Meeting commercial strategist, consultant and writer Ceci Guicciardi was the saving grace in a terrible evening (it featured interpretive dance) in Florence last year. Perched on flower tubs in a candle lit courtyard, we talked about how she used her work in luxury brand strategy, commercial development and intellectual property protection as a means to drive growth and future-proof emerging fashion brands.I think her point of view is fascinating, and asked her if she would like to contribute a post to LLG to highlight her new endeavour Brand & Commercial.
You can find Ceci on Twitter at @ceci_guicciardi or during the month of August, on a certain sunny Greek island...
Over to you Ceci:
With my work I focus on the commercial side of fashion – specifically, on the challenges and opportunities that emerging brand owners face in growing their business. Often, the wholesale channel is the step a brand takes in developing its commercial presence and this typically presents two main challenges: first, brand owners must quickly grasp the international retail landscape and second, they must understand the strategic positioning implications that their wholesale distribution choices will have.
Brand & Commercial is an online strategy publication that I launched with the aim of opening up the conversation within the commercial space. Since launching in the Spring, we’ve welcomed a growing number of specialist industry contributors, whose expertise ranges from wholesale, retail, legal, investment and funding – and more.
After speaking to many young designers, we started thinking laterally about wholesale distribution and this resulted in Retailer Spotlight, a Pinterest board we’ve made to showcase a selection of the best independent multi-brand boutiques and department stores internationally.
Of course, emerging brands working out their commercial strategy could do do something similar. There are a number of strategic benefits, both internal and external, to creating a visual stockist list on Pinterest. Firstly, it’s a great internal tool as not everyone within the company might be familiar with all the stores the company wholesales to or wishes to target.
It also reinforces brand positioning, by communicating a selective distribution strategy to both trade and end-customers. For current stockists, it’s a nice show of support, reflecting a brands’ desire to view their retailers them as long-term commercial partners and driving business to their door. Meanwhile, it also helps brands stand out in the eyes of potential stockist, showing they have taken time to do their homework and get to know their business.
Plus, let’s face it – Pinterest is fun!
Some stores that made it into our board lately and are definitely worth checking out include Work In Progress an adorable boutique in Monaco packed to the hilts with Rick Owens, Nicholas Kirkwood, Proenza Schouler and Christopher Kane, Avenue 32 a relatively new player on the online scene that is differentiating itself by offering a selection brands off the beaten track like Paper London, Felder Felder, Ca&Lou, Ohne Title and Luisa an Athens must, whose Mykonos outpost is the ultimate glam life-saver in the event of lost luggage, jam-packed with Missoni and Etro swimwear, K Jacques sandals and St Barths tanning oils!