Co-Creation adds value to your organization and elevates the relevance of your company in the retailers’ or brands’ matrix of A, B, and C suppliers.
Retailers and brands are pivoting to outsource to their A suppliers design, trend development in finished garments. Instead of wholly relying on internal design teams to drive seasonal product development, retailers and brands are leveraging their supply chain to hire designers and creative directors to drive trend and product development for them season to season and in some cases “season less” when a trend or fashion item is hot. Remember that “season less” design, product development is now possible because of ease in adding new styles to their web sites vs the old model of loading brick and mortar locations seasonally. E-comm makes launching new trend product product at any time in the development calendar.
Co-creating makes your company more relevant in the E-comm space.
In response to this latest trend at retail and brands, many of these A garment suppliers (i.e. Koreans, Taiwanese) are hiring design teams and housing them in offices close to retail and brand headquarters in USA so their design and concept teams can interact directly with merchants and sourcing teams regularly. The AHM membership should know that this trend to outsource design, product development to suppliers is growing. For the textile or garment supplier that meets the challenge, this business model creates a dependency for the retailer to have to book the order with the supplier that brought the design development to the table because then there is no time to replace the development with another supplier. The future for A suppliers is to add value by owning the fashion, trend development for their retail and brand customers to final commercialization.
How do you achieve success in driving Co-Creation proactively to differentiate from your competition?
- Own the value chain from concept to commercialization. Don’t wait for your customer to provide the trend, bring trend to your customer with quarterly appointments.
- Create a company culture that emphasizes newness, trend & innovation to disrupt your market competition.
- Allocate company resources to hire a design and creative team to drive trend in seasonal color, materials and silhouette
- Attend fabric and supplier fairs that are hosted by your retail and brand customer to work closely with the retailer and / or brand to understand the brand story and design into the brand story custom
- Think “season-less” in newness with quick reaction times with a narrow fabric palette for speed to market
- Attend global trade shows like Premier Vision and Outdoor Retailer Show annually or bi-annually for inspiration in driving trend, newness
- Lean on your supply chain for research & development (i.e. chemical, dyestuffs, yarn, equipment suppliers)
- Be focused and knowledgeable in your selected category researching aspirational brands for trend guidance
- Create a dependency between your customer and your creative teams to increase market share and reduce internal work load of your customer whose resources are tight due to internal margin pressure
- Carry and show trend line of fabrics, garments to your customer appointments
- Understand your customers’ development calendar – timing is everything. The internal retail and brand seasonal development calendar drives the sample development timelines and merchant buy due dates. Ask for appointments to show the trend line at critical moments in the calendar by season.
- Align with the design team’s aesthetic to deliver trend appropriate sample development.
- Co-Creation = Higher Market Relevance = Dependency = Higher Margins
For further details on this topic, Mr. Joe Cuervo, Textile and Apparel Manager for the Honduras 2020 Program can be reached at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org