Women’s young fashion brand Lipsy has handed over the operation of all its UK independent wholesale accounts to distributor Blu Stocking in a move that Lipsy claims will improve service for smaller stockists.
Manchester-based Blu Stocking, which specialises in the wholesale distribution of womenswear, has been appointed to handle all buying and distribution for Lipsy’s indie accounts, of which it has about 200. The company, which already handled the brand’s northern accounts, now works with indie accounts that previously worked directly with Lipsy’s London head office on Berners Street.
Indies can still buy short-order product from Blu Stocking and stockists will be invited to preview days every six weeks at Blu Stocking’s Dale Street showroom in Manchester, and at Lipsy’s London head office, where they can place orders. Orders can also be placed by email.
Blu Stocking, which is best known as the former northern distributor for French womenswear brand Morgan, will buy additional Lipsy stock for repeat orders but showroom manager Sarah Dye said it was not under obligation from Lipsy to buy a minimum level of stock.
Jeremy Stakol, founder and chief executive of Lipsy, said the brand had decided to consolidate business so it could service indies more effectively and denied it was part of a directive from Next. “It is difficult to look after so many small businesses, but Blu Stocking does a great job vetting indies and monitoring changes in the local markets,” he said.
Stakol also denied that the change signalled a move away from the brand’s focus on smaller, independent retailers.
Lipsy, which was launched in 2002 by Stakol and his wife Marcelle with a focus on being a short-order brand, was sold to Next for £17.3m in October 2008. It has 23 standalone stores in the UK and a transactional website.