The women’s young fashion label has rapidly established itself as a firm favourite with party girls
In the six years since its launch, Motel has captured the purse strings of the fickle 15 to 25-year-old women’s market. Accessible price points are crucial to its appeal, with wholesale prices starting at £8 for T-shirts and peaking at £40 for coats, and its lightning-quick reaction times to trends means the brand offers young women an alternative to the high street at prices they can afford.
“It’s Friday night fashion,” says Motel managing director Pete Giles. “It’s important that we are always onto the next thing. We can get from design to shopfloor in three to four weeks.” However, 70% of Motel’s collection is made up of forward-order product. Five injection ranges keep the collection looking fresh.
Giles previously ran a business buying and selling vintage clothing, which he set up in 1999. As the trend for vintage gathered pace, the market became more competitive, so Giles created a new vintage-inspired venture - Motel. The brand was swiftly adopted by students in towns such as Oxford, Nottingham, Leicester and Bristol, where the brand now has its first company-owned standalone store. Giles says he uses the wholesale arm of the business to inform his retail operation: “We can see what colours are working before we place bigger orders for retail.”
Business is booming, with sales rocketing from £2m to £6m for 2009 compared with 2008. This year sales are running at £9m. With 200 UK stockists, Giles is eyeing international expansion, and hopes that by 2010, 25% of the brand’s business will come from overseas accounts, up from 10% in 2009. It currently has 50 international stockists, with half of those in the US.
Giles says he is exploring new ways in which he can grow the business, and points out that a key element of Motel’s success has been its concession business in 20 Topshop stores. “We went into Topshop four years ago and it’s really taken off in the last two years. It now accounts for one third of our turnover.”
The brand’s autumn 10 and spring 11 collections have impressed stockists. Lisa Pritchard, owner of Liverpool young fashion indie Resurrection, says Motel was in danger of becoming “a victim of its own success”, but while she dropped it for spring 10 she has reordered for autumn.
“We stocked it before it was as popular, but I thought it was beginning to look a bit samey,” she says. “[But] it’s really moved on and there are some fantastic pieces for autumn, such as a strapless printed harem jumpsuit with lattice detail,” she says.
Motel 01527 551817
Sales split between wholesale and retail
Starting wholesale price, rising to £40
Number of UK accounts