Sample Business Plan Using the Business Model Canvas: E-Commerce for Sustainable Fashion

Business WritingBusiness Concepts

business plan is a written project business students submit as part of their requirements. This paper discusses the nature of a business, its operations, and the strategies that it will employ to reach its goals. This sample business plan uses the  business model canvas as a tool for developing the proposed business and ensuring that all its elements are met.

While the clothing industry is one of the most important sectors of the global economy, it is also one of the most controversial and even harmful in terms of its effects on society and the environment. For one, the clothing industry has been criticized for the widespread exploitation of workers in the developing world. Millions of workers are made to work in dangerous conditions and paid extremely low wages (Jha 2020). For another, the production of cheap low-quality clothing, which has become the hallmark of fast fashion, consumes massive amounts of resources and emits enormous amounts of carbon, making it one of the largest contributors to climate change (Chua 2019). Fortunately, conscious consumption is on the rise, prompting the integration of sustainability into companies’  corporate social responsibility practices and consumers’ purchasing habits (Petro 2020). Ultimately, this creates new business opportunities, especially businesses that meet the needs of the triple bottom line, otherwise known as the PPP or people, planet, and profit. In light of this opportunity, the  contents of this business plan present the details of a new company named Sacks and Shirts that sells sustainable clothing primarily made from repurposed cotton sacks. The business model canvas or BMC will be used as the guiding tool for identifying the business’ major elements.

The Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas, or BMC, is a tool developed by Alexander Osterwalder in 2010 (Osterwalder et al. 2010). This tool is a template comprising nine key elements that make up a business. It can be used for mapping out existing businesses as well as building a model for new ones. These elements are the following: key partners, key activities, key resources, value propositions, customer relationships, channels, customer segments, cost structure, and revenue streams. Each of these elements will be discussed in the following sections.

The Sacks and Shirts Company

The proposed business is called Sacks and Shirts, or S&S for short, a small company that sells clothing and other apparel made from repurposed fabrics, primarily processed cotton sacks used for goods such as flour, sugar, seeds, and grains among others. Flour sacks are usually made of cotton. The fabric is often thick and durable yet also breathable, making them ideal materials for everyday clothing and other items such as bags, footwear, and wrapping cloth among others. In fact, repurposing sacks for clothing is not new. During the Great Depression, many families in rural America would gather feed sacks and turn them into clothing and other household items, thus allowing women to provide clothes for the family at minimal cost (Powell 2012). The practice declined, however, as clothes became cheaper and more accessible even in rural areas (Brandes 2009).

The rise of fast fashion clearly played a part in the decline of this tradition. Globalization and economies of scale made clothes easier to manufacture and sell. The social and environmental costs, however, are staggering. Not only is fast fashion guilty of exploiting workers, but it has also been identified as the main source of greenhouse emissions. Sacks and Shirts seek to make a difference. The company intends to not only bring back the tradition of repurposing sacks but to make it as mainstream as possible. The company’s vision is to promote a sustainable future where fashion does not lead to environmental degradation. S&S intends to achieve this vision through its mission, which is to create a robust market for flour sack clothing and apparel. The company’s core values are sustainability, utility, beauty, and awareness.

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Elements of Sacks and Shirts’s Business Model

The following section presents the main elements of the business model using the business model canvas.

Value Propositions

"Value propositions" is the value that a business brings to its customers. Value can be products and or services that meet the needs of customers. This also refers to intangible benefits such as those that address psychological and emotional needs. The main value proposition of S&S is tangible products made from repurposed flour sacks. As S&S will start as a small business, its main product line features button shirts, simple dresses, and bags of at least three sizes, all made from flour sacks. These clothes will be processed to make them comfortable and classic in design in order to make them suitable for daily use. The product line will be expanded to include other types of clothing and household items such as aprons, mats, and potholders once demand rises. Also included in the value propositions is the satisfaction that conscious consumption provides. Petro (2020) notes that more than half of Generation Z and around half of Millennials consider sustainability when making purchases. S&S’s classic clothes intend to meet these groups’ need for fashionable clothing while minimizing their carbon footprint.

Customer Segments

This element refers to the customers of the business. As S&S is a clothing and apparel company, its customer is the general public. However, S&S seeks to capture a young market. The specific target segment comprises Gen Z (teenagers to early 20s) and Millennials (mid-20s to late 30s), since these are the groups that are more fashion-conscious yet also more receptive to the idea of conscious consumption. Over time, Sacks and Shirts will also expand its clientele to include other segments such as homemakers in search of more sustainable household items.


Channels refer to the pathways through which value is delivered by businesses to customers. Examples include physical stores, distributors, and retailers among others. Since S&S is a small company, it will have two main channels that will cater to customers. The first is through consignment. S&S will enter a consignment deal with the retailer Arasmas, which is known for exclusively carrying sustainable products including food, clothing, and household items. Arasmas has one flagship store in downtown Los Angeles and five smaller stores in adjacent neighborhoods and cities including Beverly Hills and Santa Monica; there are also three stores in San Francisco. Arasmas has also agreed to feature S&S’s products on its website and mobile app. The second is through online platforms. Arasmas is currently developing its website. Instagram and Facebook will also be taking orders while Twitter will be used for information dissemination. Items will be sent to customers by courier service.

Key Resources

Key resources are the vital assets utilized for running the business. These include tangible assets such as stores and equipment, intangible assets like designs and intellectual property, and human resources. S&S’s key resources include its initial capital of $83,000, an artistic and management staff of 6, a full-time sewing staff of 10, and a small workshop based in Los Angeles. Also included in its assets are the designs for its items, three social media accounts (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook), and a website currently in the alpha testing phase.

Key Activities

Key Activities are the vital activities the business performs in order to operate. Sacks and Shirts’s key activities are sourcing its materials, designing and manufacturing its products, marketing the products to entice customers, and delivering the items.

Customer Relationships

Customer relationships can be described as the activities that a company does to gain, maintain, and increase the number of its customers. S&S intends to win over customers through a series of targeted ads on social media platforms, particularly Instagram and Facebook. Arasmas will also conduct some of the marketing through its channels. Meanwhile, all three social media accounts will be used to engage with the public, especially when it comes to informing people regarding the advantages of purchasing sustainable clothing. Maintaining the quality of products and promoting excellent customer service through best practices will also be used to foster customer relationships. Finally, S&S will also consider promos such as discounts and bundled products to encourage new and repeat customers.

Revenue Streams

Revenue streams refers to the sources of revenue. Sacks and Shirts’s main revenue stream will be from the sale of its products to the public. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. 

Key Partners

Key partners are separate entities whose activities are essential to operating a business. In other words, these are the entities that a company works with. Sacks and Shirts’s key partner is Arasmas, which, as noted earlier, will carry S&S’s products in its stores. Another key partner will be FeedCloth, a non-profit organization based in Bakersfield that collects used flour and feed sacks for distribution to companies that repurpose these materials. Bakersfield is the obvious choice since it’s the most productive agricultural county not only in California but in the entire United States (Visit Bakersfield 2021). This in turn means it presents a steady supply of high-quality and cost-friendly sacks. Sourcing from Bakersfield also minimizes the demands of logistics. Finally, S&S will also partner with the courier DHL given that it has shown the best track record when it comes to integrating sustainability into its operations (Marvin 2019).

Cost Structure

Cost structure pertains to the expenditures incurred by the business. In the case of Sacks and Shirts, the main expenditures are the acquisition of materials and manufacture of products, marketing, and human services. Sacks and Shirts prioritize fair wages, and thus the seamstresses that it employs will be given competitive salaries as well as customary benefits like healthcare, paid leaves, and other incentives.


Sacks and Shirts is a new company that sells sustainable clothing, bags, and other apparel. Seeking to leverage growing interest in conscious consumption, S&S will cater to the needs of fashion-conscious but sustainable-minded customers. Products will be promoted via social media platforms, while products will be sold through partnerships with the retailer Arasmas and online stores. As a nascent company, S&S operations will be limited for now, but growth is expected in the coming years as more customers are encouraged to purchase sustainable clothing. Ultimately, it is Sacks and Shirts’s vision to create a sustainable future where fashion does not result in environmental degradation.

This sample business plan is just one of the many types of papers business students are required to write. Others include SWOT Analysis, PESTLE Analysis, Porter’s Five Forces, and Marketing Plan among others. If your workload is too much, you can always ask CustomEssayMeister for help. We have expert and professional writers who can assist you.


Brandes, K 2009, “Feed Sack Fashion in Rural America: A Reflection of Culture,” Online Journal of Rural Research and Policy, vol. 4, iss. 1,

Chua, JM 2019, “The environment and economy are paying the price for fast fashion — but there’s hope,” Vox , viewed 10 October 2021,

Jha, N 2020, “Zara’s billionaire owner was praised for helping in the coronavirus crisis. Workers in Myanmar paid the price,” BuzzFeedNews , viewed 10 October 2021,

Marvin, J 2019, “Which courier is the ‘greenest’?” Intelligent , viewed 10 October 2021,

Ostwalder, A, Pigneur, Y, & Clark, T 2010, Business Model Generation: A Handbook For Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. Strategyzer series, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.

Petro, G 2020, “Sustainable retail: How Gen Z is leading the pack,” Forbes , viewed 10 Oct 2021,

Powerll, M 2012, “From Feed Sack to Clothes Rack: The Use of Commodity Textile Bags in American Households from 1890-1960,” Textile Society of America Symposium Proceedings , 19-22 September, Washington, D.C.

Visit Bakersfield 2021, “Facts and Information,” Visit Bakersfield , viewed 10 October 2021,

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