2019 Retail Trends: Scaling Up with Strategic Partnerships


2019 Retail Trends: Scaling Up with Strategic Partnerships. Hey, guys, it’s Syama Meagher, CEO of Scaling Retail, and these days, we cannot overlook the importance of strategic partnerships for your fashion design business as we look into planning for 2019.

Now, there have been a number of different great branded collaborations this year that it will serve as an amazing archetype for us as we look to see what’s possible in creating retail experiences and ultimately delivering a better customer experience. Whether it’s wholesale to marketing, strategic partnerships are a definite must as we look into planning for independent fashion brands and enterprise businesses alike in 2019 and beyond.

So what’s happened this year? Well, we’ve seen the launch of a partnership between Roberto Cavalli and a retail development company out in Dubai entering into a partnership to open up a new hotel. Now, this is really exciting. We’ve also seen companies in the past like Versace also open up these kinds of strategic hotels as well as companies like Armani and Fendi. So looking at these branded collaborations outside of just having a retail storefront, looking into these homes, looking into other kinds of branded workplaces, this is one big trend that we need to be looking out for, when we start to think about what’s possible for independent fashion brands. Obviously, in the past, we’ve seen companies like Parachute open up a hotel as well, that was certainly a great branded collaboration. But, guys, looking outside of just physical retail for your fashion design business, allows us to really understand what’s the future of brand. That is a big element of strategic partnerships.

Now, the next great example I’d like to shift our attention to has to do with the branded collaboration between Revlon and Refinery29. Now, this is unprecedented. What is so amazing about this branded collaboration is Refinery29 had to be very specific about who they were going to enter into a partnership with. Refinery29 boasts a huge readership. They are really on the cornerstone of that affluent Millennial customer, and what’s amazing about this branded partnership is it’s going to be very integrated. It launched with the debut of Refinery29’s 29 rooms where it has hundreds and thousands of people come through their doors taking photographs, very Insta-bait moments, products being sold exclusively through there, as well as through online on the Revlon website, as well as through some strategic distribution points.

Now, the reason behind this great premise was that both of these brands realized that they were speaking to the same consumer, that the same uplifting inspiring message, they were all for inclusivity, and they had very similar customer demographics, meaning, they noticed a lot of crossover between the brands and the fit for one another. Again, very important that we look at brand fit when crafting the right strategies for your fashion design business.

Now, the last example I’d like to share with you has to do with the collaboration between Ulta Beauty as well as Like To Know It. Now, Like To Know It was strategically just an online marketplace for influencers. Influencers could go on there, they’d have these collaborations with all these different retail companies and independent fashion brands, and Like To Know It would be their affiliate marketing platform. So historically, Like To Know It was really just used for the influencers to be connected through to product to do a rev share. Now, this is not just a collaboration with these influencers, this is a true collaboration with Like To Know It that Ulta Beauty is doing. So again, we’re not just looking at one product, but Ulta Beauty carries a number of products. We’re looking at retailers going into these branded collaborations, not just individual brands.

So guys, as we look into 2019, it becomes very important for us to say to ourselves, “What are the kinds of collaborations that are on point for us? Who are the other brands out there that have a similar voice for us?” For the enterprise companies, I’m highly suggesting that you guys take a look at other types of experiential, you look at other types of adjacent businesses or even other kinds of lifestyle businesses that you can also be branding. Have you ever wondered what it would look like if your brand, let’s say, had its name on an airline or what your brand would look like if somehow, you now opened up co-working spaces or a coffee shop? What are the other kinds of properties and assets that, as a brand, you can establish yourself in, so you’re not just relying on one specific kind of product or experience.

For our growth stage fashion design business customers out there, it’s very important that you start to understand how you can synergize your brand and your brand voice with the right types of partnerships. I’ve seen a lot of independent fashion brands fall flat when it comes to strategic partnerships because they’re just looking for another voice that can help amplify their voice without realizing if it’s the right fit. Now, what is a right fit? The right fit means, “Hey, our brand voices are aligned, we’re speaking to the same customer, right, this is going to be a revolutionary partnership on both ends and hey, we’re not just going to collaborate on, let’s say, a product but we’re going to actually make something, a through-and-through experiential interface.” With the Refinery29 collaboration, they also launched that through a Snapchat partnership as well. So it not only went through their physical spaces, it also went through on the digital side. So growth stage guys, really start to think about how you can be bridging in-store and real-life collaboration as well as how that transfers over into digital.

Now, startups. Obviously, strategic partnerships we know are a huge, huge impetus for great amount of success when you are a startup fashion design business. Having the right partnerships off the ground can really help you amplify your voice and gain market share quickly, but you need to be prepared from an inventory standpoint and also delivering goods. So if you are a startup and you’re looking to launch with partnerships, make sure you have the right infrastructure in place to support those partnerships. Without that, no matter who you talk to and what visibility you get, without the right backend, you won’t fully be able to take advantage of what those partnerships might be able to give you.

All right, guys. Good luck with planning partnerships for 2019. If you need help putting together your strategic marketing plan, identifying key retailers or independent fashion brands as potential partners, and executing on those partnerships, do send us an email at hello@scalingretail.com. We’d love to assist you with 2019 strategies and beyond. Leave a comment below, always would love to hear from you. Have a great day. Bye.

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