Designers need inspiration. They need to be stimulated and inspired to be able to create something innovative and fresh. If a designer is surrounded by the “familiar”then everything they produce starts to become “familiar”. We don’t surround ourselves by the “familiar” and it’s why we produce the best sportswear design and truely innovative product for our clients.
In-house designers become just this. They are surrounded by a business and therefore an industry, product, technology and people who all speak the same. They are all “familiar”. They attend the same trade shows, visit the same retail outlets, see the same fabric suppliers and use the same factories. Before long, the industry becomes stagnant and, dare I say “familiar”
For some brands, this “familiar” is where they are comfortable. After all, its very safe to follow the crowd and produce ordinary, Brands are guaranteed a certain degree of success by following this route and the effort involved to produce average is just that, average. They don’t aspire to create the best sportswear design and product.
Because we are a sportswear deign consultancy, we work with loads of different brands in different categories of sport around the world. This allows us remain fresh as we need to be looking at the sportswear industry as a whole, reviewing all the new technologies, factories, fabric mills, trade shows, brands and products.
We then pass this knowledge onto our clients by suggesting alternatives to the “familiar”, be it alternative fibres, fabrics, technology, manufacturing construction and process, sourcing or features. Because we work across so many different sportswear categories we also approach style differently, looking at general fashion trends rather than focussing directly at their competitors.
Sure we need to take in account what our clients competitors are up to but we also understand that product already on the market is at least 12-18 months behind what we are about to create. We also understand that their competitors will be looking to improve their current product and therefore looking for new technology or ways to innovate.
Most brands are established by someone who sees a gap in the market for a product that offers something new, something that has never been done before. Before long this brand has a sales & marketing team that enables this product to reach the global market which then start to dictate product, feeding back into the business what is hot and which competitor is doing well and why. Designers are fed this information and a brief is created for them to chase the latest hot sellers rather than focus on what the brand stands for.
Before long, said brands loose market traction and become “Me 2” brands, producing average product that follow the innovators, with a sales team that are now dictating the future of the business.
Sales are key to the success of every business but when a brand is selling product that they produce then sales MUST follow product. A sales team are there to sell the brands products. That’s how the business was founded, on product. Nobody every starts a product based business by recruiting a sales team and then thinking about the product.
Product in our minds is always “KING”. If you have an outstanding product, one that far outperforms your competitors, be it in quality, features, style, performance or price then you have the foundations to become a brand that not only makes a difference but a brand that have the tools to become #1 within that sector.