10 Top Tips For Retailers & Manufacturer’s To Get Ahead Today
High street closures have become the norm up and down the UK with some of the biggest players in retail getting seriously burnt. How are retailers to survive in this shifting market? How can they trade through this period? Here are 10 top tips to consider advises FashionCapital / Fashion Enter CEO Jenny Holloway…
1) Buy less quantity – The UK is flexible – and can cope with 500 units giving retailers newness when they need it. A few orders of 2,000 plus does help to balance flow though!
2) Source fabrics locally – Leicester has excellent fabrics with digital printing giving constant newness.
3) Work with your manufacturer – reserve production space and production lines. Manufacturers can be flexible to a clients’ needs but the client does need to plan!
4) Repeat the Far East best sellers here in the UK – perhaps with a twist of newness!
5) Be prepared – Work with your manufacturer on blocks and grading before styles are confirmed. Be ready and nimble to react to best sellers.
6) Expect more – Work on JIT and lean manufacturing to secure lead times from concept to delivery of just 3-4 weeks
7) Develop good relationships with manufacturers – retailers are hungry elephants and manufacturers can provide the palm fronds!
8) Look at your payment terms – On margins 90 days after delivery is not acceptable.
9) Genuine faulty garments? Please be commercial with your AQLs!
10) Appreciate the skill base! The combined skills in manufacturing are awesome. Pattern cutting is an art! Stitching is a skill. Finishing is finesse! As an ex-Senior Buyer from Arcadia I never fully appreciated the supplier base. I do now!
When I first started my retail buying career I started with the big multinationals Littlewoods, then M&S and finally Arcadia. These were the days when training was extensive – there was time to invest deep in learning and development.
There were also a plethora of excellent manufacturers to visit…SR Gent and their factories, Burnham in Nottingham, Dewhirst…my, we were spoilt for choice!
Then came the off-shoring and these manufacturers had to close and with them generations of skills were lost. I see now how heart-breaking that was.
So this is why we are running highly successful CPPD sessions to pass on golden nuggets of information that you just can not read in books – anywhere.
Just look at these testimonials!
“I now have information on pattern cutting, puckering causes and reasons and how to eliminate. Workings of a factory and things to consider in suppliers (not always the factory’s fault!) Very good and informative.” – J.W, Garment Technologist at FG4 London
“I saw how a factory works, learnt more about costings, insight into pattern cutting to aid my fits feedback. Hoping all this will help me design efficiently with an understanding for my supplier’s. It was a really friendly and informative day. Was great to see a real life factory and the processes. It will be really helpful for my day to day job even as a designer.” -Amy, Junior Designer George at ASDA
“I have learnt about costings, lay plans and the product time line. It was so helpful; I wish I had been offered this training earlier. Thank you.” – Megan, Assistant Buyer Arcadia Group
“The course has taught me so much about construction, production and pattern drafting. This training was invaluable.” – Brid, Garment Technologist Primark
“Today has taught me more about production. I think these CPPD courses should be compulsory for all buyers!” – Kaiesha, Senior Ethical Trading Manager at Arcadia Group
“I have learnt about a UK factory and how it works. I have also learnt about SMETA, cabbage etc, which I had no idea about and I also learnt about costings. All the information was extremely useful.” – Jemma, Buyers Admin Assistant at Fat Face
“The day here taught me about garment construction, costing and the factory and processes – I think it would be great for merchandisers to complete the CPPD as they would then understand why orders are delayed etc.” - Ujena, Buying Admin Assistant at ASOS.com
“This morning taught me the nitty gritty of behind the scenes in the factory (everything that isn’t spoken about). Everyone was really friendly and helpful with lots of information. The team were approachable and inspiring from a ‘do it yourself’ and be genuine in what you do attitude. I’ve loved it. Thank you! – Kate from M&S