As our retail stores open again, I wanted to take the opportunity to share some personal thoughts on our brand and business, and its place within the fashion industry.
At Juliette Hogan our focus has always been on thoughtful design using quality materials and craftsmanship to create garments that stand the test of time – a design focus that has felt at times, out of step with seasonal promotional activity. Generally as a brand, we launch new collections and go on sale inline with our competitors and the independent boutiques that stock our collections, and within the traditional seasonal fashion calendar.
The growing #rewiringfashion movement fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the conversation amongst some of the biggest players in the global luxury industry around the fashion calendar: being out of sync with real-world seasons and this being detrimental to sales. This thought-provoking and welcome dialogue resonates strongly with us here at Juliette Hogan. We are excited for the opportunity that we have as a business and as an industry to begin to act on these ideas and the positive effect this could have here in New Zealand for designers, retailers, and customers alike. It certainly feels like a sea-change out there, and one that we are ready to be a part of.
We have spent the lockdown exploring both new ways of working, and where we can increase focus on our existing efforts, that align with this way of thought. These include looking at expanding our core non-seasonal product, complemented by smaller more frequent drops - improving our ability to plan inventory levels more accurately reducing both discounting and waste, and in turn having a positive effect on both our brand and our sustainability. We have found the Business of Fashion and The Innovators podcast great resources specific to our industry and full of intelligent and thought-provoking analysis and ideas around this.
The reality is that due to closure of our four retail stores during lockdown (at what is traditionally a busy trading time), and also our efforts to support our stockists by absorbing some of their indent orders, like most fashion retailers, we will have higher inventory levels than planned at the end of this season. We have been brainstorming ideas on how we can best manage this situation with the following principles at the forefront of our minds:
- Respecting our loyal customers (I have been so blown away by the kind words and support we have received from you all)
- Protecting the health of our business
- Ensuring the ongoing security of the individuals and local businesses connected to ours
- Our continued belief in the value of our brand and products: 96% New Zealand made, thoughtful design and enduring pieces to treasure for years to come.
It will be an interesting next few months as we work hard to find the perfect balance between these principles and make decisions to ensure that as a business we’ll be here for years to come. I am genuinely excited for the challenge and the positive change for our industry ahead.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and I sincerely welcome your thoughts around the ideas I have touched on. If you do have any feedback please feel free to get in touch. And lastly a big heartfelt thanks to my team whose support and commitment has been so humbling.