Rather than relying on a traditional season-based model, at the summer 2016 tradeshows we saw many brands going their own way when it came to design and production
During this season’s tradeshow circuit, we talked to more and more brands that are moving away from a traditional seasonal-based distribution model. Instead, many companies are focused on testing products on a smaller scale first, gauging demand, and then delivering customers exactly what they want. This trial-and-error style production seems to be a nod to the rapidly changing retail landscape, where consumers are more and more savvy and in the know about specific products—and are less willing to settle for something that only partially meets their needs. In response, brands are looking at how they can more efficiently deliver to this consumer. The result is a collective acknowledgment that elements of the old business model must change. Some of the strongest examples we saw, although they occupy different product categories, are leaning heavily on this concept of consumer feedback integration into their business model, letting the new workflow influence product creation and distribution.
Richer Poorer was a great example this season of the idea that consumer feedback is crucial to the design process, and retail success. Rather than focusing solely on a seasonal model of design and distribution, the brand designs a product, releases it on their site, and tracks consumer data. If a certain style or color outperforms the rest, that is the product that Richer Poorer brings to tradeshows.
Richer Poorer tested their women’s Innerwear line with consumers before hitting the tradeshow floor. The results: a carefully curated selection of products the company knows were born to succeed.
Richer Poorer explained that rather than relying on the typical seasonal model, their company focuses more and more on what consumers actually want.
After testing out consumer reactions to product on their site, Richer Poorer can give feedback to retailers on which products resonated best with they key demographics.
Body Glove refreshes product offerings, and what they keep in stock year round. Rather than letting seasons dictate what products they release, the brand responds to current fashions and trends in a way that they see is authentic to their brand. This summer, Body Glove showed us some retro offerings that played well into the 90s resurgence that fashion has seen of late.
As distribution partner for Channel Islands, Surftech works with the brand closely to gauge consumer demand. Because of the already fluid nature of surfboards, there isn’t as much emphasis placed on seasonality in the first place. Surftech takes that a step further by working with CI to determine best-selling models and then producing them for the masses after they’ve already established strong sales through CI’s commerce channels.
Surftech creates a molded efficiency to create the boards at scale. Here, the High Five from Channel Islands is one of the boards that Surftech has experienced success with making in high volume. The board’s MSRP is $760.
Australian based brands are always some of the most interesting case studies when it comes to distribution. Rusty, which has been headquartered in Perth, Australia for quite some time, recently just reigned its North American business back into its Oz HQ. Formerly, the brand was under a North American license, but now the executive team says it is streamlining global distribution. The beauty of designing and producing product in Australia is that trends have a chance to catch on and gain traction seasons in advance. The team can then take what’s working and translate it into the North American market, making adjustments as they go along.