It’s an issue that has plagued the industry for way too long – Richard Lill explains what needs to change
By now you will have read the Jan/Feb 18 issue of Bridal Buyer (and if not, you can devour the digital edition here), and you’ll have seen our most recent counterfeit update. Richard Lill, the Director of Lionheart Portfolio, shared his views with us about the tricky issue of counterfeits, and we shared some of his insight on page 29.
You can read the full version of his views, complete with advice and ideas, below – tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the article.
“Counterfeiting is something that is a problem for both retailers and suppliers equally. The BBSA has been instrumental in protecting the industry, enlisting the help of the government and constantly updating and working with the internet giants Google, eBay and the like.
“Anything that is internet based, which is what counterfeiting is, is almost impossible to eradicate, so at best we can minimise the impact. Suppliers can do this by signing up to the latest counterfeit technology, which does work. Retailers need the help from the wider industry in the main the consumer press; they need to continually send the message to brides, highlighting that ‘cheap is never good and good is never cheap’.
“One thing I have done is produce a brochure that my retailers can give their visiting brides. It is not branded as Ladybird as this is meant to instil the virtues of buying from a reputable independent retailer, one who has the experience and knowledge to make them not only look and feel great on their wedding day, but supply them with a quality dress that will look as good at the end of their special day as it does at the start.
“With same day order to delivery becoming more and more widespread, the mind-set of the consumer has changed; disposable fashion has become the norm. Speaking to a friend that works for a massive online retailer, in some recent research the question was asked ‘Do you like to visit the high street, so you can try things on?’, and the overwhelming response was ‘why, when I can get it delivered free and try it on with my mates at home!’
Suppliers like Ladybird have worked hard over the years to assist retailers with selections of styles available from stock and/or on a shorter lead time, in the hope that we are all positioned and prepared to combat this change.
“This is why the key to independent retailers success is the experience they offer. Retailers need the help of the media to make sure that brides understand visiting them is not just dress shopping, but a beautiful, special experience that is the start of their journey to happiness. Every shop has a range of stunning dresses but it is the shop that can offer practical, honest advice allowing them to feel comfortable and confident.
“I have always said one of the key elements to being successful is to find the answer to one question, which is in two parts: ‘Which part of your body do you like the least?’
When you have this information you can advise on a dress that masks their insecurities. The second part is: ‘Which part of your body do you like the most?’ This allows retailers to understand what they need to highlight and accentuate. This is done using a variety of questioning techniques, from direct to a more subtle approach, picking up on signs like holding their hands in front of their tummy and reading their body language - not everything is always spoken!
“With the introduction of discount outlets etc., independent retailers may have to look to move closer to the European model, which is a combination of full price off-the-rail (more like general fashion), and reorders as we do today. This model accommodates the changing trend of ‘same day’ whilst allowing the traditional route to be taken for the forward-planning bride. The biggest shift for the retailer that wants to adopt this in part or in its entirety is getting to a position of positive investment. The need to commit to stock, and as with Mother of the bride or prom, it is a hard position to achieve for many retailers and will have to be part of a longer term strategy.”
Do you agree? What is the best strategy for combatting fakes and the craving for fast fashion? For more information, make sure you read Enzoani’s Mark Stevens’ take on the changes impacting the bridal industry.