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Sosandar CEO: Emotional engagement key to sales growth

Julie Lavington, the co-chief executive of womenswear etailer Sosandar, has told Drapers the emotional engagement of customers has driven a spike in its sales.

Sosandar’s revenue soared by 407% to £1.8m in the six months to 30 September 2018. Its gross profit was up 498% to £1m, but it made an underlying EBITDA loss of just under £2m. The company declined to give specific details for the loss but said it related to ”marketing costs, PLC costs and people costs”. 

Lavington, who is co-chief executive alongside Ali Hall, said: “We’ve focused on building a brand so that we’re not just a retailer selling a product but a lifestyle brand in which consumers have an emotional investment.”

The business is using this strategy to drive repeat orders, which were up 615% year on year during the period. 

James Bowling, head of finance, told Drapers: “One of the key things we’ve seen is the emotional engagement that we’ve built with customers causing repeat orders through cheaper channels. This means that our marketing is even more efficient in its approach.”

Marketing has been a key focus for the business in the past six months, as it seeks to acquire new customers. Its customer database has grown by 320%.

“The key areas of marketing for us in building the brand are social media and direct mail,” Lavington explained. “We invest heavily in lifestyle imagery for all our marketing, which prospective customers strongly engage with.”

This year Sosandar replatformed its ecommerce site onto Magento 2, increasing speed at checkout and allowing the etailer to quickly adopt any future ecommerce technologies.

The company will not partake in Black Friday, Lavington said: “We’re trading incredibly well and we’re in a fortunate position that there is not a necessity for us to discount as we’re selling through at full price.”

Sosandar has secured £3m in investment, which will help the two-year-old company to build on this year’s successful results. 

Bowling said: ”With the investment, the growth plans remain the same but it means that as a new business we can explore opportunities that we might not foresee in our planning.” 


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