, uh, their revenues rised to 617 million. And then the next year, 1.5 billion.

Chloe: Oh, wow.

Mikaela: Billion.

Chloe: Big numbers guys.

Mikaela: What, what, what?

Chloe: Oh, wow.


Mikaela: I know I touched on before that they don't publicly disclose their revenues. But it's [00:39:00] privately estimated, you know, that they did suffer a loss in the pandemic obviously, and they actually also shut down in India, cause of tensions with China, which was interesting.

So they lost a bit of market there, but the rest of the world was fine.

Chloe: Carry on.

Mikaela: Apparently they overtook Amazon in the app store to become the most downloaded US shopping app.

Chloe: Oh wow.

Mikaela: Mm-hmm, crazy.

Chloe: Yikes. Yikes. Yikes.

Mikaela: Yeah. And then I've got here. Like I know I'm just throwing numbers around Willy nilly, but

Chloe: Hit me.

Mikaela: uh, apparently raked in close to 10 billion in 2020, which was reportedly its eighth consecutive year of revenue growth over a hundred percent. So that represents a 250% year on year increase in revenue. Meanwhile, Asos and Boohoo 4.4 billion and 2.4 billion.

Chloe: Oh yeah. More rookie numbers. Come on guys.

Mikaela: Yeah, I know. Like what are they even doing? [00:40:00] Why, why are they even,

Chloe: we want fast, fast fashion, not fast fashion. Come on, get with it.

Mikaela: I know. And I mean, with all of this money, what do you do you try and place a bid to buy Topshop, but

Chloe: did they?

Mikaela: They didn't get it Asos. Got it.

Chloe: Oh, okay.

Mikaela: So that's interesting.

Good for you Asos.

I know. And then at the, this one of these articles said, this is from a Twitter user. If you're shopping on Shein, theoretically, you can buy an entire outfit, accessories, shoes, and everything for $30 or less. So spending $280 can create a year's worth of outfits.

Chloe: Oh, wow. How many outfits is that?

Mikaela: A year's worth, so I don't think it's like 365 different outfits. It's like mix and match and da, da, anyway, we can link that. Cause I've got...

Chloe: my brain's like...

Mikaela: Saved here. I know. I was like, huh?

Chloe: like that's not enough.

Mikaela: I know what. And then I've got the controversy with like a, 'ah', emoji for my next heading.

Chloe: Oh my goodness. Okay.

Mikaela: [00:41:00] So this is just sort of when it's done, not good. so apparently they sold a necklace with a swastika charm and. Later said that it was actually meant to be a Buddhist symbol.

Chloe: It actually might be.

Mikaela: Yeah. I, I think it's quite close, but I feel like...

Chloe: it's a common symbol.

Mikaela: It's probably not something you should

Chloe: profit off.

No, no, absolutely not.

Mikaela: Yeah.

Chloe: Um, as much as it may have been a nice symbol once upon a time. Uh, yeah. Still, no.

Mikaela: No. And then, they also apparently listed Muslim prayer mats on its site, advertised as decorative rugs.

Chloe: Oh.

Mikaela: And, uh, they obviously removed that and apologized. Okay. Um, and now I'm about to send you a link.

I'm gonna get this up, whereas the chat? Good old Instagram and the, uh, lovely page Diet Prada bring in the goods. So there's a, a link here for an example of, stealing from small artists. So when I tell you these are [00:42:00] identical, except one is crochet and one is fabric, have a look.

Chloe: Oh, I see.

That's such an oddly specific thing.

Mikaela: I know. It's like very niche designs. It's like cool crochet with like cut out holes and like cropped tops and frilly pants. Really cool.

Chloe: Like original basically.

Mikaela: Yeah. But look at the like,