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DTI Event – Talking Shop: Wholesale in a Digital World


On the 13th March Fashion Enter’s Development Manager, Lorna Tavares, attended ‘Talking Shop: Wholesale in a Digital World.’ Open to London based fashion businesses the event combined a panel discussion, workshop and a brand case study with a networking lunch.

The UK fashion industry is growing, with its value to the UK economy rising to a record £32 billion at the end of last year. Larger retailers are still dominating this market, with emerging fashion companies finding it challenging to establish themselves.

The aim of ‘Talking Shop’ was to discuss and explore the current market conditions, listen to experts discuss the relevance of wholesale in a digital age and explore ways to grow in an ever-changing retail climate.

With a full to capacity turnout the panel of industry professionals included the likes of Gemma Philips Commercial Director at Mary Katrantzou and Sarah Burton Head of Buying Fashion Beauty at Fortnum & Mason, amongst others. The panel analysed how wholesale has changed in a digital age, what buyers look for in new brands, and how to be savvy when working with multi-brand stores. They also shared their experiences regarding the digital side of their business and it was interesting to hear that its not always plain sailing when it comes to promoting business via social media.

“Digital marketing is not easy, you need to take your customers on a journey. It’s a science, a lot of testing, trial and error and analysis on a daily basis. Getting our first million followers happened by organic, story telling.” – Ryan Palmer – London Sock Company

“Find a balance, inject capsule projects, exclusive products, adopt a model that works for you. Spend time setting up infrastructure and developing systems to grow your business.” – Gemma Philips

“We have 20% budget for newness. Brands must be consistent with a strong vision. If I am interested I will meet the designer t0 talk about the concept and story behind the brand.” – Sarah Burton

“When approaching a buyer be really clear on who you are, buyers will check your social media!” – Emma Pull Buying Brand Consultant

Meanwhile, the workshop with International Agent John Kiszely of Good People Agency, discussed how wholesale is evolving in 2019 and how to successfully work with agents, while the British brand case study revealed how they managed to established their business across both retail and wholesale channels.

“For a new brand costs are tricky look for smaller niche trade shows, keep costs low, look at things carefully and manage expectations. It is easier to chat to buyers than email, they receive 100’s of emails a day.” – John Kiszely

Events like these are an excellent way to inspire, inform and clarify ways forward for the industry. Hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) the event provided first-hand insight, knowledge and experience from successful fashion brands in the marketplace today.

Thank-you to the DTI for the invitation.

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