When Imperfect Foods launched in 2015, I remember immediately gravitating toward their mission: they were selling the funky, ugly, small items that many grocery stores turn down, thus helping reduce food waste while offering an affordable price to consumers. I signed up, and my family has received produce deliveries for years.
Often what surprises me as an Imperfect Foods customer is how undetectable the imperfections are. In addition to truly “imperfect” goods (ones that may be blemished, misshapen, etc), the company is often picking up excess or over-ordered products, ensuring they don’t end up wasted. They take what others may not want — even if the reasons are superficial — and find those products a welcome home.
Over the years, this idea has become slightly less novel, and the mission of reducing waste at a discounted price-point has spread. Lululemon updates their “We Made Too Much” page weekly, slashing prices for goods that simply aren’t selling through as quickly as expected. Smaller brands like Cotton Flower Clothing promote their “perfectly imperfect” stock, with minor flaws that don’t threaten the integrity or quality of their products.
The “imperfect revolution” isn’t necessarily a new one, but it’s one that I’ve been proud to bring to First Peak. Like other clothing brands celebrating minor cosmetic or hard-to-notice flaws, I see multiple benefits to offering slightly imperfect products to the First Peak community. First and foremost, I believe that products that uphold our standards of fit, feel, and functionality belong nowhere near a landfill. Ever since I launched this brand, I’ve committed to sourcing sustainable fabrics and running local, low-impact production; finding a home for our just slightly imperfect goods feels fully aligned with that mission.
Secondly, I’m excited for the opportunity to offer some of our products at a discounted price. I’ve written before about my stance against “flash sales,” and I truly aim to price First Peak clothes fairly all year round. But I do acknowledge that for many families, the price of a slightly imperfect shirt or bodysuit may enable them to try our products, or outfit more children, without the pressure of a higher bill.
And finally, the early response to our imperfect products has been wildly positive. Customers are celebrating the “look” of our imperfects — whether the darker collars on our last batch of Ts, or the more earthy, exposed weave of our latest bodysuits — or commenting that they may never have noticed the difference at all. Better yet, they feel they’re being treated with honesty and compassion, which is my true aim. First Peak is a community, and calling out when there are minor flaws is one way of appreciating and honoring that community.
Imperfect goods may not be for everyone, but I believe there is a true place in the market for these products. And as a mom building this brand alongside my young son, I hope this initiative can model for him the benefits of honesty and creativity in the face of challenges.
If you’re looking to support our mission of sustainability, inclusivity, and openness, check out the details here. As with any growing business, I know and accept that will be more imperfections to come, and I’ll continue to update our offerings accordingly.