Drapers gives you an exclusive sneak peak of our Close-Up interview with Goat founder and designer Jane Lewis, ahead of the full interview in this weekend’s edition.
How easy was it to establish Goat?
It’s not easy to get a foothold in this industry. I persevered and had some good stockists and started very slowly. Then you have the mountain to climb to find a manufacturer, to find a supplier, to meet the minimums, to comply with payment terms. It’s very difficult I think to come through that initial phase. When I look back on it now I’m kind of astonished. I think I had youth and optimism on my side.
Did you have a turning-point where gaining one key stockist opened other doors?
Over the course of my business I have had some stockists that I’ve been with for nearly the duration of my career, and others that are almost tidal, [that] sort of drift in and drift out. That’s also not a bad thing. But yes sometimes one great account allows you to get in touch with another because it acts as a platform and encourages others.
What is it about Goat that has made it such a successful brand?
Well I think we’ve certainly addressed a niche in the market. We did these very big signature buttons and we had them made to our specification and we did terrific business on it for many years, and it was a very easily identifiable garment. It had a really strong handwriting.
We use wool crepe as our signature fabric, and we do very interesting pallets every season and we have prided ourselves on making a capsule collection that is versatile, that has longevity, that is stylish, that is good value. It’s stocked in multi brand stores, [and] it holds its own amongst sitting alongside really well respected labels. We have a lot of repeat business with really loyal customers.
Why did you decide to launch the Goat Library collection in 2006?
That [decision] was twofold. First of all we wanted to open doors that we hadn’t been able to reach with the higher price point range and we thought that this was a really good vehicle to take our brand to more stockists. Secondly, we also did it because we felt that our handwriting was being copied quite a lot and we thought that it would be a clever thing to do. We could see that there was a demand for it. Even though it’s diffusion - and I don’t really like the word diffusion it’s sort of the sister range - it still had integrity and that’s what we liked. And it’s been incredibly successful for us.
How relevant are trade shows for you?
We do a lot of our business before these shows. I think part of our success has been that we worked as a team very hard to make sure that our collections are ready really early. We deliver early, we’re ready on time. We can’t wait to get an order in and [exhibiting at the shows in] Paris holds up everything else. That’s not realistic and it’s not sound business practice for us. And I think our success at the moment is partly due to the fact that we have been so on it.
It’s important to help your shops sell and it matters when you deliver, [so] that they have a bigger window to sell the stock in. It absolutely matters. So we take those kind of things into account when deciding what shows to exhibit at.
Read the full interview in Drapers September 8 edition.