With cashmere brand Brora celebrating its 20th Birthday this year Drapers chatted to its founder to find out how things have changed in the past two decades and the brand’s plans for the future.
Q: Brora is 20 years old – how are you celebrating?
A: We have plenty of plans for this year. We started by sending all our loyal customers a £20 voucher to spend in store or online on the date of the anniversary. Predictably it was an extremely busy weekend and one customer even brought me some roses in celebration. In April we are celebrating with a very exciting collaboration, a capsule collection by Sophie Dahl.
Q: How have you seen the industry change in the 20 years since the brand launched?
A: I have seen British manufacturing struggle more and more as all retailers move off shore with their manufacturing. At Brora we are passionate about British made and do our best to give equal orders to the remaining tweed mills we work with. Obviously the face of the high street has changed hugely. There is so much more choice for the consumer and the internet is another whole story. Then you have social media marketing, click-and-collect and new ways of selling almost weekly. It is much more complicated today.
Q: Where are you seeing growth coming from at the moment?
A: We have seen growth in our international markets in the past 12 months and are planning to push more heavily into those areas in the next 12 months.
Q: What are going to be your main focusses over the next year or so?
A: Web sales both UK and abroad. It is a much more controllable environment with stock being managed from one location.
Q: How has the online sphere changed your business?
A: Hugely. The flexibility of the web is so great. Adding new lines weekly, removing sold out products, adapting with weather changes, trends. A mail order brochure goes to print four weeks before it is mailed and in the fast moving world that we are in, things change in four weeks. We are also reaching people round the globe and have increased our customer base significantly through web activity.
Q: Why did you decide to team up with Sophie Dahl on the capsule collection?
A: Sophie approached me as a long standing customer and admirer of the brand. I was delighted when we meet as she not only charming and good company but also full of ideas and passion. Having done two successful collaborations with fashion designers I thought it would be interesting to work in a different way, with someone who had been buying Brora for so many years and was therefore the eye of the customer. I love the collection and think our customers will too.