There’s no denying that retail has changed over the last few years. The plethora of choice, and ease of access to latest fashions online, has bred a more discerning consumer and the independent retail outlet needs to up its game to compete with the larger multiples.
Enter Luella, the new label that is turning purchasing on its head and giving the power back to the independent retailers and boutiques. Stock on demand, low minimum order quantities and frequently refreshed lines are giving boutiques the competitive edge.
Alison Townshend, Luella’s founder, became increasingly frustrated with the uncompromising buying process for independent retailers. She has spent the last 10 years growing a small chain of boutiques and has learnt that, however loyal, customers want to see fresh stock throughout the season.
Alison’s business was controlled by the forward ordering, large minimum order quantities and restrictive payment terms dictated by many fashion labels; coupled with the lack of new lines introduced throughout a season. “The result is tired stock is left on the rails for an entire season, customers have little incentive to come back, cashflow is stifled, and it’s hard to bring customers back when the next season’s lines are introduced. Meanwhile the large multiples with their economies of scale are faring much better.”
So Alison took matters into her own hands and sourced Italian manufacturers to produce her own mid- to high-end label ‘Luella’, which she is now able to offer to independents and boutiques. Forget forward ordering, Luella is available on demand and accepts low minimum orders with fast delivery. Lines are frequently introduced throughout the season and short order is available.
Alison explains, “Luella enables our stockists to compete with the major fashion retailers. The principles of fast sell-through and limited time availability of garments is key to success, and keeps customers coming back for more. Stockists see a very positive upturn in cash flow, and our WSPs and RRPs give scope for a minimum 350% margin. Everybody wins.”
With her experience as a boutique owner, Alison has proven the success of the Luella label in her own stores first. “The introduction into my stores has been a god send,” she explains. “Fashions change with the seasons, but our weather can be unpredictable! Luella enabled me to react to the summer weather and introduce quality limited edition pieces quickly and meet my customers desires.”
Luella designs, a range of on trend flattering wardrobe staples, are manufactured in Italy using the finest Italian fabrics.