Now we are firmly ensconced in the spring 10 selling season we have seen a mixed mood among footwear buyers for spring 10.
While there is definitely some residual hunger for new labels, buyers are often still sticking with reliable and trusted brands – the ones that keep the tills ticking over.
This is good for brands such as CAT Footwear, as we can try innovative things that will satiate buyers’ need for the new but not mean they have to put their money into labels that are unproven for them. For example, we have focused more on our women’s and active ranges for spring 10, the latter of which is our largest growing product area.
From talking to footwear buyers at Moda in Birmingham a fortnight ago, the general feeling was that brands were playing it just as safe as the buyers. Whereas for autumn 09 everyone was talking about Dr Martens’ amazing new product, there was no one brand that stood out as doing anything wildly innovative for spring 10.
While the trend information I had been privy to before the show suggested we’d see loads of bright colour, there was little evidence of that in the end, with product appearing in safer, almost autumnal shades.
Ultimately, brands have to have the end consumer in their sights. If shoppers are willing to spend, we must combine our strong identity with an original twist to continue selling. Collaborations are great for this – for example, Woolrich and Converse have joined forces for autumn 09. The end result of new tie-ups like these is a new product but one which still allows both parties to retain their brand values.
Keep your personality strong in tough times, as that is what will inevitably see you through.
- Adie Callaghan is marketing manager for CAT Footwear