Young fashion is the latest focus of Retail Week’s ‘The disruptors’ series, which looks at the businesses creating waves across the industry.
Just eight years ago, Nitin Passi launched Missguided. Now with sales of over £100m and having appointed Rothschild to explore its options, Passi’s entrepreneurial ambitions have been rewarded.
Retail Week takes a look at the businesses trying to disrupt the original disruptors. Could one of them be the next Boohoo or Missguided?
In The Style
This Manchester-based business was founded in 2013, off the back of a £1,000 redundancy pay-out when Founder Adam Frisby launched the business from his bedroom.
From humble beginnings managing the business and picking and packing himself, he has just supervised its move into a 30,000 sq ft warehouse in Salford Quays.
What sets In The Style apart from its myriad competitors is its constant celebrity design capsules, the latest of which is with Love Island star Olivia Attwood.
While Love Island may not represent the pinnacle of celebrity, this is a clever marketing approach.
The programme has been the stealth British TV hit of the summer – inking a deal with a contestant and getting the clothes on the site while thier publicity is at its height is great business sense.
The celebrities In The Style collaborates with help push its collection to their hefty social media following.
The business is aimed squarely at young, value-based shoppers. The average price of a celebrity collaboration garment is around £30, while own brand comes in at around £20.
“Missy Empire is harnessing the marketing power of influencers to boost its brand”
Having had a £15m turnover target for last year, Frisby is now focusing on overseas expansion. Currently, 11% of sales are international and In The Style is now targeting territories in Australia, Europe and the US.
Founded in 2013, the Lancashire-based business, like In The Style, stakes a lot on social media.
Its founder Ashley Ali is quite the wheeler dealer, describing himself as a ‘hustler’ rather than founder or chief executive on his LinkedIn page.
Priced competitively, MissPap charges around £20 to £25 for a dress.
Also hot on collaborations, MissPap mainly focuses its attention on marketing via fashion bloggers, which results in gaining instant social media traction.
It has recently launched designer collaborations, with TOWIE star Megan McKenna – its most high profile partner.
Manchester-based Brand Attic enjoyed an 809% sales rise year-on-year from its site last year and will soon launch an own-label collection.
Established in 2015, the retailer has so far stocked third party brands but in October, it will launch what it describes as its “competitively priced” own brand capsule collection.
“MissPap mainly focuses its attention on marketing via fashion bloggers, which results in gaining instant social media traction”
With a grand total of 16 staff, Brand Attic is a minnow in the fast fashion market but clearly has big ambitions. In April this year it launched its first TV advertising campaign and has spoken of its ambitions to compete with Asos and Boohoo.
Planning a recruitment drive later this year, the retailer credits its astronomic growth with data-driven trend analysis and the use of influencers such as Made in Chelsea’s Louise Thompson.
Created by Missguided chief executive Nitin Passi, Mennace launched this month. Having made its debut on Asos late last year, the collection will now be sold via a dedicated website and a 12-month pop-up shop in Shoreditch’s Boxpark.
Mennace is aimed at the same millennial age group as Passi’s main brand Missguided, but its price architecture is higher and it has a greater focus on quality. The label is starting small with hundreds of items rather than the thousands listed on the main Missguided site.
Mennace is pitching itself between the cheaper end of the high street – brands such as H&M, New Look and Topman – to the premium end, with brands such as All Saints.
Where Missguided is a bold, brash brand famous for its millennial pink branding, Mennace seems more pared back with a plethora of moody black and white shots on its website.
The streetwear and athleisure brand features hoodies, joggers, jeans, T-shirts and jackets. Passi says his ambition is to be “on trend and first to market”.
This millennial-focused etailer is very much in the same vein to that of Boohoo and Missguided.
Founded in 2015 by brothers Ash and Ish Siddique, Missy Empire’s turnover is on track to top £6.5m this year.
Carrying 3,000 lines at any one time – and adding 100 new pieces every week – Missy Empire is harnessing the marketing power of influencers to boost its brand, creating campaigns with reality stars such as Stephanie Pratt of The Hills and Made in Chelsea fame. Their current marketing campaign features her Made in Chelsea co-star Tiffany Watson.
The Siddique brothers come from a manufacturing background and believe that this experience has been invaluable. Clever sourcing and production know-how are key to being first to market and ensure a successful fast fashion operation and Missy Empire is able to turn product around in a rapid five to 10 days.
Founded in 2013, Batoko is a women’s swimwear retailer with a difference.
Surprisingly Batoko – which uses much-loved millennial motifs such as cacti, palm prints and flamingos – is not based in a hip enclave of LA or Brooklyn but in Lytham, St Annes, Lancashire.
A key strand of the business is its ethical and environmental credentials. In a backlash against fast fashion culture, Batoko prefers to keep its “collections small, introducing new designs at a slower and much more sustainable pace”.
Its reusable packaging is made from 100% recycled materials and the swimwear itself is made from vegan fabric.
Those credentials don’t come cheap, with swimsuits around £40 a pop. But Batoko isn’t about capturing the masses, it’s about building loyal clients from the few.
Now offering wholesale, Batoko ensures its Instagram page is a “community hub”. “Our feed is essentially a showcase of you guys, our customers and friends,” it says.
“There are no models or faux set-ups, just real life people doing awesome real life things all connected by a fun little swimsuit and a huge lust for life outdoors”.
Watch: Guest editor Belinda Earl on M&S and LFW
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The disruptors: Who will be the next Boohoo or Missguided?