Current Situation and Dilemma of the Wholesale Clothing Market

Christine Tsui Fashion Community

Current Situation and Dilemma of the Wholesale Clothing Market

Tao -Shanghai / Hangzhou- Wholesale Manufacturer, etc. @ Wechat

Tao, Shanghai / Hangzhou, Architect. Bachelor of Architecture at University of Melbourne. Tao’s family owns a business dealing with wholesale stalls for 20 years. Tao is often found in wholesale markets in Beijing and Hangzhou.

FOREWORD

Wholesale is a means of clothing sale, and it is also a very important process and link in the clothing industry, which controls the most important supply source in the entire clothing industry. It is indispensable for both manufacturers and vendors. From the reform and opening up to now, in just a few decades, China has entered the era of consumption upgrade from the stage of supply deficiency—so now, what course should the wholesale clothing market follow?

Distribution and Classification of Wholesale Markets

Wholesale markets exist in all major cities in China. In terms of scale, the wholesale markets in Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Shenzhen belong to the primary market, and most of the other provincial capital cities belong to the secondary market. Beijing is special in the secondary market. Its wholesale market is dominated by the Zoo and Dahongmen. With an overall large volume in the past few years, it has been an important transit point from the south to the north. However, in recent years, due to industrial upgrading, most of Beijing’s clothing wholesale market has moved away.

Among all wholesale markets, there are many foreign trade factories in Guangzhou, due to geographical reasons. There are also tens of thousands of large and small factories in Humen around Guangzhou with very large output. The style producing is relatively the fastest, and the quality of clothes is generally guaranteed in the wholesale markets in Guangzhou. There are many markets based on different positioning including Baima, Thirteen Factories, Shahe, Huimei, and Red Cotton. They are also relatively mature and organized in terms of management.

The management of the Shenzhen Nanyou Wholesale Market is also very good. Compared with other wholesale markets, the Nanyou Market is more oriented towards original designs and higher class, while the price is also relatively high. It is generally export-oriented and will designate different processing systems based on the exporting countries.

In addition to Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong, basically, clothing wholesale markets exist in the capital cities of all provinces. For example, Qipu Road in Shanghai, Evergreen in Hangzhou, Hankou North in Wuhan, Lotus Pond in Chengdu, Enjoy in Zhengzhou, Wuai in Shenyang, Markwell in Harbin, Machine Station in Xi’an, etc., but the most important markets for clothing trade in the country are the three formulas of Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Shenzhen. These.

Near Guangzhou, The Humen market in Dongguan is also large in size and belongs to the primary market. There are many product categories in Humen market that mainly focus on processing, and many products are exported to Singapore, Southeast Asia and the United States. The exported products are well finished, especially the ones exported to the United States, Taiwan, and Japan, which are usually subject to strict quality inspection, and product quality is guaranteed. Wholesale markets around Shenzhen deal in more high-end products. Most wholesale markets encompass all kinds of positioning, covering high, middle and low end. Wholesale markets in Guangzhou, in fact, also include different positionings. Various levels are distributed to different buildings, or different floors of the same building, China is a large wholesale country that sells clothing to foreign countries. Not only domestic consumers, but also many foreigners come to the Guangzhou market for products.

The positioning of Evergreen in Hangzhou mostly belongs to the mid-class. The more popular markets are Yifa, Zhongzhou and Jiutian. The products in Yifa are trendy, and most of them are from first-hand manufacturers, with slightly lower price than that of Zhongzhou. Most of them are in stock. The positioning of Jiutian is mainly cashmere with higher price. It is fair to say that Yifa is the most sought-after stall in Hangzhou in recent years with good management and fierce competition. Products in Zhongzhou are mainly European and Korean, and some are from studios. Mostly it is in Korean style, while there are also a few original brands that are developing well.

In addition to the ones mentioned above, there are also many markets in China that, despite not familiar to everyone, are important origins of clothing. For example, there are Tongxiang and Dongguan for knitwear, Xinji Haining for fur, Zhengzhou for women’s trousers, menswear in Changshu, down for Pinghu, denim in Dayong and Xintang, and double-sided wool in Kunshan. And Tongxiang’s cashmere product is also their big advantage– especially in the past two years, it has developed very fast. Merchants in the Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai like to go to Tongxiang, which produces good double-sided fabrics and sweaters. Although these markets are not large and cannot be categorized as primary markets by scale, they are important sources of clothing production.

There will also be a phenomenon of hyping in these markets, because many hit and hot sells will copy each other. One of the important characteristics of the wholesale market is the focus on volume, so it is fair to say that the overall requirement for design is not high. Some stalls buy designs from abroad, and sometimes Shenzhen, as a base for original clothing designs, is often copied by merchants in Hangzhou. From the perspective of fashion design, there tends to be a gradually weakening sense of fashion from south to north, so it is usually the north that follows the trend of fashion in the south. In the past, this cycle may take up to 1-2 years, but with the advent of the information network era, now it has shrunk greatly. For example, the difference of fashion trend for ladies between North and South is 10-15 days.

Although there are many first-tier wholesale markets in super-first-tier cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, in the future, with the development of scales and industrial upgrades of cities, the wholesale markets in these cities will be gradually marginalized—the clothing processing industry will definitely not be accommodated in first tier cities, so these wholesale markets may shift to the model of ordering.

Operation Mode of Wholesale Market

There are several types of merchants in the wholesale market, including self-producing and selling, production outsourcing, hyping (second tier market), brand ambassador, etc., who focuses are different. However, a large number of merchants in the market copy each other, jeopardizing the environment of original design, and sales are dominated by volume.

Self-producing and selling: Own a processing factory and sell at stalls.

Production outsourcing: Produce designs yourself and place orders for shipment to processing factories, which puts more emphasis on design capabilities.

Hyping (Second-tier market): Take products from other suppliers and resell them to make profit from the difference of prices, which is common in secondary wholesale markets. This model takes advantage on geographic conditions and information asymmetry to make profits—a test for overall capabilities.

Brand ambassador: Represent a certain brand, order and ship from the head office for resale. Unlike the common second-tier market, the design is provided entirely by the head office.

Online wholesale mode: The most famous online wholesaler is 1688. In fact, 1688 can be compared with self-producing and selling, as well as second-tier market. One is the manufacturer’s self-operated shop, and the other is to firstly get the products from the manufacturer and then sell them online; meanwhile, the price is really Cheap. For many stalls that rely on speed and market sensitivity as a selling point, online wholesale provides a faster and wider platform. However, the disadvantage is that the actual fabric is out of touch. Since it is easy to copy from online wholesale products, many manufacturers would not put new and popular products online for wholesale. These popular hit products are often quickly digested offline already. Although the cost is low for online stores, it is necessary to keep promoting to ensure the exposure rate. Real manufacturers do not have so many hit products. And after the online investment is completed, the major customers will go offline. Some merchants that are doing well on 1688 are actually in the secondary market, but once they have really cultivated a customer base, they usually would not like to see their stores overly exposed. Online stores are just a type of sales channel. There are distinct positionings and sales plans for different products. Various e-commerce platforms also have their own positioning, and different products are suitable for different channels at different times. The channels for profitable designs and clearance designs are usually not the same. For example, Y.Sing takes the form of independent design and sales, both online and offline.

In fact, there is no clear-cut boundary between these models, and they are often mixed with each other. For example, some of the second-tier merchants will also order hit products from factories; those who produce and sell themselves will go to other suppliers to get products to supplement their own ones. The emergence of online wholesale will not exert a fundamental impact on the physical wholesale market. After all, physical retail still has its irreplaceable function and charm that online retail cannot replace. The current technology has not yet reached a level where people can have a good experience solely online. Although the technology is getting more and more advanced, it will only boost the physical market to further improve its requirements for quality and service.

Due to the different models in the wholesale market, we need to accumulate experience to get products from the stalls in the wholesale market. For those who are new to the industry, most wholesale markets are still quite confusing. In the wholesale market, it usually requires few sizes for one single design, providing that the single price is almost the same with retail price. It’s easy to get pitted at the beginning. There may be different quality and price in different stalls for the same style. There was an article on Zhihu: someone bought the same garment from Taobao, Tmall, and JD.com for comparison. While they all looked the same, the fabric was still different. For the same design, different platforms have different suppliers and purchase channels, so the quality may be different. Usually Taobao sellers who buy products the wholesale market will go to shops that are exclusive to Taobao. There will usually be signs hanging on the door of this kind of shops—for example, there is a lot of stalls in Shahe Jinma in Guangzhou that are dedicated to Taobao, with lower prices and poorer quality. Other stalls do not want business with Taobao sellers, because they think it will disrupt market prices. The prices of physical wholesale and Taobao are very different, which also applies to the quality of products. Nothing for nothing and very little for a half penny. Competition of price online will definitely affect the quality of materials.

The present and future of the wholesale market

Currently, the first problem for wholesale markets is rising rents. Because the wholesale markets were built in the central areas of cities in the early years, they were generally close to transportation hubs, such as train and bus stations. Therefore, the value of the areas in these years have become unsuitable, and the rising rent has become a major problem. For example, one of the two major clothing markets in Beijing was entirely demolished, and the other was rectified. Wholesale markets in other cities, such as Shanghai and Hangzhou, also face relocation. Physical stores on the street, especially during the previous two years, are not doing well, mainly because there are now more sales channels like WeChat and online stores, etc. Physical chain stores, due to their size and quantity, are doing fine. If it is not a designer shop, a single shop is still difficult to manage, which makes the high rent a great burden.

The second problem is management. Most of the place for wholesale clothing is a mix of good and bad, and the feelings the market gives people are dirty, disordered and bad, often causing problems such as traffic and order. Therefore, many markets are undergoing rectification or relocation.

The third problem is the model. Many merchants in the wholesale market are pursuing hit products. In order to supply in season, they have to gamble to stock up, which puts a lot of pressure on manufacturers.

The fourth problem lies in the shortage of processing resources. Labor for making clothes is becoming increasingly low. The operating cost of places for clothing assemble is also increasing year by year.

Despite this, there will be a market when there is demand. Although the physical wholesale market faces many problems, it will not disappear. Instead, it will respond to market and consumer needs and develop in new trends. What is the future trend of the clothing wholesale market?

The first trend is that as consumer requirements become increasingly high, the demand for design capabilities become gradually higher. In recent years, the life cycle of a single design in the wholesale market is getting shorter. A hit product can be sold for two or three years before, but for now, sometimes it can only be sold for up to a quarter, which requires manufacturers to keep promoting.

Take Hangzhou Yifa as an example. Many merchants originally turned out to be “gambling”—preparing a batch of goods was for a quarter and sometimes rely on luck to see whether it “hits” and “dies”, so many owners ran away a few years ago. There have been some changes in the model over the years. More designs have been used to test, and the fault tolerance rate has increased.

In the future, the requirements for design style and speed are also going up. Design is something very costly. Only merchants that do well in the wholesale market can slowly develop or cooperate with designers to seek common development. Evergreen Wholesale Market is learning from in Shenzhen by putting the original design in front. Now a Yifa original center is newly established, together with M21 opened by Jiutian Group—they both seem to be developing into the showroom mode. Consumers’ spending power has been improved, and domestic products will become increasingly good in the future.

The second trend is the relocation of core areas, which was also mentioned before. Sooner or later, the wholesale market will relocate to the suburbs or surrounding cities, and even move closer to the source as the factory moves.

The third trend is decentralization. Now that the information is getting more and more developed, it will become increasingly difficult to hype. Many long-time practitioners will go to factories for products, and the space of the secondary market will become smaller. It is only possible to save costs by reducing intermediate price difference. For some fast fashion companies, except when they request documentary assistance in China, in any other countries, they would purchase through buyers, who directly communicate with suppliers (may include factories). Now factories are also very versatile, with both design capabilities and foreign trade export capabilities. For example, in Bacheng, Kunshan, factories specialize in the production of woolen coats. Basically, each of them is a family-based workshop. While taking orders for processing, it also deals in wholesale and retail, and cooperating with Taobao sellers as well. After the seller takes a picture of the clothes, the order is shipped directly from the manufacturer, so that Taobao sellers can reduce the amount of stock.

The fourth trend is the labor problem, that is, the problem of processing resources. The rivalry for human processing resources will intensify, and the cost of employment will also increase significantly. In Hangzhou, the average salary of processors has reached more than 10,000 yuan, and the annual income of one couple (husband and wife) is about 180,000 yuan. The workers who make double-sided fabrics are earning 10,000 yuan a month because they need to sew by hand. A video a few days ago shows that more than 2,000 recruiters in Guangzhou lined up in the street, waiting to be picked by the workers. Even if the daily salary has increased to 400 yuan, instead of suitable workers, they could only get green hands. In addition, factory processing is very difficult, and working 12 hours a day is normal. Young people rarely choose to be garment workers because they can’t stand the boring assembly lines. Processing resources will become more and more scarce in the future, and there is also the case that orders from Hangzhou are sent to Anhui, Hubei, and Hunan. Because the cost is too high in Hangzhou, some experienced workers went back to their hometown to open a small processing mill. A lot of wool factories now outsource orders twice or three times, and then 50 or 60 year-old women sew them at home, settling wages with the factory according to the number of pieces. Maybe in the future, artificial intelligence will be used to replace part of the clothing processing, however, the current cost of technology is too high, and profits cannot afford it.

The fifth trend is the trend of singularization of products. Now manufacturers are becoming more devoted, categories are starting to be subdivided, and more emphasis is placed on small scale and refinement, doing something more professional as professionals. In recent years, most of the companies dealing in brand operation in Hangzhou have declined, and single-product companies have begun to rise. More often than not, only by focusing on one thing can we do our best.

The sixth trend is the polarization of high and low-end products. These years, the businesses of some low-class markets are also very popular, since a large number of people who pursue cost-effectiveness in remote areas still exist. But corresponding to this is the consumption upgrade. Manufacturers with good quality will survive well, and there are also many consumers pursuing quality consumption.

With the development of the Chinese economy, the traditional wholesale market is facing the problem of transformation and upgrading, with multiple markets already in the plan of relocation and rectification. The market’s requirements for merchants’ professionalism, originality, and production capacity have also become increasingly high with the improvement of consumption levels. As an important part of clothing sales, the clothing wholesale market is facing many problems today, however, this does not mean that it has reached the end, but instead, it is undergoing a process of elimination and adaptation, as well as upgrading and transformation. The temporary predicament also means the arrival of breakthrough. While the traditional clothing wholesale market seems to be gradually declining, in the long run, it is the beginning of more industrialization, standardization and specialization.

How Far Can the Model of “Buy Designs and Trace Patterns to Produce and Sell” Go? How Should Designers Respond to This Model?

Christine Tsui Fashion Community

How Far Can the Model of “Buy Designs and Trace Patterns to Produce and Sell” Go? How Should Designers Respond to This Model?

Nancy- Shanghai- Designer, etc.

Nancy studied naval architect and marine engineering for her undergraduate degree. She started her career in the apparel industry as a junior. Currently, she works as a designer assistant in a foreign trade company and contributes styles to domestic and foreign brands. With the intern experience at independent designer brand POLLYANNA KEONG, Nancy has a thorough understanding about the style production of independent designers. After graduation, she was engaged in clothing (foreign trade) business. Therefore, she also understands the style production patterns of American and Australian designer brands. After serving at HLA, she also learned about the design production models and current status of large domestic brand companies.

 

The industrial chain in the apparel industry (design-production-sales) is often biased towards the back end, which means that the main industrial model and profit point lie in clothing production and processing, as well as distribution and export. In the initial stage of the clothing industry, low labor costs often make it easier for the clothing industry to benefit from manufacturing and sales. At the same time, however, design research and development, which should have become the core competitiveness of the industry, has not received enough attention, and the role of designers is even more difficult to highlight. Therefore, although China is a big exporter of the world’s clothing industry, it is not strong one. For many years, “low profit and low value” has been looming the industry. Practitioners have worked hard to find a way out, especially for designers.

European and American fashion circles have always been coveting Chinese culture. Met Ball (Charity Ball of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) announced the theme of “China: Flowers in the mirror and the moon’s reflection in the water ” in 2015, which explored the influence of Chinese culture on artistic creation in terms of fashion, clothing, painting, porcelain, art, and movies. This manifests its extreme desire for Chinese culture. But Anna Wintour (the editor-in-chief of “VOGUE” magazine) believes that China has never had its own fashion and real designers. Given that we have been in the stage of plagiarism and imitation, we were never able to cross this threshold.

The entire clothing industry may yet to be sorted out. Some Chinese citizens blindly follow first-tier international brands and pay no attention to domestic brands; some excellent businessmen switch to designers while excellent designers switch to sales, because it is difficult for the brand to survive if there is no profit; there are also some entrepreneurs with designer visions who purchase fashionable and stylistic samples in batches from abroad to trace their patterns for production and sales– low prices with avant-garde styles have won the favor of more consumers. As a result, the position of pattern cutters who have strong ability to trace patterns has far surpassed that of designers in the industry. So, how far can this model of ” buy designs and trace patterns to produce and sell ” go in the future? To know the answer, let’s start with the current status and model of pattern production of domestic womenswear companies.

With the enhancement of national strength, the consumption power of the Chinese people has been improving, so more and more big foreign brands are trying to attract Chinese consumers with the hope of further stimulating this market. While foreign brands are seizing the opportunity to attract this huge consumer market of China, how can domestic brands seize the opportunity? In recent years, more and more domestic designer brands have begun to use the concept of “Guochao” to position themselves with the rise of domestic trends. But at present, most domestic designers and brands have not sufficiently refined the elements of Chinese culture. This is because firstly, fashion in China has only gradually risen since the reform and opening up, developing much later than other European and American countries. Secondly, there are also some consumer factors. In addition, many “Guochaos” are designed by some independent designers. Although the design style is aimed at the niche, the target group is the general public. The design style and target customer group have not been matched up from the beginning, which leads to the fact that it isn’t doing as well as some big foreign brands.

But on the whole, the domestic apparel industry has now entered a period of adjustments. From the general trend of the clothing industry, womenswear is currently developing better than menswear, and at the same time, gender-neutral clothing has become popular. In addition, with the development of Internet technology, the clothing industry is also expanding and transforming to e-commerce networks.

Under the influence of this trend, domestic womenswear brands’ method of style production also indicates the following characteristics:

  1. Design and development stages are not valued;
  2. Domestic designers cannot dig into their culture well and intently;
  3. Methods such as buying designs can directly lead to higher benefits, making it difficult to highlight the value of designs.

The three reasons above directly affect the design production method of domestic womenswear brands.

What is the Design Production Model of Domestic Womenswear Brand Companies?

In the general environment, the model of ” buy designs and trace patterns to produce and sell” has made more and more medium and large brand companies eager to seize the psychology of the mass consumers to gain a place in the market. Here is just an example of the company I worked at, HLA. The company’s womenswear brands include Aiju Rabbit (20-25 years old), OVV (25-35 years old, light luxury), and EXOM, which was previously announced to be dissolved. Each brand has its own team: design director, designer, pattern cutter and assistant designer. However, given the company’s large scale, there are hundreds of suppliers for a single brand, and each supplier has broken their minds to make supply designs for the brand. And this kind of design supply method is, based on the company’s design plan, the supplier travels with the design director or designer to Japan and South Korea, buys sample clothings and traces their patterns directly to profit. Most of the time, the designs are copied exactly from the original fabrics, trimmings, patterns and floral designs. In this case, the brand designer only needs to produce 20% of the patterns– the remaining 80% is assigned by the design director.

In this regard, my biggest doubt is that since the company has paid a lot of money for foreign planning teams to make a detailed trend analysis, why is the entire brand still applying this mode of operation? At that time, my company usually developed summer styles in August to October for May-July next year, autumn styles in November to January for August- October next year, winter styles in February to May for November-January next year, and spring styles in June to July for February – April next year. Of course, some supplements will be adjusted in due course. This development time is reasonable enough for designers to design independently, but due to the brand’s need for better market acceptance, that is, a good sales rate, design directors would still choose to ” buy designs and trace patterns to produce and sell.” And the pattern production mode of other domestic large and medium-sized clothing brand companies is also basically looking at the market for trends, and then choosing images that match the theme based on plans. After all, it is still copying from the market. In this model, how to increase the hit rate of style production and boost the brand’s sales rate?

First and foremost, the control of design time. The main control lies in the design director, followed by the designer, and finally the assistant designer. Every week /month, produce styles according to the assigned task of “color system, profile, printing and embroidery”, and report in time to the superior. This requires designers to improve the hit rate of their styles, that is, “how to quickly and accurately grasp the core of each quarter.” Secondly, the source of new designs. Most companies choose to copy mainly because the design director does not trust the designer, or the styles the designer produces is unable to adapt to the market. The fundamental reason is that the designer lacks an understanding to the complex structure of the industry. This also requires that the designer pays attention to accumulating styles. When seeing a good style (overall or structure of some parts), he or she can communicate with the pattern maker. Through this long-term discussion mode, designers cultivate a strong ability of structure association, and lay a solid foundation for producing styles on their own in the future.

Taking EXOM as an Example

EXOM is a light luxury brand established by HLA in July 2017. Taking “post-80s” as the dominant market, the brand anchors consumer psychology as ” the taste of CELINE with a budget of COS”, that is, “practical + selective “.

The following image is an overview of the womenswear market:

屏幕快照 2020-03-02 下午11.28.40(Source:  EXOM brand forerunner)

From the picture above, we know that the brand’s positioning in the early stage is very accurate, but in the process of fashion development, the brand designer failed to bring personal style or blend it with other styles, therefore, the ” buy designs and trace patterns to produce and sell” model has been followed, making the look of final products too similar to the overall style of Aiju Rabbit—this deviates it from the original brand positioning, so it was eventually dissolved (certainly, this also involves internal decision-making).

From this we can conclude that “buy designs and trace patterns to produce and sell” can quickly gain a group of consumers in a certain period of time, but the long-term plagiarism will make it impossible for the original brand story to keep a foothold, and consumers will not be able to form enough loyalty /reliance.

If a company only wants to profit without good products, with the increasing of homogenization of clothing, indistinctive products will inevitably be eliminated by the market. This brand positioning layout and style production model may be able to develop well in the beginning, but the vitality is not long enough. This situation is becoming increasingly conspicuous in the women’s clothing industry. Not only EXOM, but also well-known brands such as SANDRO and MAJE are becoming more pupularized.

The Impact of E-commerce (Internet Celebrity) Brands

The e-commerce (Internet celebrity) brand was also the first to get a response from consumers through the ” buy designs and trace patterns to produce and sell” model. For example, independent e-commerce brands with a sense of design, such as ROSE LING LING and FANO STUDIO are generally based on Japanese and Korean niche brands (RECTO, PAUL & ALICE, SOONSU, etc.). They copy the patterns directly or make slight adjustments. They release new products very fast — usually once the referenced brand releases new styles, they are able to produce copies within 7-10 days, and many medium and large branded companies will take these as styles for the next year, which makes them obviously lag behind these e-commerce brands and lose a number of trend followers to a large extent.

In this regard, how can brands provide more novel designs? How do designers change designs? In terms of my personal habits, first of all, designers should classify materials in their daily life:

  1. Save them based on the categories of collar, shoulders, sleeves, waist, and hem, so that you can use these elements when you see the appropriate shape in the future.
  2. The daily aesthetic accumulation cannot be missed–“What kind of silhouette can be used for what elements, whether the overall style is coherent”– these are the long-term accumulation process.

In the Internet era, the speed of information dissemination is fast, which makes all online celebrity stores look the same—it doesn’t make much difference between visiting a few stores and visiting only one. Previously, an Internet celebrity copied the designs of Chictopia, and there were even a lot of people applauding for it under Weibo. It can be seen that the domestic awareness of copyright in clothing design is still weak. Focusing on operation instead of design, they only take clothing as an item to profit without idea input. Big brands are also just copying competitive products to avoid mistakes. There are a number of small brands that engage in pre-sale models, ordering products based on market response. Consumers also only pay attention to the appearance rather than the feelings of the actual fabric and wearing experience. All these factors further catalyze the severe plagirism of the market, and a large number of brands distribute products to occupy the market, leading to the following characteristics in the majority of e-commerce online brands:

  1. The product is invalid, and the quality of the fabric of the garment does not meet the standard;
  2. The design is not flattering;
  3. Poor intellectual property protection and brands copy each other;
  4. Limited publicity and promotion are overly dependent on the fan base.

Clothing has to firstly be flattering and comfortable, and it is also important to reflect the taste, interest, identity, status and other people’s sense of recognition, but the most important factor is the quality.

Survival Situation of Independent Designers

“The real situation of domestic independent designers is that they are not able to find good fabric, factories and stable customers.” Young designers tend to operate personal brands, but the establishment of a new brand is not easy: funding for designs, establishing a studio, hiring employees, promotion and sales all need to be done by hand.

In addition, there is often a huge gap in aesthetics between independent designers and ordinary consumers. Designers’ creativity pays so little attention to the market that it is hardly accepted. Certainly, in the past two years, the impact of the Internet (the promotion of clothing e-commerce platforms, the recording of designer competitions and the brand effect of celebrities) has pushed more independent designer brands to the forward position. More post-90s generations are willing to pay for these distinctive styles.

In 2015, I have interned at POLLYANNA KEONG, which was famous for its color schemes and floral designs. The sales channels back then include D2C, Shangpin, Netease and other e-commerce platforms, which were similar to Taobao; following these were the artist’s brand effect. At that time, the brand had cooperated with YIGUE (Shanghai Yigue Clothing Co., Ltd.). In terms of the given color scheme from large companies, independent designers were not able to submit works that were satisfactory to each other: Independent designers had to reduce many avant-garde elements of their brands to cater to the market and constantly adjust trends and elements into something easily acceptable– this kind of running-in is a severe torment for many young independent designer brands. Although the runway shows were glorious, the sales rate later became a concern for designers and companies.

Some people think that independent designer brands can ensure the coordination to a great extent. Designers can easily master the personal brand and do not need to cater to the mass market all the time, which is why a lot of recent graduates are more willing to open a personal studio. In this regard, I will still take POLLYANNA KEONG as an example. One thing I admire about POLLYANNA KEONG is that designers never buy patterns or copy deesigns. Many independent designer brands basically give designers their heads without limiting the way designers think. This includes AWAYLEE, with which we had a cooperation–their team will not buy patterns and copy designs, and will give designers a sufficient development cycle (6-7 months), consistently communicate with the pattern makers to produce the appropriate version. I remember when I was producing styles for POLLYANNA KEONG three years ago, whenever I told the design director which pictures I referenced for my styles, she could get my points quickly, and I would also give her design drawings as soon as possible. But then when I went to other companies to produce styles, I had to find pictures fully approved by the design director. She accepted neither my description, nor my design or effect drawings. She will only allow us to develop them when the pictures we found suited the styles she wanted.

Nevertheless, from 2015 to 2017, POLLYANNA KEONG also needed to continuously update the styles of each quarter and invest in several artists at the same time. If it weren’t for Wang Ziwen who wore a few outfits from the brand in the TV series Ode to Joy, it would be difficult for the brand to usher in its renaissance. But the cost for designers to invest in artists is still huge.

Therefore, for young designers who have just graduated, I recommend working in companies for a while. Only start considering operating your own brand after you have gained control over the brand and market and known the techniques of fabrics and trimmings. While designers are mostly sentimental, profiting means to be able to sell good products and designs. But original designers and independent designers often lack marketing awareness, as well as elements for sales and business. To achieve a combination of sensibility and rationality, designers still lack teams, funds, channels, packaging, rational business thinking, a fully coordinated supply chain, etc., which is why they need business partners. For example, in Mukzin model, the husband is responsible for business and the wife takes care of design and supply chain. However, the reason why most independent designers or design directors are reluctant to find partners is that only few people can resonate with their styles and ideals. Certainly, some independent designer brands have design teams, so all the design director needs to do is control the overall style of the brand. But in any case, what we need to understand is that from the perspective of brand development, the key does not lie the temporary design, but rather the continuity and change; and in terms of current management, the requirements of funding background and the founder’s social connection to establish a brand are too high; it is not easy to found a brand. Many original designers evolve into brands by starting from wholesale OEM for profits, such as NGAN LOK International. Its products have developed from wholesale OEM to brand, and then returned to the market for wholesale business based the development of the brand. In its zenith, it has even developed a team of foreign designers with a scale of hundreds of entities.

What Should Designers Do if They Don’t Start Their Own Brands?

New graduates to the company always complain about the tedious design work in terms of the choice of fabrics, decision of styles, printing and embroidery, techniques, patterns and modification, etc. In fact, these are basically the same as graduation designs, and it is not that complicated. The daily accumulated experience during work is a valuable asset in the future. What we should do is categorize and summarize. So how do we overcome this impetuous mentality?

When I was doing translation for customers’ design reviews in clothing business, I often thought about issues of patterns. This was also the foundations for being able to give accurate opinions on some basic patterns when I went to HLA.  Carrying it onto the current design works, I can analyze the accurate structures better and give them to pattern makers, which facilitates the entire operation.

In the industry, design is not just a process of drawing–there is a lot more to know. Many domestic design graduates find it difficult when they start working for companies. This is also because they focus on the study of theoretical knowledge while they have too little practical experience. For example, fabric selection is a big issue. Many designers who just entered society don’t know much about features of fabrics. The main cause is that they did not go to fabric markets frequently, and neither did they design a lot. In addition, they did not do sufficient summary, which directly affects the speed of style production, leveling up difficulties.

As designers, when we are designing, not only do we need to have knowledge about fabric, but also comprehensively consider factors such as technique and pattern.  Stop pattern designers from saying “What’s good with designers? Aren’t they just copying designs/ how can you miss the core when all you do is copy” over and over again, which make both parties embarrassed. In fact, as long as you set your mind on it, whether you are sorting orders, fabrics, techniques, designs or other relevant work, you will be able to summarize a lot of design-related experience. Working in a brand company is still very helpful for the future profession or career development of most people. It is completely different from factories and wholesale industries, and the improvement you obtained is also multi-dimensional. For example, there will be technical directors in brand companies, from whom you can learn a lot in terms of batch and silhouette patterns. For companies and brands, designs are good only when they sell well and have reasonably flattering and new elements. It is not sufficient for designers to only understand aesthetics; what’s more important is to keep up with the market and try to go ahead of it. Work hard on basics during school education, and attentively accumulate knowledge in society. Learning is a lifelong matter, and you will always be rewarded through slow accumulations.

Certainly, some people feel that it is difficult to fulfill their great aspirations, and that the brand concept is inconsistent with their own design concepts. The expectations of producing clothes based on their own wills as an independent designer means that they are yet to understand the reality of the market. Many times, when the garments they developed themselves are negated by the design director, they should have known that the denials from consumer will be even more cruel. What we should do is to find out the market needs, consumers’ psychology and consumption habits, and then integrate fashion elements into designs to instill them in consumers. It is only appropriate to say that “ It’s a more robust step into an independent designer” when you have the ability to produce a collection, know what designs sell well and how to add novel elements. Only when I was working at HLA did I learn what a market is and realize that design itself isn’t a wild card. When I was able to face the sales rate of each season with composure, I knew that I can adapt to the design environment. But if you are determined to be an independent designer, you need to go to companies for practice, which, on the other hand, shouldn’t take too long, so as to avoid stylization and deterioration of personal style.

Some designers who haven’t graduated for a long time find it difficult to take the road of design, so they would say “I’m going to be a buyer.” However, if they can’t even do basic designer works, to a large extent, they are not professional enough to be a buyer.

Although buyer has been very popular these years and many domestic womenswear brands have set up this position, do you really meet the professional requirements of a buyer? Can you grasp the overall style of the brand and properly guide the designer to the trends that suit your brand? The company’s budget is also limited. If you buy 100 styles and only 10 are selected, it will definitely doubt your vision and aesthetics. Designers will also question your decisions when they fail to produce in required quality and time. What are the main job responsibilities of a buyer?

  1. Pay attention to fashion trends, major fashion shows and magazines. Collect fashion information and pictures, have a keen sense on trends, and able to quickly and accurately find hotspots; make annual seasonal purchase plans based on sales plans; Formulate the Power Point for next quarter’s fashion trend, including popular elements, colors, silhouettes, structures, fabrics, patterns, etc., as a reference for designers’ storyboards.
  2. Analyze slow-moving inventory. Analyze the data of best-selling and slow-selling products, understand the consumption and economic levels of different regions; Analyze sales data in previous years and predict future markets;
  3. Visit wholesale markets, department stores, foreign trade markets to collect information and market news; Visit stores regularly to learn about consumer trends and after-sale responses; Understand the strengths and weaknesses of the brand and familiarize with the product status of neighboring brands.
  4. Communicate with designers regularly, provide fashion trend apps, transmit market trends and fashion news and provide designers with reference opinions; Assist designers to modify the look of sample clothing — silhouette, color, fabric, pattern, technique, etc.
  5. Communicate with the product manager and select competitive products; decide the proportion, quantity, quality requirements, price, cost, production cycle and products on posters. Follow up the production progress, supervise the delivery period of the finished product and ensure that the products are listed on time and wave band; Assist the production department with quality inspection and acceptance, and ensure the quality of the listed products.
  6. Master the positioning, characteristics, selling points, precautions, display, product allocation and distribution of new products on the market. Convey sales skills and brand value to retail staff in the marketing department through training and store manager meetings.
  7. The Operational buyer needs to be responsible for the adjustment, merge, and return of the goods in assigned or other areas; assist the district chief in the management of the products and display of single stores; independently complete ordering for the single store.

At the same time, as a buyer, you also need to be responsible for the suppliers from which you purchase, so that they will not be pitted by your company; in addition, encourage them to produce better products while facilitating their development under certain conditions. A buyer is also responsible to consumers in terms of avoiding misleading their consumption and aesthetic concepts; Be responsible for the impression of your own brand– leaders may not always be right, so have the courage to question them and provide reasonable advices and reserved suggestions for the products you prefer. Bravely put forward your views based on your own trend analysis without justifying fake data and finding excuses for the data; Meanwhile, calmly analyze the truth behind the data. At the same time, buyer also has to coordinate various departments and play a pivotal role that is not biased towards anyone which will affect correct decisions.

Based on the points above, I think that only if you have laid a solid foundation–familiarity with the characteristics of fabrics and trimmings, techniques and patterns, as well as an accurate grasp of the overall style of the brand and the trend of each quarter, together with a consistent effort to improve your aesthetics, will you be able to achieve qualitative mutations.

For young designers who have just graduated or only graduated a short time, they should start with themselves. It is feasible to learn from the big names; learn to find the benchmarks of the brand, grasp the brand style, and learn to assemble products first—draw analogy between designs with similar styles, and add in creative elements to form a harmonious and unified series style. It is only in this way of adding in personal elements gradually that a personal style can take its form in the in the long-term development of designs.  This also prevents the dilemma of “no one pays for the products” when the personal brand is established in the future.

In addition, personally, I also recommend that graduates work for companies. It is true that they can accumulate more experience during work, whether it is fabric and trimming or pattern and technique, they are all beneficial for future designs. The most important thing is to cultivate your own design ability, learn to follow the plan and extract the elements, silhouettes and colors that are suitable for your brand from each season’s fashion trends, and gain better understandings of the entire market (each large company has a corresponding sales rate analysis, which designers can view on a weekly or monthly basis; it is also suggested to see which styles are more popular in stores). Only when you have the ability to think independently can you claim that you can integrate ideas into your work and present them to the public, which entails years of experience.

Certainly, as natives who understand and are able to do design, should we dig more into our own culture? Incorporate it into personal design and bring Chinese cultural heritage to influence the world. After all, so many designers in the fashion industry attempt to dig into Chinese culture without any results. Therefore, in the future, we can also focus on the “display of Chinese cultural heritage”. The fastest and most concise way is to do more research on brands that display traditional cultural concepts, such as: Icicle, Shangxia, and Muzkin, etc., and understand how the brands’ new seasons are closely related to the conceptions of the brands.

At the same time, I also hope that design directors with certain experience will truly respect design and guide new generations designers to find their own potential, instead of simply serving the company, only considering profit, which deteriorates the basic sense of beauty and original intention.

Success Conditions and Profit Models of Designer Brands at Different Stages of Development

Christine Tsui Fashion Community

Success Conditions and Profit Models of Designer Brands at Different Stages of Development

Fang Qi et al.

International Economics and Trade student. Loves fashion design and everything related to the expression of attitude and beauty. Used to work as an intern editor at Haibao and aspired to become a fashion designer.

FOREWORD

At the initial stage when the brand is established, the fund is limited, the team is small, supply chains are inadequate, operating experience is insufficient, sales channels are limited, and promotion efforts is inefficient. Given the limited resources in all aspects, which ones should designer brands focus on? To avoid excessive trial and error costs, what else should be avoided?

Success Cases of Independent Designers

Designer Studio (preferably with OEM capability.  Those without OEM production capacity can only sell patterns, which makes life not easy).

As far as I know, many domestic fast fashion brands in the third and fourth tier markets are willing to cooperate with design studios. As long as the products they design are marketable and trendy, and the taste is also a little higher than that of the general market, it will be very popular.

If the price from the designer can meet the customer’s price system, it is also possible for customers to place an order containing up to several tens of thousands of pieces. For example, although many design studios in Guangzhou are not famous, they are operating well based on this model. Such a studio often only requires a few people. The starting capital of 300,000-400,000 yuan would be enough, and it is normal for the profit to be a few million yuan a year. Certainly, it requires the designer to have a good understanding of the market to achieve this.

Open the Stall

I have a friend– a girl from Hubei, who has three or four years of design experience, but the performance in the company is average. A few years ago, she went to Shahe Market alone with 100,000 yuan to get a small stall for sweater wholesale. Through her own efforts, she has earned more than 2 million in two years, and the inventory is very small! Her method of operation is different from that of unprofessional small stall owners. Through her own vision and design ability, she has differentiated her product from that of the market product while remaining marketable. Although she started from imitation, she has gradually found her own style from it.

For your reference, the two ways above are what I see to be profitable as an independent designer.  As for the designers’ insistence on their own aesthetics, as long as they have a certain profitability, dreams will be relatively easy to achieve.

What Issues Should Designers Face When Their Brands Are Founded?

Supply Chain 

Designers should firstly position their own style and customer base. Apply the experimental model of multiple styles with a small amount– but this also requires supply chain support. Put profit before development and leave ideals aside at first. Nowadays, many designers are too idealistic.

From the perspective of channels, if feedbacks can be obtained online, thereby orders can be generated as soon as possible, and orders can be issued in the fastest fashion, then it is always mostly accepted among the consumer groups. If the market feedback is good, extra orders should be immediately placed to the factory, which is an operation model with the lowest cost.

Production volume and minimal fabric order are the pain points of most Chinese designers in the production supply chain. The designer Ban Xiaoxue once said, “Most of the high-quality factories in China are of large scale that require large volume as support, which is a very realistic problem. We also encountered this difficulty in the early stages. The solution It is to reduce the colors of clothing or design multiple styles with the same fabric. ” Therefore, reducing the colors of clothing or designing multiple styles with the same fabric is one method.

For most designer brands, it is more realistic to not cooperate with large factories at first, but with small processing factories and workshops instead. Factories in Shenzhen Nanyou accept orders of dozens or twenties, and it is also possible to achieve long-term cooperation. However, to ensure quality, designers should go to the scene to supervise. For designer brands, production is not a fatal problem. Many workshop-type processing plants around China Textile University are shipping quickly, which can meet the demand of multiple styles in small amounts. However, in the early stage, factory workmanship is a bit tricky. For example, running-in stage is sometimes unavoidable when it comes to the cooperation with printing and embroidery factories, due to the difficulty of the process. This situation can be improved after the smooth cooperation in the later stage.It is more important for designer brands to pay attention to the penetration into sales channels. If you only do online promotion, it is likely to be buried in the sea of Taobao, therefore, offline customers are still needed. Promotion is very important.

Sales Channels

As a relatively successful domestic designer brand, Ban Xiaoxue initially relied on buyer channels, but accepted investment over a period of time. The pre-investor is a shareholder of a domestic market-oriented design brand.

Will designers still choose online platforms if there is no capital injection? If we start from scratch, what is the better way to lay out the brand’s first channel? The answer given by most people in the industry may be unexpected: designers should start with the wholesale market first (if there is a lack of funds). The wholesale market runs faster in terms of quantity, has an advantage in location, and can also be quickly seen by more wholesale customers, which is conducive to rapid dissemination, hence a larger chance of survival and faster return of funds at the early stage.

In terms of domestic wholesale market distribution, the primary markets are in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. The secondary wholesale markets are mainly Hangzhou, Beijing, and other provincial capitals, such as Shenyang and Chengdu. Then there are markets in other cities and physical retail stores available for sale. The wholesale market is also hierarchical. For designer brands, if the product quality and positioning are not low, it is required to choose a more unique and personalized wholesale stall. Otherwise, stalls with poor quality or severely homogenized products will make the products prone to be drown in the market. Most of the designer brands in the wholesale market cooperate with wholesale stalls of a certain quality. Some designers just go to wholesale stalls with their own products and ask the owners, “I have this in stock. How should we separate the profit if we sell it in your store?”

Therefore, in the early stage, brands can also dig the first bucket of gold through wholesale markets, and then operate the brand. It is unnecessary to settle everything all in one step. For start-up brands, it is difficult to promote without money; we can develop the styles we are good at when there is money. If products are not sold, the brand may not survive the early stages. Each period, some designer brands will “die”, and some will transform successfully. There are also many brands in the market that started out in the wholesale market and then transformed, such as MO & CO and Girdear. This approach is worth trying for brands with little fund in the early stage.

But many people are doubtful with regards to designer brands taking the wholesale market channel. Is it difficult for brands starting with wholesale market to develop into high-end in the future? Is it difficult for designers selling products at wholesale market to transform in the future? Many people believe that in this case, there is a greater possibility of transformation even if it starts from Taobao–after all, it is “small and beautiful”. Indeed, there might be no advantage for some designer brands to go for the wholesale market—due to the small volume, the fabrics they get are the most expensive ones, and at the same time, the processing fees are expensive as well. In addition to the design cost, for a small batch of clothes, 30 pieces of basic dresses cost at least 150 yuan per piece, let alone other more complicated designs. Therefore, designer brands with high prices and positioning will definitely not be able to go for the wholesale market, unless they can expand volume from the beginning. But for most start-up brands, whether to choose the wholesale market depends on the brand’s development goals (does the brand have stronger commercial attributes, or more emphasis on design attributes?). Wholesale is more oriented towards commercial development and focuses on the market. At this stage, brand design and brand philosophy can hardly become the focus of development. If it is a new brand with medium or high price, it is better to go for brand collection store and showroom from the beginning.

In addition, in terms of offline, we can also open our own wholesale outlets, or cooperate with platforms such as Showroom, both of which are currently channels with large volume. Start-up brands can find more opportunities for cooperation by participating in exhibitions and markets. In addition, based on the characteristics of the category, such as women’s clothing, we can also choose malls with high mobility to test the water.

As a designer brand, first of all, the product has to hold water– starting from one customer, accumulate it slowly, and then look at developments. Designer brands also have to go through a process of cocooning. Certainly, it should be easier if we have this kind of customer base in the beginning, which is actually true for all brands. In addition, the association of designer brands and wholesale stalls is a good way to both reduce the price of fabrics and allow us for free cash flow. Joint operation with stalls can be achieved through the combination of our own designs and combinatorial products.

How to solve the initial funding problem?

The initial funding mostly comes from the following three sources:

  1. Internal funds (accumulation or family support);
  2. Raised funds from yourself and partners;
  3. Investors. These three sources have different requirements for designers themselves. Investors in the market rarely invest in pure designs; they are usually more interested in new designs.

But due to the large market, currently, design entrepreneurs can barely succeed without investors. The clothing industry is a field that can only generate returns when there is investment. But investors usually don’t like to invest in the clothing industry, which is normal because the industry’s relative returns are low. What investors like are brands with multiple returns or those that can be harvested. If there is no investment in the initial period, then invest yourself and start with small volume. There are also brands that start with a small amount of 20 pieces and manage their own business step by step.

If you can find investment, still remain cautious– most investors only aim at making money, which tends to generalize the brand. Designer brands need to be selective, and as a designer brand, determination and adherence to their own brand core and design philosophy is a must. Since most investors want faster returns, in order to pursue some profits, they naturally abandon some of the brand’s originalities, resulting in an altered brand taste. In lots of cases, investment does not rely on the design itself, but rather the business models and channels, as well as the overall team and philosophy. The way we look at the clothing industry is sometimes too erratic; in fact, the biggest “investor” is the development based on the known and unknown needs of customers. In general, in order for a designer brand to find proper investment, its product must have a soul and attractiveness before someone invests.

 How to Serve Customers Well If You Own a Physical Store Yourself?

Consumer preferences for physical stores depend on the focus of their preferences. The preferences of people from different regions, ages, education backgrounds, and genders may differ. Some consumers pay attention to the furnishings in the store and like to visit those that provide collocations for different occasions. Some consumers, on the other hand, prefer a more open and autonomous environment. Rather than being followed by shop assistants, they expect a higher degree of freedom in stores. If the customer has an inquiry, shop assistants can also respond in time, or provide professional matching references on request.

As a designer brand, in order to be differentiated from ordinary clothing stores, there should be matching accessories, bags, etc. at the shopping area. Bookstores and homewares can be added to stores that reflect lifestyle. If customers can feel a sense of home through the scene, decoration, and products of the store, the concept that the store wants to convey can be better reflected.

With the increasing spending power of the post-90s generations, modern and fashionable shops have gradually become popular with consumers. But shops should be plentiful without being cluttered. In recent years, more and more malls and shops have also applied the concept of exhibitions for the display and decoration of shops, which is more artistic and is popular among many avant-garde consumers.

As for the student group, they may prefer seasonal shopping, and generally give priority to the seasonal items between the price range of 100-500 yuan. For example, sweaters in spring with prices between 100-300 yuan, and windbreaker or baseball shirt between 300- 600 yuan are acceptable, most of which are fast fashion brands. But many a time, if they find that the quality of the clothes is not good, they may turn to the Internet based on style. Therefore, when student is the main consumer group, the position of the store should not be remote—they will only go there for shopping when the surroundings are popular. However, the style positioning of the store should have its own characteristics, and it is best to have category divisions in the store.

Finally, a very open question– what kind of designer brand do you think is successful?

This question is important for all designer brands. What kind of brand can be called a successful designer brand?

We can view it from several different perspectives:

  1. The design is based on the designer’s root self (about the designer’s happiness).
  2. Profitable and able to achieve sustainable development.
  3. There is a stable pursuit group.

It is necessary that brands achieve profitability. As a designer brand, it needs to balance the relationship between design and the market, develop its own characteristics, and build its own circle and community from niche consumers, so as to gain more recognition. Every designer’s understanding of success may be different, but maintaining their own personality and style while getting positive feedback in the market is actually a success of the brand. If you can convey your own brand attitude to consumers, it is one step further. Fundamentally, adhering to the core and original heart of the brand while meeting consumer needs and having its own consumer group is creating value; in addition, realizing self-worth and achieving a balance between profitability and design can manifest that the designer’s philosophy is accepted by the market, and the brand has succeeded.

Case: Entrepreneurship Shared by Designer Alex

@ 1995nyc-New York-Designer:

I started a business while I was in college, and the brand started more than half a year. The main distribution channels are the online official website in USA, STYLEWE, Taobao Linglong in China, WeChat Moments, and two offline shoppers. In the early stage, there was limited fund which was just enough to make one series, and we had to borrow money. The current situation is that the income can maintain the next collection of small batches of products and samples without personal income. There is no investment at present, because I haven’t met like-minded investors–most domestic investors are eager to make profits, and while they want a large proportion, they are unwilling to invest a lot.

Problems Encountered in Brand Startup Development:

  1. Without large funds, it is difficult to find promotors in China for online promotion, making it difficult to be recognized.
  2. The cost of communication with domestic factories and transportation is higher when you are abroad.
  3. Due to absence domestically, I haven’t found a wholesale platform with long-term cooperation and direct order.

Aspirations for the Future:

  1. Make profits first.
  2. Establish a flagship store—I would like to forge a space with brand features and landmark. Instead of merely providing shopping places, it is more like an art museum.
  3. Support emerging artists and make exciting cross-border collections. In fact, we are working hard on it now–we have already made a short fashion movie, and we are planning the next movie now.
  4. Develop new fabrics with current technology.

In my personal experience, at the early stage of development, it is easier for people to remember the brand when it has a distinctive design. Our sweaters feature very bright color patchwork instead of basic models, so they are very popular.

Wang Tianmo, a domestic designer brand, is very strategic. She makes full use of social media platforms to share her daily life and design,  and she publicizes her WeChat account to allow her fans to be closer to her, rather than being superior and aloof. In fact, it is not top-notch in terms of its design style and products, but the market strategies are good. This is what designers should pay attention to when developing a brand—learning to market. Some designers think that designer brands should follow the high-end line, but in my opinion, this form of Wechat Moments can also be taken. Maybe some people feel that the form of Wechat advertising will be annoying, which is what I never do as well. I would usually share some comments and feelings about the recent exhibitions, movies, books, and costumes on Wechat Moments. When sharing articles, I summarize and talk about my views. This will give an impression that as an independent individual, my existence is valuable, and then from time to time, if there are pretty buyer shows and photos, I would post them. I improve the quality of pictures, so people often comment that they would buy them. Therefore, there are different methods with regards to distinct channels. Instead of to adhering rigidly to one of them, all profitable methods are worth trying.

Whether it is a brand that has already emerged in the industry or a designer struggling in the early stages of entrepreneurship, to become a relatively successful designer brand, it is necessary to have a sincere love for design, a strong belief in the dream of building a brand, as well as years of accumulation and persistence in this industry. Words like “dream” and “passion” sound very far away, but they are indeed the oringin of everything.

Everyone may have their own definitions of “success” for a designer brand. As a friend in the group said: “Everyone has his or her own idealism.” I personally believe that a successful designer brand requires more than satisfying these conditions— to put it another way, although important, they are not the priority. What is more important for successful designer brands is that the designers should constantly express their attitude, manifest the spirit, and narrate their souls through their work. In this process, reveal observations and ideas about the world through works to resonate with consumers and the market. Obtaining a group of loyal consumers who can understand its spiritual connotation and endorse its brand culture through these is the most essential success for designer brands.

Conduct a store visit market research: when, where and how?

#Christine Tsui Fashion Community Group Discussion#

How to conduct a market research on physical fashion stores?

Date:07/06/2018

Time: 8pm to 10pm

Host by Amin-Shenzhen-Handbag designer

Amin is a handbag designer with five years working experience in fashion industry, four years of which in online fashion brands.
The following discussions are from the participants. They do not represent any views from Christine Tsui.

 

Pic from internet 

 

FORWARD

Store visit is an useful market research method to know about the business in a physical store as well as a technique to figure out consumer behavior.

 

DISCUSSION OUTLINE 

1. Preparation before market research

2. How to decide when and where to conduct market research?

3. What are the focuses in fashion store visit?

4. Conclusion

PART ONE Preparation before market research 

a. Research Objectives

1. Know about the operation situation of stores, including but not limited to sales performance, shopping atmosphere, and service experience.2. Know about competitors; Figure out the operation situation of competitors; Know about the products of competitors (categories, sewing techniques, patterns, etc.).

3. Figure out consumer preferences and buying power.

4. Verify the problems shown in the reports.

b. Research Team

 
Conducting a market research by store visit need both physical power and mental power. The focuses of this kind of market research vary from research teams. 

Macy’s group store visit (Pic from internet)

 

What kind of people would be involved in a market research team in terms of different research objectives? 

A market research team may consist of designers, pattern makers, merchandisers, sales and so on. Sometimes, all of them are from different departments, while they are from the same department more often.

c. Research Objects

 
According to different market research objectives, the research objects are correspondingly different. Stores of brands as well as their competitors are usually chose as the research objects. Also, products in different styles can be the research objects.

PART TWO How to decide when and where to conduct market research?  

Store visit would be conducted at different time in terms of different research objectives. For example, at the beginning of the season, the sales performance is the main research object, while at the end of the season, the unsalable is the focus of market research.

Gucci in different location and time (Pic from internet)

 

a. WHEN

Discussion shown as below

 

Tina- Xiamen-AGL
We always firstly talk with store managers to know about the peak time in stores, then come and observe stores at the peak time.
Ye Fangben-Nanchang-Shopowner
The best time to visit a street store and a store in shopping mall are different. The peak time are from 10:00 am to 11:30 am, from 4 pm to 06:30 pm, and from 7: 30 pm to 9: 00 pm.Amin- Shenzhen-AGL 
In working days especially at afternoon, there are less consumers in stores than usual. Thus visiting stores during these period is mainly for products researchWhen visiting stores at evenings or weekend, the research team will pay more attention to the sales performance.

Tina- Xiamen-AGL

Market research on store sales performance is best conducted in weekend. Because sales performance in weekend reflects on the real consumption power.

b. WHERE

 

(Pic from internet)

Sales performance in stores of the same brand but located at different business circles may be different. For example, there would be a number of consumers walking into stores in mid-range department stores while there are less consumers in stores located at top grade shopping malls. To gain a comprehensive market research result, the research team should visit and observe stores located at different areas.

PART THREE What are the focuses in fashion store visit? 

1. Store location

2. Store area

3. Store construction style

4. Customer service

5. Amount of merchandises

6. Visual merchandising

7. The proportion of new arrivals

8. The proportion of seasonal products

9. The proportion of discounted products

10. Consumer traffic

11. The dress up of consumers

12. Sales turnover

PART FOUR CONCLUSION 

Store visit is an important and necessary market research method to know the consumer as well as business situation in fashion industry. In terms of different departments, research focuses vary from store area, store location, visual merchandising, category merchandising, customer service, promotion and so on. Moreover, results from store visit market research conducted at different time would reflect various problem.

 

What is color planning in design development?

 

#Christine Tsui Fashion Community Group Discussion#

What is color planning in design development?

 

Date:07/06/2018

Time: 8pm to 10pm

Host by Sophia-Hangzhou-Fashion Design Consultant

Sophia was major in apparel engineering and now serves a consulting firm that focuses on fashion industry. She is working on promoting the new retailing mode combined with aesthetics.

 

 The outline of discussion:

 

  1. What is design style?
  2. What problems do apparel companies encounter in design development?

3.The importance of color planning

  1. Brands with good color-planning
  2. Conclusion

 

 

FOREWORD

The designs of style and color are based on a rigorous theoretical system. It is a fluke to succeed in designing a best-selling dress by designers’ own feelings while most of them are failed, especially when seasons, trends, and consumer preference are changing. Thus, it is important for designers to understand what is design style and how to manage color in design development.

 

PART ONE What is design style?

 

Words to describe style:

Urban, elegant, natural, romantic, refreshing, personality, classical, modern, elegant, gorgeous, dramatic, lovely.

 

Words that can not accurately describe style:

Simple, fashionable, retro, British, classic.

 

PART TWO What problems do apparel companies encounter in design development? 

 

  1. A bad color planning may result in many changes even risks in the process of product development.
  2. How to utilize trendy elements to develop innovative designs in keeping with brand image?
  3. How can buying team choose products in keeping with brand style?

 

PART THREE The importance of color planning

The style of design is determined by color, shape, and quality of fabric. Color is the most important element in design development.  A well-planned color design can solve more than 50% of the problems in design development. Only considering the style and quality will enable design development more difficult.

 

PART FOUR Brands with good color planning 

Discussion shown as below

 

Wiiliam-Jeweler-Student
I think the colors of MOSCHINO are always uniform. Italian brands have put a lot of effort on keeping color adapted to design style. They use cartoon pattern prints and warm color blocks to create exaggerated and vivid style and brand image. D & G and Versace are two examples.

 

Sophia-hangzhou- Fashion Design Consultant

I would say Max Mara and domestic brands such as ICICLE and Mo & Co. These brands do well in color planning because their colors are consistent with brand positions and can meet the demands of target consumers.

 

Yuan Liu -Shanghai-Designer

I think Gucci also does a good job. Its color is always strong but not abrupt. Also, the unique color style enables Gucci easily recognized.

 

PART FIVE CONCLUSION

Commercial design development should be based on the requirements of consumers. Designers should be both sensual and rational.

Every trendy element could be utilized to develop innovative design so long as it can be in keeping with brand image.

A well-planned color design can solve more than 50% of the problems in design development. Only considering the style and quality will enable design development more difficult.

The current situation and development of Chinese street fashion brands

 

#Christine Tsui Fashion Community Group Discussion#

The current situation and development of Chinese street fashion brands

 

Date:05/05/2018

Time: 8pm to 10pm

Host by Qiuyu-Shanghai-AGL Jiaxi-Beijing-AGL

 

 The outline of discussion:

 

1. The definition of Chinese street fashion brands

2. The early Chinese street fashion brands

3. The rising Chinese street fashion brands

4. Conclusion

 

 

FOREWORD

In recent years, Chinese street fashion brands have become the consumption hotspots indirectly caused by the following reasons.

  1. The preference of the younger generation is quickly changing
  2. Cultural communication between the international community has been more frequently.
  3. The influence of KOLs is boosting.
  4. The variety of shows such as “Hip-hop in China” and “This is Street Dance” are promoting street culture.

During the Shanghai Fashion Week, the market research company Nielsen and OFashion released the world’s first big data research on street fashion brands and users analysis report. The data shows that the growth rate of street fashion brands consumption is 3.7 times than that of normal fashion brands. Post-90s and Post-95s are the main consumers. The proportion of Post-95s of the street fashion brands consumers has gradually climbed to 25%. Among them, the top 10% of the ashes users accounted for 60% to 80% of the total personal expenditure, accounting for 48% of the whole street fashion brands market.

At present, the potential market of street fashion brands has been paid more attention by people. The mining and development of local street culture has gradually become a commercial hot spot. Guan Jian, the person in charge of Tmall, mentioned in an interview that the program “This! is Street Dance” has been planned two years ago. The idea of this program came from the result of Ali Big Data on consumer insight. In the past three years, the sales volume of street fashion brands on Tmall has increased to 106% times of before. The data has already shown the shopping trend. Obviously, street fashion brands are the next hot spots.

This discussion would discuss the current situation and future development of the Chinese street fashion brands. At the same time, I would like to learn the evaluation and suggestions on the development of Chinese street fashion brands from all of you.

PART ONE The definition of Chinese street fashion brands

 

I have not found a clear definition of “Chinese Street Fashion” in authoritative materials, but I have compiled a more directional concept from most media articles and reports, which is namely: “Chinese Street Fashion” can be said to be “the street fashion brands of China”. They have their own design, and promotes designers’ unique ideological character, style and life attitude.

CLOT is the earliest independent designer brand that we can think of. It was founded in June 2003 by Hong Kong famous artist Edison Chen. In 2009, Li Chen and Pan Yibo collaborated in the street fashion brand, NPC.

From 2011 to 2014, many brands with the banner of “Chinese street fashion” entered into the market with lack of industry norms and related standards. The design and originality of “Chinese street fashion” has become a topic of discussion. Although the Chinese street fashion brands have been developing in recent years, the demands from the younger generation has increased. Due to the inequality of regional resources, JUCIE, DOE and other domestic and offline well-known entities are almost in the market. In 2017, the turnover of the online Chinese street fashion stores in the Double Eleven Taobao Festival reached nearly 400 million RMB.

 

PART TWO The early Chinese street fashion brands

 

According to YOHO!’s consumer portraits, the group of 18-22 years old accounted for 51%. As Chen Anqi claims, these people having money and being able to contribute to sales traffic, will make Chinese street fashion to be very popular. However, the taste of young people is always changing. The “Chinese street fashion” is a market with extremely fast development and changes. If the brand is unable to build strong relationships and viscosities with consumers, there is no guarantee of continued profitability.

PART THREE The rising Chinese street fashion brands

 

The younger generation of consumers who have grown up with the prevalence of consumerism are even more eager to “live in the moment and be happy in time.” They pursue recognition, pursuit of interesting ideas and original designs. Nowadays, the tier categories of Chinese street fashion brands are becoming more and more obvious. In addition to CLOT, PHANTACI, NPC, ANB BRAND, ATTEMPT, FMACM, RANDOMEVENT are also popular in the first tier. MISTER UNINVITED, COC CUBE and 714 STREET, WASSUP are the representatives of the mass market brands with affordable price.

 

PART FOUR Conclusion

From the perspective of the market: from 2012 to 2016, the growth rate of global apparel consumption is about 3% to 4%, while the growth rate of fashion brands is around 25%. China’s GDP accounts for 15% of the world. However, the consumption of China’s fashion brands account for only 2% to 3% of the world. Therefore, it can be found that regardless of the growth rate or the proportion of consumption, the Chinese street fashion brand is still a huge market.

Although the market is fast developing, the public is pursuing the speed of output and consumption. I believe that brand is not a tool to make money, but a carrier of personal expression. Consumers and brands need to infiltrate and influence each other. The products and culture behind them are the core competence of brand development. Consumers need to give time for Chinese street fashion brands to grow up. At the same time, the Chinese street fashion brands also needs to down-to-earth to make products with conscience. At present, there are still differences in regional development of Chinese street fashion brands. We are looking forward to the well-developed Chinese street culture in the future.

 

Internationalization of Local high-end fashion brand

 

#Christine Tsui Fashion Community Group Discussion#

Internationalization of

Local high-end fashion brand

 

Date:16/06/2018

Time: 8pm to 10pm

Host by Maggie-Manchester-student

1 Bachelor degree of Economy in China

2 Studying international fashion retailing in University of Manchester for master degree.

 

 The outline of discussion:

 

1. How many Chinese high-end fashion brands do you know?

1.1 What’s the features of them?

2. The development status and potential problems in Internationalization for Chinese high-end fashion brands?

3. Strategy

3.1 How to help local high-end fashion brand become worldwide accepted?

3.2 Are there any successful examples of Chinese high-end fashion brands?

3. Conclusion

 

 

FOREWORD

China is a large luxury products consumption country, but for the whole fashion industry, market of China is still a young market. We often focus on luxury brand from Italy, France even UK, but Chinese consumers tend to focus less on Chinese high-end fashion brand. To be honest, my dream is to help more local Chinese fashion brands become famous worldwide. So the topic appears in my mind. The topic is about internationalization of Chinese high-end fashion brand.

 

PART ONE: How many Chinese high-end fashion brands do you know?

 

discussion:

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

uma wang.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

Jorya.

 

Heather-Wuhan-AGL

Guo pei.

 

Heather-Wuhan-AGL

rose studio.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

huishan Zhang.

 

  • What’s the features of them?

high price, craftsmanship, good material quality, prestige.

 

Designers of some Chinese high-end brand has overseas background, they have advantage of combining west features to eastern culture.

 

Discussion:

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

It is their prestige.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

Price is high.

 

Heather-Wuhan-AGL

high price

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

Yes, price needs to be considered in the definition.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

quality is not as good as luxury brands are so commercial now.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

Craftsmanship.

 

Heather-Wuhan-AGL

But is it becoming less?

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

Craftsmanship is still essential and it is a representative of quality and heritage of culture.

 

Christy-Canada-marketing

Since high-end brand stresses prestige, its target consumers should be elite rather than middle class.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

aim for middle class also.

 

Christy-Canada-marketing

Hermes is a good example for delivering craftsmanship notion.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

Elite is the target customer, but middle class has contributed a lot of consumption.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

yes, Hermes can stand for craftsmanship with high level of price.

 

Christy-Canada-marketing

I don’t think middle class is a right group here in China. They still focus more on how trendy a brand is while ignoring the crafts behind that.

 

Heather-Wuhan-AGL

what ab the scarcity?

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

material quality. Craftsmanship.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

There really no scarcity left unless Kelly bag.

 

Heather-Wuhan-AGL

I think many of the high-end brands are independent designer brands?

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

Most of them are designer brands at the beginning.

 

 

PART TWO: The development status and potential problems in Internationalization for Chinese high-end fashion brands?

 

Design and quality of products still have problems for Chinese brand.

Chinese fashion market is very young. The maturity and experience of the entire industry still have a gap when compared with overseas.

 

Discussion:

Christy-Canada-marketing

I think the issue is that how to create a Chinese brand that can be understood and accepted by western society’s.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

It is about time and product.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

Yes, it is good point. There still exist culture differences.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

those Japanese ones started earlier than us.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

our product also especially fitting.

 

Christy-Canada-marketing

Too many counterfeits make people question the ability of creation in China.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

Chinese fashion market is very young. The maturity and experience of the entire industry still have a gap when compared with overseas. But because it’s very young, it has a lot of possibilities.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

Now we can ask ourselves a question, if you pay for a leather bag with a high level of price, will you choose a Chinese brand or an Italian brand?

 

Heather-Wuhan-AGL

I think it really depends on how it looks.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

our leather aint that good.

 

Heather-Wuhan-AGL

and quality.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

I think the answer is in your mind.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

if both brands are not well known and both are made in Italy then it goes to design.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

We usually from the perspective of retailers, but we are also consumers. I really love my country, but at that moment I hesitated to make a decision.

 

Christy-Canada-marketing

True~ we are not willing to spend time training people and use the real good stuff.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

I recommended Chinese brands to my family and friends, but when I met the question, I will consider brand, quality even the design whether suitable for me.

 

Christy-Canada-marketing

And consistence.

 

Mel-christchurch-student

I can’t see what’s the problem…I’d say there are some good Italian stuff for sure just…this country is basically famous for luxury and of course prosciutto.

 

Christy-Canada-marketing

They got history.

 

Julie~Shanghai~High-end retail

I have visited a showroom of Chinese designers this week, what has impressed me is that for bags, even the price and design is similar, the material and craftsmanship is of lower quality compared to made in Italy brands.

 

Mel-christchurch-student

Just like when you wanna but a really good watch you’ll think Belgium firstly pretty much all the time.

 

Julie~Shanghai~High-end retail 14:05

Jewelry pass but when talking about bags… sad to say but china made is out of my choice for accessible luxury level brands.

 

Mel-christchurch-student

This question is like if you wanna eat sushi what restaurant you wanna go Chinese chef one or Japanese chef one?

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

our leather here just not as good.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

good ones are from like Spain.

 

Christy-Canada-marketing

So for developing Chinese brand, we should target more on younger generation since they are more open minded, more easily to change their preference.

 

Heather-Wuhan-AGL

Maybe that’s really related to our mindset towards a certain category.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

design and quality of products still have problems for Chinese brand.

 

Heather-Wuhan-AGL

It’s a cultural and geographical issue?

 

Julie~Shanghai~High-end retail

yeah, chat with some made in Italy foreign brands, the level is like this, Italy made is better than Spanish made for European consumers.

 

Ari-Melbourne-Master of fashion

Yeah,I think cultural is a big problem .

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

Regardless of the origin of a brand, there must be quality and design to support the brand, so that it can create a good word-of-mouth.

 

Julie~Shanghai~High-end retail

agree, quality and design are essential elements.

 

Heather-Wuhan-AGL

yeah that’s what we lack of,a typical well-known element/design.

 

PART THREE: Strategy

 

3.1How to help local high-end fashion brand become worldwide accepted?

A brand should have its own story

Commercialize your product

To be a world-class company

World-class design, sourcing and branding

Promotion strategy: celebrity endorsement, brand cooperation, hungry strategy

Gain more exposure on media

 

Discussion:

How to help local high-end fashion brand become worldwide accepted?

 

Ari~Melbourne-Master of fashion

First as a brand should has it own story.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

to be a worldclass company.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

worldclass design, sourcing and branding.

 

Heather-Wuhan-AGL

gain more exposure on media.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

culture background supported.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

Brand and marketing communications are quite essential.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

may not necessary has to be strong cultural supported.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

culture will be a factor to influence a brand.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

just like a background behind a brand.

 

Julie~Shanghai~High-end retail

I think sometimes culture could be negative for a brand to be accepted worldwide.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

the background not necessary has to have strong cultural influence.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

So meaning a luxury brand does not have to have strong national or ethnic culture.

 

Christy-Canada-marketing

But for Chinese brand to expand overseas, this is our selling point

 

Julie~Shanghai~High-end retail

not everyone like Chinese culture element. Just the brand origin is enough. Too much culture telling could be helpful or negative, could be risky.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

We do not deny that culture is two-sided, but how can we rationally use culture for Chinese brands?

 

Julie~Shanghai~High-end retail

A successful example i can think of is La maison kitsune, French-Japanese crossed. Japanese culture story of fox helps this brand.

 

Christy-Canada-marketing

Maybe the cultural things could be a start point and then we could give more notions that are accepted worldwide

 

Julie~Shanghai~High-end retail

but yes, culture telling is not necessary.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

in order to be a global brand u actually have to commercialize your product to fit the taste of everyone.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

and that can be dangerous.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

cause u risk losing your identity.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

like michael kors is an example.

 

Hannah-Beijing-BD

coach also?

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

coach is a bit different, coach is less identity. Ever since the day they start their big plans

which is when Sara lee gave up.

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

michael kors commercialized rather than upgraded.

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

How to help local high-end fashion brand become worldwide accepted? what do you think of celebrity endorsement and brand cooperation?

 

Vincent-shanghai-Incubator

Well-known ones like charlize theorem.

 

Heather-Wuhan-AGL

Their promotion could be very helpful

 

Maggie-Manchester-student

what about brand cooperation, cross-border cooperation is also popular.

 

Christy-Canada-marketing

Influencer is so important now. Think about Kanye’s marketing strategy. As I know, he always invites celebrities or influencers to wear his clothes and shoes before selling them, and also he uses hunger strategy, which arouse people’s desire to get one.

 

Heather-Wuhan-AGL

Very frequent nowadays,such as recent Xuweizhou and Coach

 

 

3.2 Are there any successful examples?

A successful example is Angel Chen.

In foreign channels, brand focuses on quality and location of the stores. Angel Chen has already cooperated with channels like LuisaViaRoma in Italy, Selfridges in London.

While in China Angel Chen cooperates with Lane Crawford and IT

 

PART FOUR: Conclusion

 

Chinese high-end fashion brands with features of high price, craftsmanship, good material quality and prestige. Because fashion market of China is still a young market, there still exist potential problems in Internationalization for Chinese high-end fashion brands. For example, design and quality of products still have problems for Chinese brand. In order to help local high-end fashion brands become worldwide accepted, it is essential to build brand story, commercialize your product, to be a world-class company, to have world-class design, sourcing and branding. Also promotion strategy is needed with celebrity endorsement, brand cooperation, hungry strategy and gain more exposure on media

Mass Customization in garment industry

Christine Tsui Fashion Community

Mass Customization in garment industry

 

Date:23/06/2018

Time: 8pm to 10pm

Host by Yutong-Shanghai-Donghua University

The outline of discussion:

Q1.What is Mass customization.

  1. Characteristics and current situation of Customization.
  2. Characteristics and current situation of Mass Production.
  3. Characteristics of Mass customization.

Q2. The current situation of Mass customization in Garment Industry.

  1. Mass customization in garment enterprises.
  2. Market size of mass customization?

Q3. Limitations of Mass customization in Garment Industry.

FOREWORD

With the increasing individual preferences and multiple demands of clothing consumers, mass customization has gradually become a business model for manufacturers or brand companies to improve their market competitiveness. Mass customization refers to the low cost, high efficiency and high quality basic production mode of providing products and services by mass production. Consumers use the price of large-scale production to obtain personalized products, so enterprises have gained competitive advantage.

On the basis of basic production line, mass customization utilizes advanced manufacturing technology and information technology to integrate enterprise, customer, supplier, service provider and environment, so as to realize the whole upgrade and optimization of production mode. This discussion focuses on the history, current situation and development of Mass Customization in garment industry.

PART ONE: What is Mass Customization

 

Mass customization, as its name implies, refers to two abilities: Mass and Customization. Large-scale refers to the mass production line, when customization refers to the customization of personalized elements. For a long time, mass production and personalized customization are a pair of contradictions, until the production entered the era of modularization, this contradiction can be resolved, efficient personalized production can be achieved. There was the birth of the “mass customization”. Therefore, when discussing mass customization, we need to consider “the characteristics of personalized customization” and “the characteristics of mass production” at the same time.

 

1. Characteristics and current situation of Customization.

Personalized customization is that the user is involved in the production process of the product. It also refers that the specified elements are configured to the specified product, and the user obtains the goods with strong personal attributes or the products or services (Source: MBALib) that meet their particular needs. In the garment industry, the custom category has gradually expanded, in addition to the dress customization, suit customization, T-shirt customization, team clothing and other team clothing also have custom demand. The common customization demands are about designs, styles, fabric, details.

At the same time, according to the degree of customization, personalized customization can be categorized into local customization and full customization. Take a suit as an example. Semi-custom (Made-To-Measure), refers to that the guest select a set of ready-to-wear model when tailors are responsible for make it more fit with the guest body shape; Full-custom (Bespoke) refers to the tailor-made according to the size of the customer to make a full fit of the shape of the format, which is also known as “tailored suit.” In the mass customization projects mentioned below, different companies will use different degrees of customization to carry out mass customization business in terms of different business needs, operating costs, strategic planning and so on.

 

2. Characteristics and current situation of Mass Production.

Mass production refers to the large number of products, fixed workplace, certain production rhythm (Time between two products one after another in assembly line production) .(Source: MBALib).

But in today’s clothing industry environment, these characteristics to a certain extent limited the development of enterprises. Smaller order scale weakens the low cost advantage of mass production. Differences between orders are getting bigger so that production planning is getting more difficult. Meanwhile, the customer’s demand is changeable. A great deal of time is wasted in communication, the rate of production reaction is reduced, or because the difficulty of recruitment increases (such as Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang and other areas), young people are not willing to enter garment factories, and the mobility rate of workers greatly affects the quality and efficiency of fluid work; In addition, the stock overstock risk and pressure also make the rapid return mode or become the development opportunity of garment enterprises.

 

3. Characteristics of Mass customization.

Mass customization is the production mode that achieves personalized customization in the way of mass production. Although it involves the personalized requirements, the basic requirements of its realization is the similarity and generality of the product structure, that is to say, the parts of the product family customized on the same pipeline need to be similar to each other. On this basis, through cloud computing, Internet of things, Internet, information and industrialization and other technologies, to achieve the intelligent manufacturing of customized products. In the garment industry, it mainly refers to the personalized customization platform where the customer directly faces the manufacturer, the consumer directly sends the order to the factory and cancels the intermediate agency link, so its cycle can be greatly shortened.

Comparing the characteristics of mass customization (MC) with that of mass production (MP), we can find that MC is guided by information instead of operation line in production process, workers drive themselves and govern themselves; on output, MC gets personalized products. Enterprises hold almost zero inventory of products, only hold a small amount of raw material inventory; profit model, MP from the traditional economies of scale evolved into a payoff or pay-as-you-go. These characteristics to a certain extent solve the limitations of large-scale production in garment enterprises.

PART TWO: The current situation of Mass customization in Garment Industry.

There have been cases of mass customization in foreign countries, such as Nike id, which can be used for reference by clothing category, but there are also some differences. Shoes vary in size, but the same size can be worn by different people, while the same figures are difficult to find, so clothing categories may have higher requirements when dealing with returns. In recent years, there are also a number of traditional garment enterprises who have transformed to mass customization business, including Shandong red-collar, YiBangRen, BaoXiNiao and so on.

PART THREE: Limitations of Mass customization in Garment Industry.

Although there are some advantages of mass customization, it still has many limitations. From the point of view of market, compared with the traditional mass production of ready-to-wear, personalized customization is still a segment of the market. The brand has more uncertainty on the way to the customization business. From the point of view of production mode, there are questions about the way to collect figure data and the quality of data. The category of mass customization on the same assembly line is single, and the business scale of enterprises is limited. Expanding the category relies more on owning multiple factories or outsourcing to other manufacturers that also have mass customization capabilities; men’s wear is simpler and less varied than women’s, making it easier to carry out mass customization. In the mass customization of women’s wear, it is worth exploring how to make use of the production line to fully meet the changing individual needs of women. In addition, in the production process of intelligent upgrading, software development quality and cost coordination, and so on, are the factors that enterprises need to consider before the transformation.

 

 

 

How to design a collection for a clothing brand?

 

#Christine Tsui Fashion Community Group Discussion#

How to design a collection for a clothing brand?

 

Date:07/07/2018

Time: 8pm to 10pm

Host by Estelle Feng-Shanghai-Fashion designer

Graduated from the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, major in fashion design. Studied at ÉCOLE SUPÉRIEURE D’ART DE TOURCOING and ESMOD PARIS; Served the newly established domestic brands “ La Vaste Mer ”; US Target brand “ KNOX ROSE ” “ MOSS BLACK ” .

2685134813385830871

 The outline of discussion:

1. As a designer of a brand company or as a designer of a new brand, how to develop a clothing collection?

2. How to do the research?

2.1 Use of Tools?

Trend tools such as WGSN VOGUE POP … +(If you are designing for a brand exist for a while, have to understand  his history /brand identity)

2.2 If you design for a new brand?

(Have to understand the position of this brand,  and understand the clients of this brands, what they want to buy)

3. The design process

3.1 How to find the source of inspiration?

3.2 How to refine the style you want?

3.3 how to create CADs? (30min)

4. Conclusion

 

 

FOREWORD

In fashion industry, the very beginning is fashion designers. They have to consider which style should develop for this season, what kind of stories we going to tell customers, how can we balance the price and quality/good looking… too much work actually for fashion designers…

 

PART ONE: How to develop a clothing collection?

 

Karen Shanghai Merch Planning

Think in customer’s shoes + investigate the market trend. Refer to the like brand (if this company has) historical archived designs…

 

Derek Shanghai PM

Study and understand the brand DNA, and market trend

 

Queena DAI

In company, to develop a new collection, maybe need to get guideline of this season from merchandising planning department

 

Derek Shanghai PM

Actual before design, normally we will have merchandise category assortment plan and brief to design team

 

PART TWO: How to do the researches?

 

Research is very important part for fashion design, we cannot just draw whatever you feel is good, we have to do a lot of researches to make sure we are doing is in right way. Research is an essential part of the fashion design process. Whether you are designing for a brand or you’re putting together a portfolio to apply to design school, research is not optional.

 

Natalie~Xiamen~Analyst

Market research

 

Queena DAI

Get some trend from the website like WGSN/Analysis your customer.

 

Valeria-Seoul-postgraduatestudy

FuckingYoung website. Lots of brands look books there

 

2.1 For a brand excite a while?

 

Derek Shanghai PM

For a brand exist for a while, they have exist silhouettes, just need some new, many can be kept, actually we devided the styles to be essential/core/fashion, each segment we have the sku ratio during planning, each segement goes to different type of store to reach the different level target consumers.

 

2.2 If you design for a new brand?

 

Derek Shanghai PM

Designer need to understand who the target consumer is, why this new brand was created, what this new brand want to express, then designer can find the suitable theme for design to build the brand identity in the market.

 

Estelle Feng

For new brand, we can start with 4 questions~

a) What identity do I want this clothing brand to project?

b) Who will want to wear my clothes?

c) What can customers get from my clothing brand that they can’t get anywhere else?

d) What makes my clothing unique?

Estelle Feng

For new brand, I will use brand La Vaste Mer for explanations. This is a complete new brand, when customer first came to me, he doesn’t have that much ideas.  he told me he wants a swimwear brand for younger generations, and plan use Tmall (China) AliExpress(overseas) eBay(overseas) this kind of e-commerce website to sell his products in China and overseas. With prices around $20-50.

 

Spring–Guangzhou–buyer Brand spirit;

Target consumer; uniqueness.

 

Estelle Feng

Then we should to think about what identity do I want this clothing brand to project.

The brand named “La Vaste Mer”, this is French name, means the vast sea in English. What I think is French chic and blue ocean … very relaxing and comfortable with French chic style swimsuits …French typical colors … red blue and white 🇫🇷…

We remember this kind of environment, always helpful when we are designing.

 

Estelle Feng

But who will want to wear my clothes? So we can set ages range; price range and any things else you want to clarify.

 

Estelle Feng

What can customers get from my clothing brand that they can’t get anywhere else?

For La Vaste Mer, they have swimwear fabric factory background, so the advantage is they are really familiar with swimwear fabric development, they can lower the cost of fabric etc…and they used be production firm for Europe and American brands. They need now is design team. So they have unrestricted fabric choices, we and choose colors we like and design fabric print as well.

So this collection can be cheaper than independent designers brand, have unique fabrics, and better designs compare with other cheap swimwear brand.

 

PART THREE: The design process

 

3.1 How to find the source of inspiration?

 

Estelle Feng

Inspiration can be everything ~Needs be stuff that inspires you. A pic, a song, a smell, a poem. All those could inspire you to design.

 

Derek Shanghai PM

The import part is how you use material and execution on the products to express the inspiration.

 

Spring–GuangZhou–buyer

As for me, The source of inspiration, mainly depends on the individual, even if society is impetuous.

 

 

3.2 How to refine the style you want?

 

Natalie~Xiamen~Analyst

First of all need to know or list all the styles in the market

 

Derek Shanghai PM

After decided the design theme, design team can have a brainstorm, to find the most suitable elements to be used sketch website sharing: http://pretatemplate.com/

(Sketches from Estelle Feng)

 

 

3.3 How to create CADs?

 

Estelle Feng

To develop a sample or manufacture a style, factories need to know every detail about your design so they can ensure garment accuracy.  Which is why they expect designers to provide professional tech pack.

 

Lizzy-Chicago-student

In school, we always use hand drawing for technical drawing, how about in company? Using CAD only?

 

Derek Shanghai PM

I use AI draw sketch, we can put the remakes on the sketch for detail workmanship and construction.

 

Derek Shanghai PM

Then put the BOM, and color combination, and measurement chart.

 

Derek Shanghai PM

For some detail part, if you cannot show in measurement chart, it is better to make a special sketch with measurement to make your detail design be easier understood.

 

Estelle Feng

We can always add detail pic reference or another AI sketch for better explanation.

 

PART FOUR: Conclusion

 

First ,really happy to be host this time, as a fashion designer I still have many things to learn, the meaning of group always learn from each other and help each other. After our discussion about this topic, please see my summary below. 

“Fashion is amazing in the way it balance art and commerce, but it’s a business.”

 

1. Importance of research.

Any successful or financially viable collection requires an enormous amount of research, investigation and planning. Designing a collection is not only a personal work but also need integrate information resources, such as investigate the market trend; understand the brand DNA; refer to like brand( if this company has)historical archived designs; well follow brand guideline; merchandise category assortment plan… Use them to inspire and improve your design.

Using fashion analysis website to research easier: WGSN; POP; Pinterest; Pantone; Vogue; FuckingYoung …

Using self-feeling when you designing… Inspiration can be everything. Needs be stuff that inspires you. A pic, a song, a smell, a poem. All those could inspire you to design.

 

2. Development

Themes and directions can be enhanced and developed from primary research, regardless of location, time or season.

When we are designing for a new brand. Three point for begain: Brand spirit; Target consumer; Uniqueness.

When we are designing for a brand exist for a while.Using exist silhouettes and divided the styles to be essential/core/fashion, each segment we have the ratio during planning.

Using website http://pretatempl ate.com/ to easier download any type of template you need and draw you sketches.

Always communicate with merchandisers sales and costing peoples to check if your collection is really workable.

 

3. Finalization of CAD

To develop a sample or manufacture a style, factories need to know every detail about your design so they can ensure garment accuracy.

Which is why they expect designers to provide profession tech pack.

Using Adobe AI/CorelDRAW to draw every detail of garment, and always insert detail notes inside, we can always add some specify measurement if we think that is necessary. For some detail part, if you cannot show in measurement chart, is better to make special AI sketch with measurement to make your detail design be easier understood.

And remember to put BOM (Bill Of Material) so the factory can easier to check all material need to be used.

 

 

 

 

 

The whole discussion is shown as below

—————  2018-7-7  —————

Christine Tsui 下午7:15
pls be on time. Those who never show up will be removed fm the group

Estelle Feng 下午7:16
[表情]

蓝梦媛Natalie Lan 下午7:49
[表情]

Estelle Feng 下午7:57
Be ready~

Heather 下午7:58
[表情][表情]

代谦娜 下午7:58
[表情][表情][表情]

LITTLE L 下午7:59
[表情][表情][表情][表情]

吉阿喜 下午7:59
[嘿哈]

Karen Kun YAN 下午7:59
[表情][表情][表情][表情]

Heather 下午8:01
@Estelle Feng-SH-fashion designer Let’s start

Estelle Feng 下午8:01
ok

Estelle Feng 下午8:01
Hi guys, nice to meet you all, I’m Estelle. I was graduated from the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, major in fashion design. And studied at ÉCOLE SUPÉRIEURE D’ART DE TOURCOING and ESMOD PARIS ; Served the newly established swimwear brands “ La Vaste Mer ”; US Target brand “ KNOX ROSE ” “ MOSS BLACK ” .

Estelle Feng 下午8:01
Theme: How to design a complete collection for a clothing brand?

Estelle Feng 下午8:01
We all came here for communication, so please don’t be shy, let’s enjoy our discussion time!

Estelle Feng 下午8:02
If I have English writing/grammar mistakes, please accept my apology. Thank you!

Estelle Feng 下午8:02
[表情]First, as a designer of a brand company or as a designer of a new brand, how to develop a clothing collection?

Karen Kun YAN 下午8:03
Think in customer’s shoes + investigate the market trend.

Derek Wei 下午8:03
study and understand the brand DNA, and market trend

Karen Kun YAN 下午8:03
Refer to the like brand (if this company has) historical archived designs…

代谦娜 下午8:03
In company, to develop a new collection, maybe need to get guideline of this season from merchandising planning department

Estelle Feng 下午8:03
yh~ In fashion industry, the very beginning is fashion designers. They have to consider which style should develop for this season, what kind of stories we gonna tell customers, how can we balance the price and quality/good looking… too much work actually for fashion designers…

Estelle Feng 下午8:04
yh our company have guideline as well

代谦娜 下午8:05
Which department do the guideline in your company?

Derek Wei 下午8:05
actual before design, normall we will have merchanise caterogry assortment plan and brief to design team

Karen Kun YAN 下午8:05
do you also involve sales team to provide their view?

蓝梦媛Natalie Lan 下午8:06
How about Products managers ? Does fashion industry has this role?

Derek Wei 下午8:07
yes

Estelle Feng 下午8:07
We have target brand guidelines for each brand

Estelle Feng 下午8:07
Each brand have their own guidelines

Karen Kun YAN 下午8:07
do you mind sharing a bit more about ‘target brand guidelines’? thanks

蓝梦媛Natalie Lan 下午8:08
@Derek Shanghai PM ‘tks for ur answer ~~

Estelle Feng 下午8:09
Like brand “Knox rose”, neckline opening cannot lower the modesty point. This is one of those standard

Karen Kun YAN 下午8:10
thanks

Derek Wei 下午8:10
the target brand guidelines you mentioned is brand CI guideline?@Estelle Feng-SH-fashion designer

代谦娜 下午8:10
Is The guideline include the SKU or clothing category of this season?

LITTLE L 下午8:11
Who/which department makes this brand guideline for designers in clothing company ?

Derek Wei 下午8:11
for my understanding, the guideline is that what you can do or use in the design, what you can not do or use in the design

Estelle Feng 下午8:12
For our company, retailers actually (Target)

Estelle Feng 下午8:12
@Lovelyn-Shanghai-Sourcing

LITTLE L 下午8:12
Thanks for your answers dears

Estelle Feng 下午8:13
Yes @Derek Shanghai PM

LITTLE L 下午8:13
It’s good to know

Estelle Feng 下午8:13
Really good answer

Estelle Feng 下午8:14
[表情]Second, how to do the researches ?

Estelle Feng 下午8:15
Research is very important part for fashion design, we cannot just draw whatever you feel is good, we have to do a lot of researches to make sure we are doing is in right way.

蓝梦媛Natalie Lan 下午8:15
Market research

Estelle Feng 下午8:15
Research is an essential part of the fashion design process. Whether you are designing for a brand or you’re putting together a portfolio to apply to design school, research is not optional.

覗四 下午8:15
N style research

代谦娜 下午8:16
Get some trend from the website like WGSN/Analysis your customer. I think

Karen Kun YAN 下午8:16
so true!

Karen Kun YAN 下午8:16
Set the right direction!

Estelle Feng 下午8:16
What should be included in fashion research?

蓝梦媛Natalie Lan 下午8:16
Materials?

Derek Wei 下午8:16
check if any import events related to the brand for the product launch time, to find the design theme

LITTLE L 下午8:16
Color trends/materials?

蓝梦媛Natalie Lan 下午8:17
Pantone

Derek Wei 下午8:17
then find the mood designer want to express, chose the color flow

覗四 下午8:17
Pics that u get ur inspiration, material n sketch?

Estelle Feng 下午8:18
I have websites to share, maybe you guys know them very well alrealy

Karen Kun YAN 下午8:18
like color, silhouettes, key details, prints….

Estelle Feng 下午8:18
We have WGSN which is really useful for fashion companies. They have like newest analysis reports in different categories ( women/men/kids/swimwear/lingerie/colors/trend/style development …) WGSN is my favorite website for research.

Karen Kun YAN 下午8:18
[握手]

Estelle Feng 下午8:18
And Vogue, everyone knows we can always catch new fashion event and runway pics there.

Estelle Feng 下午8:19
POP I don’t really use this, but pop is famous in China, they have also really good analysis reports, of anyone know this web better, you can just share your thoughts with us.

Estelle Feng 下午8:19
or*

Derek Wei 下午8:19
yes, i also like WGSN, also pintrest

Estelle Feng 下午8:19
And any other website you guys think is good for research? Please share with us ~

蓝梦媛Natalie Lan 下午8:21
Btw For those websites u all read English version or Chinese?will there be any differences?

覗四 下午8:21
FuckingYoung website

覗四 下午8:22
Lots of brands lookbooks there

Estelle Feng 下午8:23
For WGSN, they have a little bit differences but not that much, just some reports maybe have no Chinese vision yet. I use both of English Chinese vision actually

Julie 下午8:23
trend forecast is also important right?

Estelle Feng 下午8:23
Yh @Julie~Shanghai~High-end retail

蓝梦媛Natalie Lan 下午8:23
Tks!@Estelle Feng-SH-fashion designer

Estelle Feng 下午8:23
@Valeria-Seoul-postgraduate stude Thank you for share !

蓝梦媛Natalie Lan 下午8:23
How to forecast?

代谦娜 下午8:24
You guys really share so many useful websites

蓝梦媛Natalie Lan 下午8:24
Use Pantone?

Estelle Feng 下午8:24
Pantone is great as well!

Estelle Feng 下午8:24
But when have have choices to pick colors [偷笑]

Estelle Feng 下午8:26
If you are designing for a brand exist for a while, you have to understand his history /brand identity as well. which style they like to show to coustomes… and colors… sales situation…

Estelle Feng 下午8:27
You can try to get as much info as you can.

Karen Kun YAN 下午8:28
do you have any concern of the info quality from these websites?

Karen Kun YAN 下午8:28
And, how to avoid the mis-leading information?

Heather 下午8:29
I’m wondering how do u select those infor you want,as there are so much infor on those websites,how to select?

蓝梦媛Natalie Lan 下午8:29
i am curious for big brands like maxmara they must have a mature mechanisms to mix the trend and their own gene

Estelle Feng 下午8:30
We can focus on typical topic when we do research.

Estelle Feng 下午8:30
If I’m designing for Americans

Estelle Feng 下午8:31
I’ll go American websites check what they’re liking, what they’re selling …

Estelle Feng 下午8:32
Don’t waste too much time with websites, we just grab info we need, we want to know

Estelle Feng 下午8:33
@Natalie~Xiamen~Analyst I think the answer is Yes

代谦娜 下午8:33
As a foreign design,does it difficult to understand the usa market trends?

Heather 下午8:34
@Estelle Feng-SH-fashion designer Thanks you

蓝梦媛Natalie Lan 下午8:35
@Estelle Feng-SH-fashion designer [抱拳]

Estelle Feng 下午8:35
U.S unlike Europe, they have less trend stuff in designs, so we always have basic shape they like, some colors they are used to wear.

代谦娜 下午8:36
@Estelle Feng-SH-fashion designer thank you for your answer

Estelle Feng 下午8:36
Also we have reports from target. They have big design directions for us

Derek Wei 下午8:36
for a brand exist for a while, they have exist silhouettes, just need some new, many can be kept, actually we devided the styles to be essential/core/fahsion, each segement we have the sku ratio during planning

Estelle Feng 下午8:37
@Derek Shanghai PM Good~

Derek Wei 下午8:38
each segement goes to different type of store to reach the different level target consumers

never say never 下午8:38
Turns out there was a discussion in the group today.

Estelle Feng 下午8:39
But if you guys are designing for a new brand?

never say never 下午8:39
I just finished .I’m Climbing the stairs.

Estelle Feng 下午8:39
haha welcome~

穿越SAHARA 下午8:39
I have a question,Does the basic styles company need a designer?

Estelle Feng 下午8:40
@Henry-Hangzhou-Wholesale&Retail haha I think someone else can answer your question ~ do we have [偷笑]

Derek Wei 下午8:40
design for a new brand, i think it is much more difficult

Estelle Feng 下午8:41
Yh now we have so many brands come out everyday

代谦娜 下午8:41
The brand like uniqlo need to do the guideline for new season?[表情]

Estelle Feng 下午8:42
@Queena-Luoyang-AGL Yes. Guideline is very basic standard

Estelle Feng 下午8:43
Uniqlo must be much more detail than us

Estelle Feng 下午8:43
For new brand

We can start with 4 questions~
What identity do I want this clothing brand to project?
Who will want to wear my clothes?
What can customers get from my clothing brand that they can’t get anywhere else?
What makes my clothing unique?

never say never 下午8:43
In my opinion,Every company has its own product plan.

Derek Wei 下午8:44
designer need to understand who are the target consumer, why this new brand was created, what this new brand want to express, then designer can find the suiatable theme for design to build the brand identity in the market

Estelle Feng 下午8:45
@Derek Shanghai PM good answer~

Estelle Feng 下午8:46
For new brand, I will use brand “La Vaste Mer ” for explanations. This is a complete new brand, when customer first came to me, he doesn’t have that much ideas. he told me he wants a swimwear brand for younger generations, and plan use Tmall (China)Aliexpress(overseas)EBay(overseas)this kind of e-commerce website to sell his products in China and overseas. With prices around $20-50.

代谦娜 下午8:46
[强]

never say never 下午8:46
Brand spirit
Target consumer
uniqueness

Estelle Feng 下午8:47
@Spring–GuangZhou–buyer [强]

never say never 下午8:47
Can I understand that?

Estelle Feng 下午8:48
Then we should to think about what identity do I want this clothing brand to project.
The brand named “La Vaste Mer ”, this is French name, means the vast sea in English. What I think is French chic and blue ocean … very relaxing and comfortable with French chic style swimsuits …French typical colors … red blue and white [表情]…
We remember this kind of environment, always helpful when we designing.

Estelle Feng 下午8:49
But who will want to wear my clothes?
So we can set ages range; price range and any things else you want to clarify.

Estelle Feng 下午8:49
anything else ?

Estelle Feng 下午8:49
🤔

Estelle Feng 下午8:50
Below is what I’ve been put in for my client.

Estelle Feng 下午8:50
图片1(可在附件中查看)

Estelle Feng 下午8:51
What can customers get from my clothing brand that they can’t get anywhere else?
For La Vaste Mer, they have swimwear fabric factory background, so the advantage is they are really familiar with swimwear fabric development, they can lower the cost of fabric etc…and they used be production firm for Europe and American brands. They need now is design team. So they have unrestricted fabric choices, we and choose colors we like and design fabric print as well.
So this collection can be cheaper than independent designers brand, have unique fabrics, and better designs compare with other cheap swimwear brand.

Estelle Feng 下午8:53
Any new ideas for this part?

Heather 下午8:54
wow[强]

Estelle Feng 下午8:56
[表情]Third, the design process~

Estelle Feng 下午8:59
Sorry for too much information~ we can always talk ~

穿越SAHARA 下午9:00
don’t worry

Heather 下午9:03
@Estelle Feng-SH-fashion designer It’s ok,we can continue[愉快]

Estelle Feng 下午9:04
What else we should be careful when we designing for a new brand ~?

Estelle Feng 下午9:09
And we can also set a planning sheet to see if your styles covered all things you want ~

Estelle Feng 下午9:10
Ok Let’s go to the third part~

代谦娜 下午9:11
About the inspiration

Estelle Feng 下午9:12
Yes ~

Estelle Feng 下午9:12
Inspiration can be everything ~

Estelle Feng 下午9:12
Needs be stuff that inspires you. A pic, a song, a smell, a poem..all those could inspire you to design.

代谦娜 下午9:13
When I at university, I just choose some pictures that inspire me

代谦娜 下午9:13
The picture from online like pinterest

Estelle Feng 下午9:14
yh~ I always use Pinterest as well, when I have some ideas in mind but hard to tell, I’ll use it go through pics and found those suitable pics, they always have original link so you can check the all infos .

代谦娜 下午9:16
But for me, in this high speed developing society, that is more and more difficult to choose an inspiration [捂脸]

Derek Wei 下午9:17
the import part is how you use material and excution on the products to express the inspiration

Estelle Feng 下午9:18
Yes, when we’re be able to use inspiration to make something out , the feeling must be stronger

never say never 下午9:19
As for me,The source of inspiration, mainly depends on the individual,Even if society is impetuous.

Estelle Feng 下午9:21
Yh inspiration is personal thing

Estelle Feng 下午9:21
Tiny list share with you guys. We can always go througt them when we looking for inspiration~

Estelle Feng 下午9:21
图片2(可在附件中查看)

Estelle Feng 下午9:22
which is not exhaustive[嘿哈]

Estelle Feng 下午9:25
How to refine the style you want?~

Heather 下午9:25
Thank you for sharing!

Karen Kun YAN 下午9:25
thanks for sharing this list

Heather 下午9:26
by extracting some key elements?

Estelle Feng 下午9:26
@Heather-Wuhan-AGL Yh Good way

Estelle Feng 下午9:29
After lots of sketches we’ve been drawn, we can extract some key elements easily…

Estelle Feng 下午9:30
So I’m gonna share a website(they have app as well) for sketches ~

蓝梦媛Natalie Lan 下午9:30
First of all need to know or list all the styles in the market

Derek Wei 下午9:30
after decided the deisgn theme,
design team can have a brainstorm, to find the most suitable elements to be used

蓝梦媛Natalie Lan 下午9:31
Yeah brainstorm is a good approach

Estelle Feng 下午9:32
@Derek Shanghai PM yh brainstorm is helpful

Estelle Feng 下午9:33
and we can also always go back to reasearch part to check if our styles is suitable ~

Estelle Feng 下午9:36
And that sketch website is PRÊT-Â-TEMPLATE

Estelle Feng 下午9:37
图片3(可在附件中查看)

Estelle Feng 下午9:38
图片4(可在附件中查看)

代谦娜 下午9:38
Thank you for sharing

SuyyLizzy 下午9:39
Thank you for sharing the sketches

Estelle Feng 下午9:39
They have lot of templates we can use

Estelle Feng 下午9:42
So let’s go to next part~

Estelle Feng 下午9:42
how to create CADs?

Estelle Feng 下午9:43
To develop a sample or manufacture a style, factories need to know every detail about your design so they can ensure garment accuracy. Which is why they expect designers to provide professional tech pack.

Estelle Feng 下午9:44
We have technical designers here ?[表情][表情] or anyone have any questions for this part?

SuyyLizzy 下午9:45
In school, we always use hand drawing for technical drawing, how about in company? Using CAD only?

Estelle Feng 下午9:46
Our company use CAD, but a lot of Chinese company just draw some simple sketches and let designer to communicate with pattern marker

Estelle Feng 下午9:46
And sewing people

SuyyLizzy 下午9:47
Coreldraw is another software I heard a lot where a lot of company required when hiring designers, is it also for techinical drawing?

Derek Wei 下午9:47
i use AI draw sketch, we can put the remaked on the skech for detail workmanship and constuction

Estelle Feng 下午9:47
Yes But now more and more people are using AI for drawing

Estelle Feng 下午9:48
@Lizzy-Chicago-student

Derek Wei 下午9:48
then put the BOM, and color combination, and measurement chart

SuyyLizzy 下午9:48
Thank you for asking my question

Estelle Feng 下午9:49
AI is easier for me[憨笑]

Estelle Feng 下午9:49
@Derek Shanghai PM really good call out

Estelle Feng 下午9:49
@Derek Shanghai PM can you please explain what’s is BOM for us

Derek Wei 下午9:50
bill of material

Estelle Feng 下午9:50
Thank you

Estelle Feng 下午9:51
图片5(可在附件中查看)

Estelle Feng 下午9:52
Details in CAD

Estelle Feng 下午9:52
图片6(可在附件中查看)

SuyyLizzy 下午9:52
Do we need to include the measument in technical drawing?

Estelle Feng 下午9:52
BOM

Estelle Feng 下午9:53
@Lizzy-Chicago-student Yes we need give them some measurements

Estelle Feng 下午9:53
Like the length of garment

Estelle Feng 下午9:53
Pockets size

SuyyLizzy 下午9:54
Got it.

Estelle Feng 下午9:54
All measurements you think you should call out, you can always add some measurements

Derek Wei 下午9:54
for some detail part, if you can not show in measurement chart, it is better to make a speical sketch with measurement to make your detail design be easier understood

Estelle Feng 下午9:55
Yes[强] @Derek Shanghai PM

代谦娜 下午9:55
@Derek Shanghai PM you are so professional [强]

Estelle Feng 下午9:56
We can always add detail pic reference or another ai sketch for better explanation

Estelle Feng 下午9:57
So by now, I’ve been finished all things I should share ~

Estelle Feng 下午9:58
Please leave me a message if you have questions~

Chloecat 下午9:58
thanks for sharing~~

Derek Wei 下午9:59
thank you

Heather 下午9:59
@Estelle Feng-SH-fashion designer Thank you!

Estelle Feng 下午9:59
Really happy to be host this time, as a designer I still have many things to learn, but I do like share some experience that I know with our group members~ I’ve been learned a lot from you guys as well~And again If I have English writing/grammar mistakes, please accept my apology.

代谦娜 下午9:59
@Estelle Feng-SH-fashion designer Thank you!

SuyyLizzy 下午10:00
@Estelle Feng-SH-fashion designer thank you!

sand hue[表情] 下午10:01
[表情]

Christine Tsui 下午10:04
@Estelle Feng-SH-fashion designer thank you

Estelle Feng 下午10:05
Than you all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Merchandising Planning?

Christine Tsui Fashion Community

What is Merchandising Planning

 

Date:18/03/2018

Time: 8pm to 10pm

Host by Midori-shanghai-designer

Pisces, a post-90s designer with mild obsessive-compulsive disorder, has a strong executive power and a combination of care and patience. Three years local brand designer experience, in the design has its own preference and opinion.

The outline of discussion:

Q1. What is Merchandising?

Q2. Why is Merchandising Planning important?

Q3. How to make a Merchandising Planning?

 

PART ONE: What is Merchandising?

Merchandising is a general term. It involves a wide range of occupations. They are retail purchasing, designers, buyers, displays, merchandising managers, marketing operations, production managers and other occupations.


a. What are the occupations involved in merchandising?

 

Hangzhou-Buyer-Crystal

The first thought coming out must be Buyer.
Jason- Guangzhou- Independent buyer +manager
Designer, Buyer, Visual Merchandising, Merchandising Manager, Marketing, Operation, Production Manager, etc.

Deng Hua- Shanghai- Buyer of Children’s Wear
Buyer in R & D department , Retail Buyer.

Jing Jing- Hangzhou- Jewelry sales
Merchandising specialist.

Yvonne-Shanghai-Garment
Product manager.

Zitong-Shanghai-Merchandising
Buyer, merchandising planner.

Midori-Shanghai-Designer
Buyer is a general designation.
Zitong-Shanghai-Merchandising
Brand manager.

Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Culture & Travel
Merchandising planner, designer

Ziwen-Ningbo-Ecommerce
Visual Merchandising, sales, merchandising director, marketing, designer.

Abby-Guangzhou-Merchandising Manager
Merchandising, merchandising manager, buyer.

Jason-Guangzhou-Independent buyer + Manager
All of these should be involved in the whole merchandising.

Midori-Shanghai-Designer
Buyer is the main position in Merchandising. And rest of them are more likely to be relevant to retail buying.

Yu Siqi-Beijing- Buyer’s assistant
Merchandising manager, buyer, etc.

Yvonne-Shanghai-Clothes
Purchasing should also be considered as a large general term. It involves merchandising.

Una-South Africa-Former buyer
Buyer / designer / visual merchandising / merchandising analyst / branding director.

Yu Siqi-Beijing-Buyer’s Assistant
The department of merchandising.

Midori-Shanghai-designer
The designer belongs to the design project.

Una-South Africa-former buyer
We used to be that buyers making merchandising plans, and then the marketing department, sales department, merchandising department, and purchasing department holding a meeting together.

Midori-Shanghai-designer
The visual merchandising is a spatial planner, and this part overlaps with the merchandising, involving these several departments, which is the influence factor we will discuss later. My understanding includes: retail purchases, buyers (niche brand buyers / traditional buyers / consumer-oriented buyers / mass buyers). The main two parts will be more in favor of merchandising.

b. What does Merchandising include? 

In different enterprises, the content of merchandising will be different. However, from a marco-perspective, merchandising includes design planning, product planning, process control, and so on. 

Details include OTB planning (width and depth of SKU), launching plan, collection theme, merchandising structure and category planning (E. G. product style and structure, color, fabric, pattern, etc.), Sales Budget, Purchasing Budget, Spatial Planning, Marketing Planning, and pricing.

Jason-Guangzhou-independent buyer + manager
Design planning, product planning. Process management and control includes quarterly theme planning, merchandising structure planning, band amount planning!

Zitong-Shanghai-Merchandising
Proportion of merchandising category.

Lengyun-Shanghai-Master of group
Is it a business that we know?

Cheng Liang-Guangzhou-buyer
Style, theme, color.

Lengyun-Shanghai-Master of group
In other words, is it a question of personal opinion or corporate phenomenon?

Midori-Shanghai-Designer
Business that we know.

Abby-Guangzhou-Merchandising Manager
OTB, banding, merchandise style and structure, color, fabric, pattern, and collection.

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear
In our company, buyers come up with the merchandising planning every quarter and keep communication with designers. Then designers will design according to the framework of merchandising.

Zitong-Shanghai-Merchandising
The structure of each band goods.

Hangzhou-buyer-Crystal
Launching planning, category planning, demand planning, marketing planning, pricing (merchandising first planning, then analysis, and finally inspection).

Una-South Africa-Former Buyer
I used to have a vague concept in my mind. After learning the teacher’s curriculum I summed up that first according to the sales, we can forecast and formulate marketing target, profit target (gross profit / net profit), stock-to-sales ratio goal, discount strategy, and merchandising structure classification. According to the above objectives, the OTB budget and the design planning (merchandising visual planning / spatial planning / marketing band and product line planning) are worked out.

Yu Siqi-Beijing-Buyer’s Assistant
Planning, brand selection, communication, signing of contracts, OTB, selection, observation of sales data, timely replenishment / return of the entire product line.

Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Wen Lv

Product positioning, target clientele, style series, output and price range.

Jing Jing-Hangzhou-Jewelry sales
Product purchasing budget, product portfolio, product width, pricing.

Lengyun-Shanghai-Master of group
@Deng Hua + Shanghai + Buyer of Children’s Wear: Dear you still haven’t explained what the merchandising is including?

Susan-Shanghai-Buyer
Macroscopic aspects include political and economic trends; microcosmic aspects include OTBs, listed bands, category proportions, spatial planning ,and sku width and depth.

Lengyun-Shanghai-Master of group
Back to the fundamental question, what is the purpose of merchandising? Why should there be a merchandising?

Midori-Shanghai-Designer
What I have observed is that merchandising generally includes merchandising launching plan, merchandising category planning, sales budget, purchasing budget, and a subdivided purchasing budget.

Anlan-Shanghai-Design
OTB, category structure, profile structure, each shelf band, SKU, amount allocation, pricing, post review, and promotional activities.

Susan-Shanghai-Buyer
The purpose of merchandising is to maximize the profits.

Una-South Africa-Former buyer
The purpose of merchandising is to guide the design and development of merchandise from the point of view of maximizing the profits of enterprises.

Midori-Shanghai-Designer
@ Susan- Shanghai- buyer: This is very detailed.

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear
OTB, category planning, market band, launching plan, sales forecast, and pricing strategy.

Midori-Shanghai-Designer
In addition, clothes is a seasonal product, when to sell, how much should be sold, what amount of the style all need to be planned in advance, and to ensure that planning in line with the law of seasonal changes in climate. In addition to being affected by the climate, retail sales are also much affected by holidays.

Lengyun-Shanghai-Master of group
Actually, I do not think the concept of profit maximization exists, just more for the sake of sales, gross margin and inventory balance.

Lily-Shanghai-Buyer
I will also increase more key section developing plans.

Midori-Shanghai-Designer
So the part of the launching plan is also of great importance.

Abby-Guangzhou-Merchandising Manager
Make the planning of the amount of money, profits, basic funds, image section.

Anlan-Shanghai-Design
Define the attributes of the merchandise

Ziwen-Ningbo-ecommerce
There are merchandising sales forecast, the formulation of OTB plan, and merchandising positioning (price band, style, and sales strategy)in the early stage, and in the later stage, the actual sales data analysis (such as the purchase, sales, storage, return, and other indicators).

Hangzhou-Buyer-Crystal
Can it be understood as reducing inventory risk to more accurately find out the popular style, the amount of money, so as to maximize sales?

Midori-Shanghai-Designer 
Profit maximization is also important to set the demand for the number of styles, and plan how many sku in each quarter to sell.

Lengyun-Shanghai-Master of group
In particular, the question of the width and depth of the merchandise is very important.

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear
We will always keep an eye on the sales situation, starting with the launching.

Lengyun-Shanghai-Master of group
Yeah, it’s all a rolling plan.

Anlan-Shanghai-Design
And the depth of each item ~.

Midori-Shanghai-Designer
Yes, then the historical making-the-plan data will be used as a reference value.

c.What is the relationship between merchandising and design planning?

 

It is generally accepted that design planning is a part of merchandising. The difference between the two is that the former is more perceptual and pays more attention to the visual presentation, while the latter is more rational,  based on the historical data and focus more on overall business planning of the company. 

Jason-Guangzhou-independent buyer + manager. 
Merchandising includes design planning!

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
Between them, the ability to sell products, sales season and sales history are very important.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
Design planning is more focused on merchandise style.

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear. 
The designer plans under the framework of merchandising.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Yeah, they’re subset relation.

Yvonne-shanghai-clothes. 
Does it depend on whether the company is buyer-led or design-led to determine their relationship?

Lily-shanghai-buyer. 
In depth I will refer to the definition of historical data, channel changes, and style, but the most important basis is OTB.

Hangzhou-buyer-Crystal. 
Merchandising plan as a guide, gives the direction of design planning and demand. Design planning according to fashion trends, colors, fabrics, and the combination of popular elements to design merchandise.

Fioriah-Shanghai-Brand and Market expansion.
Merchandising on the basis of design planning is more sensitive to the market response, and design planning focusing on culture and style.

Lengyun-shanghai-master of group. 
@ Midori- Shanghai-designers: we’d better talk about the differences between merchandise planning and design planning.

Lily-shanghai-buyer. 
Merchandising is shown by numbers.

Yu Siqi-Beijing-Buyer’s Assistant. 
Merchandising includes design planning. Merchandising for the overall retail merchandising, and design planning focus on the sense of design.

Lily-shanghai-buyer. 
Design planning focuses on vision.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Merchandising is rational planning, while design planning is perceptual planning. Design planning needs merchandising to give a general planning direction before it can be carried out.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
The difference between the two I think is the different focus. Merchandising focuses on depth and breadth, which is the quantity aspect while design planning more emphasizes on style.

 Anlan-Shanghai-Design. 
Our merchandising will also set a push rhythm, and add some promotional activities.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Merchandising is up to the number of planning requirements, and merchandising cost budget requirements.

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
Merchandising tends to be formulated price positioning, market positioning, and consumer positioning while the design planning inclines to make the trend of the brand, color, style, and fabric.

Midori-Shanghai-designer.
Design planning will be based on the data above to specifically plan fabric type, style, color, and thickness.

Ziwen-Ningbo-ecommerce. 
Early there is the merchandising, whose part is design planning. Is the design planning entirely done by the design department?

Zitong-shanghai-merchandising. 
The design plan should be meticulous to a series of themes, styles, main colors, surface accessories and so on.

Lu Xiaokang-Shanghai-buyer. 
What is harder to design is the relationship between seasonal themes and the rest of the band themes with consumers.

Midori-Shanghai-designer.
Yes, the design planning is entirely done by the design department, and most companies do so.

Lu Xiaokang-Shanghai-buyer. 
No department of planning can be separated from it.

Zitong-shanghai-merchandising. 
I think merchandising is more based on historical data and the corporate’s overall planning framework.

Jason-Guangzhou-independent buyer + manager. 
Design planning should be the source of early inspiration, fashion trend analysis and theme Kanban, etc.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Design planning needs merchandising to give the specific launching time, sales cycle, the number and relative proportion of all kinds of goods listed, the price range, and the respective proportion of the basic, fashion, characteristics, essential section.

Jason-Guangzhou-independent buyer + manager. 
More perceptual, merchandising is the whole business case.

Lengyun-shanghai-master of group. 
Merchandising is data planning while design planning is visual planning.  That’s my simplest definition.

-Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Wen Lv. 
That is to say, merchandising has a guiding influence on design planning.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
That’s right.

Abby-Guangzhou-Merchandising Manager. 
According to the design planning, the proportion of display space planning, style series, color, as well as the proportion of merchandise attributes, fabric, and pattern.

PART TWO  Why is Merchandising Planning important?

 

a. How does buying team work without a merchandising planning?

The benefits from a good merchandising planning are shown below:

A.  It is a well explanation of fashion trends, an analysis of historical data and a monitor on inventory level. It is scientific and caters the changing customers’ demands.

B. It works when company try to reduce reduction caused by excessive inventory and shortage of stocks. It can improve sales performance and increase profit margins!

C. The key issues when merchandising planning is that how to select the depth and breadth of inventory, how to distribute basic products and fashion commodities, and how to calculate OTB purchases and amounts. The maximized utilization of funds ensure that there will be enough back-up fund when the sales performance is not good as expected.

Susan-Shanghai-buyer. 
The boss patted his head.

Lu Xiaokang-Shanghai-buyer. 
The boss is talking nonsense.

-Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Wen Lv. 
Hit the head + 1.

Lu Xiaokang-Shanghai-buyer.
So do we.

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
By feeling.

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Children’s clothes. 
Buyers refer to competing brands.

Zitong-shanghai-merchandising. 
I recalled that the department manager of our company bought goods. I just thought it would be OK to order this 500 and that 1000 with no reason.

Jason-Guangzhou-independent buyer + manager. 
By the eye, it’s a perceptual choice!

-Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Wen Lv. 
Or based on experience, and data from the previous year.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
In the absence of a specific merchandising, our boss estimated it roughly on the basis of the sales budget.

Abby-Guangzhou-Merchandising Manager. 
According to historical data.

Lu Xiaokang-Shanghai-buyer. 
It’s just so crazy and not reliable.

Jing Jing-Hangzhou-Jewelry sales. 
Experience and intuition.

-Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Wen Lv. 
The sixth sense.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
As far as the specific style is concerned, it is entirely based on feeling.

Cheng Liang-Guangzhou-buyer. 
In fact, in many small branded chain stores, there is no merchandising. It’s based on sales, previous data, and the current quarter of the hot categories, or to see what stores are needed, to make purchases.

Ziwen-Ningbo-ecommerce. 
Buy what’s popular.

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
Historical data is important.

Hangzhou-buyer-Crystal. 
If there is no merchandising, more is the upper echelon and the boss according to their own experience of the market, sensibility to buy goods, with the market wave by flow.

Abby-Guangzhou-Merchandising Manager.
City tune, fashion trend.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Generally speaking, it is based on individual preferences for style to buy it.

Yvonne-shanghai-clothes. 
According to the actual sales situation and last year’s experience, which sells well will increase the quantity or turn over the order.

Lengyun-shanghai-master of group. 
How can the trend of market research and fashion be explained into figures?

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
There will also be a reference to the brand company’s recommendations, and the main merchandise.

Lu Xiaokang-Shanghai-buyer. 
Consumer self-portraits are important.

-Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Wen Lv. 
Follow the celebrities.

Hangzhou-buyer-Crystal. 
Refer to what competing brands are selling.

Zitong-shanghai-merchandising. 
Sometimes the designers were cut off too many styles by the buyers, and the department manager picked out some of last year’s popular styles and changed the fabric and color to renew them.

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
The opinions of the salesmen and franchisees.

-Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Wen Lv. 
Refer to the factory styles and recommendations.

Lily-shanghai-buyer. 
A lot of trends can also be seen in the street photography.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
So what will be the problem by this way of buying?

Zitong-shanghai-merchandising

Sales and franchisees’ opinions sometimes come too late and will be referred to the later rapid response, but in the initial order, it is all based on experience and personal preferences.

-Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Wen Lv. 
Following the trend with the general public results in a backlog of goods.

Zitong-shanghai-merchandising. 
How else can we sell our inventory at a 70% discount for five or six weeks?

Lily-shanghai-buyer. 
Irrational, it is likely to lose control of good inventory.

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear. 
Bad style doesn’t sell out, but good style sells out too early.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
For example, to buy according to historical sales, the original model may be popular, but the next season is not popular. According to the recommendation of the brand company, maybe our customers are not that type.

Ziwen-Ningbo-ecommerce. 
I will consult the supplier or the factory’s opinion. The possibility of buying the new general is quite big because we have the fluke psychology.

Zitong-shanghai-merchandising. 
Sometimes, we turn last season’s good fashion models, which are supported by sales data, into this season’s VW models. (AP Photo / trendy / trendy).

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Therefore, the merchandising is to make a “framework guidance” for this quarter’s order before the order meeting. If the merchandising can be compared to setting up the skeleton, then the order will be specifically order goods.

Yvonne-shanghai-clothes. 
@Ziwen Ningbo ecommerce.

What do you mean by reference to the opinions of suppliers and factories? Will they give a trend of competing goods or fabric styles with high order volume in the current time?

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Have you ever met any unreasonable situation in the formulation of merchandising?

Jason-Guangzhou-independent buyer + manager. 
Yes, but according to the data of the same period in previous years, it is still relatively referential. If there are differences, we can make adjustments in the later period.

Zitong-shanghai-merchandising. 
In fact, a lot of merchandising is also very perceptual.

Abby-Guangzhou-Merchandising Manager. 
The proportion of the key categories planning does not coincide with the sales.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
Yes, for example, a certain category plans to order SKUs too large, but the options are not so many.

Lily-shanghai-buyer. 
This will be adjusted on the spot according to the order.

-Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Wen Lv. 
This is because the designer is not our company?

Jason-Guangzhou-independent buyer + manager. 
There will be one in the company.

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
How to effectively avoid perceptual formulation? What is the most important point?

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Sometimes poor portfolio planning results in excessive production costs while overstocking of unpopular products, and insufficient inventory of marketable products, result in losing sales opportunities.

Ziwen-Ningbo-ecommerce. 
Suppliers sometimes have a better grasp of the product or details than we do. With more information, they directly improve according to the feedback they get from the original product.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
Right. Equalitarianism is a very easy mistake to make when ordering an order, and it is sometimes impossible to make a correct choice when you choose it with a particular focus.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
This is an irrational expression of merchandising. Merchandising Planning is to make a specific quantitative decision for the purchase, through at the right time, in the right store, providing the right goods to meet the needs of customers.

b. What will be the impact of good or bad merchandising planning?

 

If there is no merchandising, many companies make buying decisions according to the bosses’ opinions. Some will also take reference to historical sales data, seasonal fashion trends and reference to competing brands, asking salespeople and franchisees for advice to determine. These methods may have some drawbacks, such as the emotional judgment of the boss alone being likely to face inventory problems in the future; if reference to historical sales data, the trends today may not be popular next season; Sales and franchisees’ comments sometimes come too late for later quick response.

Merchandising Planning, as a framework guidance, is really important. A good merchandising planning can greatly be beneficial for an enterprise to make a profit. Bad merchandising will directly affect the interests of the company, leading to a decline in retail terminal performances. The unreasonable Category structure, and too many or too few products will increase the probability of inventory risk. In other words, merchandising is the steerer of a ship, and whether a steerer is good or not affects the passengers of the whole ship.

Ziwen-Ningbo-ecommerce. 
Egalitarianism may be caused by market research not done well, or money being measured.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
I think we need to think about the business case in many dimensions and in many ways. For example, in the article shared by the teacher, there are several key points that need to be paid attention to in the planning, and market research has identified more than 10 of the most influential points that we need to carefully consider in the planning.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
From the purchasing aspect: if the retailer planning and quantity of ordering the merchandise is insufficient, lack of the target customer’s merchandise can cause the sale loss. On the other hand, overbuying of commodities may lead to overstocking at the end of the season, leading to low returns on profits.

Lengyun-shanghai-master of group. 
You have to read your article in conjunction with me. Otherwise, it’s always limited to your own experience.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Neither the quantity nor the style nor the choice of goods, it is not an easy or simple decision for the buyer.

Hangzhou-buyer-Crystal. 
A bad merchandising will have a direct impact on the interests of the company, which causes the decline in retail terminal performance. Secondly, the category structure is unreasonable, the product is too much or too little, and the probability of inventory risk is increased. In other words, merchandising is the steerer of a ship, and whether the steerer good or bad affects the passengers of the whole ship.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
As far as our company is concerned, the main reference factors are OTB, historical sales data, fashion trends, and the store display.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
So, our article has talked about some experimental ways to guide people in buying methods to make breakthroughs, to maximize profits.

-Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Wen Lv. 
Will merchandising affect the liquidity of the company?

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
The impact is due to the limited budget for each product, limited shelf space, store space for commercial displays, and a limited number of suppliers are able to offer competitive products.

Merchandising develope on the basis of trade-off decisions between multiple decision factors (e.g. marketability, budget, economy) to meet customer requirements. Also they take the uniqueness of clothes products into consideration (e.g., short time to market, changing variables, unpredictable consumers).

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 

But even if these factors are taken into account, there will be a lot of restrictions in the specific purchase. At present, I feel in the purchase of good planning is just to give myself a concept, when we have specific orders it is not so easy to follow the plan. It’s a combination of reason and sensibility.

PART THREE  How to make a good Merchandising Planning?

There are many factors affecting merchandising planning.

Internal factors include: 

1. Budget (OTB).

2. The number of shops and the size of each store.

3. Brand positioning.

4. Historical sales data of previous years.

5. Product evaluation (marketability and sales cycle).

6. Product cost and fare increase.

7. Surplus inventory level and total inventory level.

External factors include: 

1. The characteristics and requirements of the target market.

2. Information of epidemic trend.

3. Competitor products and product planning.

4. Supplier evaluation.

5. The economic condition of the shop area and the disposable income of the customers.

6. Weather conditions and changes.

It is worth noting that sometimes it is necessary to consider the length of the product production cycle and whether the product can be launched on time as planned. If not, missing the sales session will affect sales, and we need to take timely measures to deal with it. This is a common problem in practice (such as setting aside a small portion of the buffer during a product planning to prevent a product delay, and preparing a plan B to replace the problem product, such as flipping through a list or getting a quick order with a common fabric in advance of the book).

In addition, when the design language is presented into the sales language, the terminal sales staff words is also very important. Because sales staffs are the people facing consumers ultimately, so sale words can highlight the advantages of the products and persuade consumers to buy more.
a. What are the factors that affect merchandising planning? 

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 

This part is mainly discussed from three aspects:

(1) Consumer cognition and preference.

(2) retailer constraint.

(3) external environmental factors.

 

Jason-Guangzhou-independent buyer + manager. 
As the article recommended by the teacher, there are internal and external environmental factors, 13 items to be taken into account in total.

Internal environmental considerations: 

1. Budget (OTB).

2. The number of shops and the size of each store.

3. Brand positioning.

4. Historical sales data of previous years.

5. Product evaluation (marketability and sales cycle).

6. Product cost and fare increase.

7. Surplus inventory level and total inventory level.

External environmental considerations: 

1. The characteristics and requirements of the target market.

2. Information of epidemic trend.

3. Competitor products and product planning;

4. Supplier evaluation.

5. The economic condition of the shop area and the disposable income of the customers.

6. Weather conditions and changes.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
I would like to know what the most important factors are in your respective companies?

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
First one is budget. For most clothes retailers, the initial total budget is created by executives ahead of the new season or the start of the new year. Although product selection based on qualitative forecasts may seem easy, classification plannings are considered difficult because they are usually carried out within a limited budget.

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
Merchandising efficiency.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
How does merchandising efficiency affect merchandising?

Yvonne-shanghai-clothes. 
I think we should take into account the length of the production cycle and whether or not we can launch the product on time as planned. If you can’t miss the sales session, that will affect your sales volume, then we need to take timely action to deal with it.  This is a common problem in practice (such as setting aside a small portion of the buffer during a product planning to prevent a product delay, and preparing a plan B to replace the problem product, such as flipping through a list or getting a quick order with a common fabric in advance of the book).

Lengyun-shanghai-master of group. 
That’s great. In reality, that’s the problem.

Yvonne-shanghai-clothes. 
Well, planning is very important, but can we go according to the plan? How to control should also be a task that is controlled by the buyer.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
In reality the supplier’s development cycle will also have a great impact.

Susan-Shanghai-buyer. 
In reality, what our company does not pay attention to is the level of surplus inventory and the total inventory level.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
Yes, in reality it will delay delivery due to the company’s liquidity problems.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
For example, the supplier cannot deliver the goods on time because of the planned style and quantity.

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
I think merchandising efficiency is the key point that must be analyzed before each purchase by analyzing the historical data on the sell-out rate and by analyzing SKU / each item / each category. Make sure you know exactly what to do, and then plan for a specific implementation plan.

Lengyun-shanghai-master of group. 
That’s right. All this needs to be considered in the early stages of development.

Jason-Guangzhou-independent buyer + manager. 
Another point is that when the design language is translated into the sales language, it is also very important for the Fab knowledge to be well translated into the words of the terminal salesperson, because it is salespeople who face the consumers.

Jason-Guangzhou-independent buyer + manager. 
This will also be reflected in the planning.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
Also, I think we need to reflect on our plans for the last quarter, which will help us to find out problems. Our company is lacking of reflection at the end of the quarter.

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
It seems that there’s no time for reflection. You’re right.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
Usually it’s finished after the project is done and the goods are sold out.

b. What is the basis for merchandising? 

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 

Merchandising is based on:

1. Sales forecast;

2. Historical sales;

3. consumers’ perceived preferences (consumer instability)

4. Retailer constraints (physical space / market positioning, etc.);

5. External environment (macroeconomic / changing trends in consumer lifestyles, etc.).

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
That’s right.

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear. 
Ecommerce business also considers platform activity time and discount.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Are there any problems during the implementation of these principles?

Hangzhou-buyer-Crystal. 
First of all, according to the purchasing planning for the entire quarter, the full indicator determines the quantity of goods for the quarter.

Secondly, the width and depth of the merchandise is determined by the number and size of the existing and the next three months’ total stores. Referring to the historical sales data of previous years, we can judge the demand planning and sales positioning of sales in this quarter. For the categories missing from previous years, we should adjust and improve the category structure in time this year. Besides, according to the existing inventory, control the overall issue of orders inventory. The time to market is determined by the sales cycle of the merchandise, the delivery time of the supplier and the recent weather changes.

Jing Jing-Hangzhou-Jewelry sales. 
Check deviations between planned and actual sales.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
When everybody is making the merchandising, what kind of problem consult historical data will appear?

Una-South Africa-former buyer.
Can ‘consumer instability’ be one problem?

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Yeah. For example, a good model selling well in the last season will be done a continuation in this season. Will this continuation sell well?

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
I usually combine the latest fashion trends in Europe and the United States to design merchandises for new season.

 Li Fangfang-Shanghai-Cross-border e-commerce operations. 
The problem for me is that the difference between the new sales target and the historical sales data market.

Hangzhou-buyer-Crystal. 
The difference in the number of stores, such as 10 stores in the first year and 80 or 90 stores in the second year, makes the reference accuracy of the sales data low.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
Yes. For example changes in stores. Shopping mall changes will greatly affect sales, if not take them into account, these reference historical data will have a large deviation.

Li Fangfang-Shanghai-Cross-border e-commerce operations. 
Team competencies are not taken into account and the channel structure has changed.

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear. 
Some categories which are missing last year will be enlarged in this year. If the degree of amplification is not controlled well, there will be inventory sharing.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Yes, so what is the reasonable choice for historical reference data?

Li Fangfang-Shanghai-Cross-border e-commerce operations. 
Percentage of 80% as a reference to 20% is recommended as a supplement to other anomalies.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
I think there should be a very detailed analysis on the historical data, such as what the specific factors leading to sales rising are, whether this factor will still exist in the next quarter, and whether there are other factors.

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear. 
We should not only refer to historical data, but also look at trends.

-Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Wen Lv. 
Will fashion trends affect it?

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
If most of the store environment has changed, the data is of little reference value.

Jing Jing-Hangzhou-Jewelry sales. 
Combine the historical data and the surrounding environment together.

Amin-Shenzhen handbag design. 
In the case of performance not particularly good and the pace of previous shipment not very normal, almost it’s impossible to find the reference of the previous planning.

Li Fangfang-Shanghai-Cross-border e-commerce operations.
Should we consider the weight of historical data?

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
Yeah, there’s still a lot of variation.

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
That is to refer to historical data while combining trends with the external environment. Right?

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
The weight of historical data requires specific shop analysis. The general environment can almost refer to more, otherwise we should be cautious.

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
I think this issue of weight cannot be quantified. Who knows how much has changed?

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Apart from historical data, is there any problem with cost control?

-Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Wen Lv. 
Cost control should be a very important factor in planning.

Li Fangfang-Shanghai-Cross-border e-commerce operations. 
About how to forecast the cost of the new quarter and the market environment changes, we are relatively uncontrollable.

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
I think it is a difficult problem to increase fees and charges by multiples and discounts.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
Our company buyers do not need to consider much in this aspect, the range of price increases is certainly fixed. In our company, this mainly depends on the requirements of the management for the company’s gross profit margin.

Li Fangfang-Shanghai-Cross-border e-commerce operations. 
Plus, we’re fixed, too.

Ziwen-Ningbo-ecommerce. 
The reference value of historical data is limited. As for seasons, holidays, the renewal of their own products, the changes of actual operation of the store sales team, it is difficult to say. Changes are based on the actual market, and there is no law in the short term. If the database is relatively large and the content is relatively rich, the reference may be large and the more stable classic product data reference will be a little larger.

Zitong-shanghai-merchandising. 
We also have a fixed rate of increase.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Our company here also first sets a multiple of the increase, sets a retail price tag, and then controls the cost of production.

-Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Wen Lv. 
Isn’t it possible to set a certain range for fare increase multiples? The sales model and cost control of each company should be fixed. Only when the increase multiple is sure will it make money.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
Right. Therefore, I feel that the specific implementation of the buyer here seems to have nothing to do, but control mainly when the activities of discount.

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear. 
The rate of increase will vary according to the different types.

Li Fangfang-Shanghai-Cross-border e-commerce operations. 
Control of gross profit rate, right?

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear. 
But there’s a bottom line.

Abby-Guangzhou-Merchandising Manager. 
Yes, according to the enterprise gross profit target to specify the increase multiple.

Amin-Shenzhen handbag design. 
Our accessories are prepared in advance after the planning out to control costs. Leathers of handbags account for a high proportion of the cost. Having set the price of fabrics, the cost is relatively easy to control.

-Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Wen Lv. 
Is the float going to be very large, say, 5 for the most part, and then one of the categories becomes 2 or 3?

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
We used to be buyers who set premium multiples for each style, as long as the average premium multiple was reasonable. Then it’s ok.

But the drawback is:

1. Buyers are doing it entirely on the basis of their own experience.

2. If the price of certain models is too high or too low, it will affect profits.

So, does anyone have the best way?

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Floats typically do not exceed 2.

Candy-Shanghai multibrand buyer. 
This depends on whether the style is run or image. Different styles will have some different strategies, but the difference is not big.

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear. 
We’ll base it on the positioning of the money.

-Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Wen Lv. 
I think the average premium multiple control is reasonable, after all, there will be consumers feeling that low prices of one category and buy other merchandise by the way.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
On this issue, it is generally possible to limit the price band.

Li Fangfang-Shanghai-Cross-border e-commerce operations. 
Have any statistics been made on the changes in the rate of fare increase and the rate of conversion of consumers, and the extent to which they have been affected?

Abby-Guangzhou-Merchandising Manager. 
We usually plan the pricing strategies, that the proportion of high price, middle price and low price segments.

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
By the way, I remember that the teacher’s curriculum has mentioned the drainage section, the star section, and the image section.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Make the distinction of premium multiple inside different price belt, then be very clear about the fixed position of run quantity paragraph, and the image paragraph.

Merchandising is based on:

1. Sales forecast;

2. Historical sales;

3 consumers’ perceived preferences (consumer instability);

4. Retailer constraints (physical space / market positioning, etc.);

5. External environment (macroeconomic / changing trends in consumer lifestyles, etc.).

If it is an ecommerce platform, we should also consider the time of platform activity and discount dynamics.

 

c. How to plan merchandises (online and offline) according to the different nature of buying them?

 

As the online and offline platforms are different in nature, the merchandising planning of these two platforms should be different as well. The customers online are much more than that  of offline. Thus, the biggest difference between planning in online and offline distributions should be the allocation frequency and the diversity of categories.

Sales attributed by different stores are different as well. For example, flagship stores and Taobao c stores has been allocated different styles and quantity requirements. In general, the brand flagship stores have a shorter sales cycle.

As for merchandising planning, some companies utilize an online-offline mixed strategy. Online platforms are responsible for selling new collection and inventory online when offline platforms take charge of displaying products, building lifestyle concept and communicate with customers. The SKU number online is much bigger than that of offline. Online merchandising content will be detailed designed, including new band SKU number, style length, thickness, fabric properties, and price band.

But some companies utilized a contingent merchandising planning online and offline. They do not have any discount both online and offline, so there is no specific online planning. The strategy online is only selling more of each hot product.

Una-South Africa-former buyer.
The first difference between online and offline, I think it should be “style and quantity”. The online range is larger and the offline range is limited.

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear. 
Merchandises online are included many the category-oriented.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Because online merchandises are sold according to platform activities, it is required to be fast in terms of upfront periodicity.

Zitong-shanghai-merchandising. 
I think the biggest difference between online and offline is the frequency and type of stock.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
So, how do you differentiate between online and offline merchandising, and what is the difference between what is going on, online or offline?

Amin-Shenzhen handbag design. 
The same brand online and offline planning data base is not the same, and customer groups are not the same.

Li Fangfang-Shanghai-Cross-border e-commerce operations. 
Crowd, merchandise life cycle, loading frequency, replenishment cycle.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
So, what are your requirements on the replenishment cycle?

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear. 
Online planning is mainly based on the activity of sales data to test the tracking.

Li Fangfang-Shanghai-Cross-border e-commerce operations. 
And promotion.

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear. 
If you want to catch up with the sale, you have to prepare the fabric in advance.

Li Fangfang-Shanghai-Cross-border e-commerce operations. 
Yes, I agree.

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
Then I have to think of the terrible ‘inventory’.

Li Fangfang-Shanghai-Cross-border e-commerce operations. 
Supply chain response is slow. Not preparing inventory, you had better prepare fabric.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Because of online platform, it is the idea that clears stock before. Nowadays does everybody still plan so?

Li Fangfang-Shanghai-Cross-border e-commerce operations. 
Our platform is dominated by new models.

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
Isn’t the fabric inventory?

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear. 
There will be plans to set different discounts according to the old and new items at the time of the activity.

Zitong-shanghai-merchandising. 
Basic fabric can be, or can be prepared for the embryo cloth.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
About the merchandising online, what is the difference between the SKU number and the offline merchandising?
Li Fangfang-Shanghai-Cross-border e-commerce operations. 
The number of booths on the line is much larger than that off the line, and the number of booths is infinite.

-Yi Maoban-Shanghai-Wen Lv. 
I think it is more reliable to change the sales model.

Fioriah-Shanghai-Brand and Market expansion. 
We mainly sell new models and digest inventory online while display merchandise and lifestyle offline. In SKU, online is much larger than offline.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Any other suggestions?

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
I have not done online, but weakly ask: I have seen some online shops but sku is not many, and the category is not complete, but single sales are particularly large. What’s going on here?

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear. 
About our online, sku numbers are based on the target amount and volume for the current season. The depth of each category is certain and online may not necessarily be greater than offline.

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
Is it possible to say that there are two types of online:

1.There is a complete range (of all kinds).

2. Earmarked funds (I sell dresses, or hooded sweatshirt).

Ada- Supervisor-Guangzhou. 
We are selling flat & unsalable money online because the discount is stable at 70%-80% discount on line (except for off-season clearance) so the best-selling model or the newly launched band will not be sold online.

Hangzhou-buyer-Crystal. 
We are online and offline unified, we are not discounted both online and offline, so there is no specific online planning. As far as I understand, there is no strict category structure planning online, but more important thing is the amount of running in a single model.

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear. 
More category-oriented.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Planning on line should be divided by the shop attribute. For example, brand flagship stores, Taobao c stores. Different stores have different requirements of style and quantity. In general, the brand flagship stores have a faster new cycle.

Ziwen-Ningbo-ecommerce. 
Online good operation is very powerful, and of course, there must be enough money to support.

Jason-Guangzhou-independent buyer + manager. 
Now a lot of brands because of good online sales, dedicate style to the online team, different from offline merchandises.

Deng Hua-Shanghai-Buyer of Children’s Wear. 
Yes, we have online and offline two separated teams.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
Our company is separated from online and offline, and the planning is also carried out separately. Online merchandising content will be specific to platform activities, new band, SKU number, style length, thickness, fabric properties, and price band.

Jason-Guangzhou-independent buyer + manager. 
Many aspects will be considered. For example, the supply chain fast reverse, and development of a big data analysis of user needs and characteristics, should be more based on the reverse sales, rather than based on the traditional design to promote.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
So what about offline merchanising planning?

Una-South Africa-former buyer. 
Offline merchandising is more about combining local needs with other factors we’ve discussed before. It is regionalization that is more distinct.

Midori-Shanghai-designer. 
However, in the case of specific operations, there are a normal order and a quick order which have operational differences between the two. The periodicity of a normal order is based on the factors we discussed earlier. As for the planning, a fast order belongs to the type of fast reflection.

Jason-Guangzhou-independent buyer + manager. 
Personal summary: merchandising is selling the merchandises to the right people at the right time, the right place, with the right merchandises, and the right price. It should be a balance, and a rational and emotional combination!