Written by Samuel Ogunjobi
SHAH The Label. Product, identity, lifestyle. SHAH The Label will be the next up-and-coming clothing identity for urban, millennial women. For generations, women continually look to express their identity, personality, and sexuality through their aesthetic. In modern society, women are no longer limited to expectations and appeals. Now, more than ever, clothing is the forefront to a woman’s individuality.
For two all-rounded creatives, social media is the ever-growing medium to capture and inspire. SHAH already have established the foundation of their social media platform, with a public Instagram account and an operating website. This began and will continue to operate through the incorporation of influencer marketing, engaging content, and authentic social activity. Especially through Instagram, engagement is a top priority. This allows SHAH to be more present on social media feeds and measure activity.
With the successful launch of their first collection using black and orange, the brand will expand their colour variations, offering more variety and choice to their clientele. Growth in products will also increase engagement amongst retained and potential customers as it will expand the resources available for online competitions. As the collection grows, and identity expands, will have efforts focused on achieving a successful launch event.
Where is SHAH today. SHAH is currently utilising all engagement that has developed since the marketing campaign has dropped, to not only use as material on social media, but to also use as a basis to reach out to more influencers. The campaign was vital in making sure that the launch of SHAH was a success. Such a success that we have seen sales not just domestically in the United Kingdom but have received orders from other countries in Europe also. With this success, SHAH is looking to build off this hype and make further progress whilst the energy and exclusivity is at its peak. It is important to develop on this because the market waits for no one, competition is fierce and continuous. In this industry, when customers want, or need something, unless they are loyal to a particular brand, they will shop around and potentially shop elsewhere. SHAH has conducted primary research via focus groups to find out what colour palette or design potential customers would like to see SHAH drop next. Building on momentum and working towards keeping their strengths as their pillars.
SHAH’s target market is millennial women aged 18-30, this applies to women regardless of their location. Women have always expressed their feelings and emotions through their clothing, now more than ever. SHAH is aiming for these women because there is rapid demand and growth for brands that are increasing clothing lines in comforting streetwear. Not only do women express themselves through clothing, but they can also be influenced by others with the same/similar fashion sense. Inspiration is growing greater daily; this is the behaviour of the market. Women look to recreate looks using the same style and pieces but will add their own spin on it. SHAH aims to be that brand that women can continually experiment their styles with, whilst also finding comfort in their products also. The trends are all set by perception on Instagram, this is the application to capitalise on. On this app, with research, you can follow the latest trends, and find out the demographics that engage with your brand.
SWOT Analysis of SHAH
- SHAH’s clothing is not just another branding designer looking to follow the footsteps of previous brands, but to change the dynamic and energy put into designs. Most brands either specialize in their designs or in the functionality of their product. SHAH not only have differentiated from others with their front design, but they have also added design to tabs amongst the clothing whilst ensuring that the material used provides utmost comfort for women.
- Before experiencing the exclusive pieces provided by SHAH, the packaging is consistent with the products in expressing a sense of luxury for customers. When a customer receives a SHAH package, before opening, the packaging catches the customer’s eye, showing that time and effort was put into assembling every order instead of having the customer feel like it is just another processed order. Within the package they will encounter a consistent feel of silk and pieces that stand out from traditional clothing.
- One of the great strengths of being an independent online retailer is the absence of brick-and-mortar costs. This allows SHAH to focus their efforts on efficiently operating and marketing online. Instagram, proving and providing the best digital access to potential customers and huge segments of different markets. Two powerful all-rounded creatives, who are skilful and heavily experienced in advertising, have ensured the marketing has been consistent. Allowing SHAH to build a strong online presence.
- With such a great reach to customers online, this has led to a range of international sales. The wonders of shopping online and with the creation of the SHAH website, this allows for potential/repeating customers from anywhere in the world can shop SHAH whether on desktop, or on the go through their mobiles.
- As SHAH is a new and upcoming brand, the collection of products available currently does not give customers a range of products to pick from. This could push some potential customers to competitors or bigger brands as they may not want the exact products up, or it may not be suited to their particular style.
- As a new and upcoming brand, this also means that budgets are very limited to begin with. Online marketing can be cheaper than physical marketing. However, to create a greater reach, to utilise engagement, and to create campaigns to further lines of collections and enhance brand presence, this will take time to build and work towards.
- With being an independent online retailer, it allows consumers to reach brands and marketplaces much easier. However, many have created mobile apps to make that accessibility much easier to navigate. Unfortunately, as SHAH is a start-up brand, this is not available as of yet.
- Greatest asset of the two women behind the brand is their very close affiliation to influencer marketing. Influencer marketing has grown tremendously over the years, especially through Instagram and TikTok. Through this type of marketing, people are more inclined to buy from a company through their favourite influencers endorsing brands. With both having an ever-present position in this market, they know what influencers truly appreciate. Maintaining relationships with a range of influencers is much more profitable than just reaching out and paying.
- Despite the limitation of being a start-up, the authenticity and originality has resonated with many already. Traffic from a recent campaign has seen increasing web traffic and interests from France. This could be an interest worth exploring. Whilst operating in the UK, they could gather data on what styles or trends that are occurring in France and consider tailoring a product or line towards that. This has the potential to have a foothold in the market of France and could lead to greater expansion of the brand’s image.
- Due to relationships and ties to the significant influencer marketing, this has also opened the doors to gaining some traction in the US. Not only does the US have the biggest marketplace for such fashion, but the influence that the US has on many international countries alone would push SHAH on a greater international scale.
- The biggest recurring threat is that the fashion market is highly saturated. The competition within the market is fierce and the barrier for entrants has become significantly low with the ever-growing presence of operating purely online. This makes profits harder to achieve, almost ensuring a constant battle to stay in the market if operations are small.
- The market being saturated also enhanced the large competitors’ ability to dominate further. These large companies have the resources to effectively utilise engagement with their customers. Whether it is bringing out new lines with quick succession, creating and launching big campaigns (domestically and internationally), crunch data at a rapid pace, and many more advantages.
- One growing trend that is becoming harder to prove and can potentially put a company out is the copying of brands/ideas. Larger brands can see a small business create hype and identify a niche to which a growing number of retained customers could be drawn to. This would then lead to the big firms copying the idea but, in a way, to avoid copyright laws, or outright break the law, knowing the business would not have the resources to prove it or fight. This would then bring attention and sales back to the bigger firms.
Developing Competitive Advantages
SHAH’s main competitive advantage right now which is growing in popularity is the fact that it is small but loveable. In other words, right now the customers of SHAH and the influencers that have received gifts from SHAH, have the feeling of exclusivity. In today’s generation, consumers in the fashion realm like to stand out and not follow the common trends. Standing out is the new social norm and this is where SHAH is excelling.
One major benefit of a small business like SHAH is that when a change needs to occur, logistically, SHAH can make this change happen very quickly and at a very minor cost. For example, if a batch order has arrived and the product is wrong, or stitching/printing has not reached the expected standard(s). For any business, this can be frustrating. However, SHAH can get a new batch order through quickly and resume business as normal. A big competitor on the other hand, could then experience a major shortage. Especially if it is a big batch order, this could leave customers waiting or unhappy, leading them to other competitors. Usually being a small business in a very broad industry is hard in itself, but this advantage helps turn their biggest weakness into their one of their best strength.
The lack of funds to allow big spending on marketing can be a struggle in the short-run. The great thing about fashion is as long as the hype for the clothing continues to increase and there is a genuine connection established with customers, they will be excited to see new announcements and additions.
SHAH’s biggest concern that could be a huge liability is if a bigger company were to copy SHAH’s design and packaging. Realistically, SHAH can only protect their name and specific designs regarding the brand identity through Copyright Laws. SHAH cannot copyright how the do their designs on products. So, as momentum grows, there will be more threats as more companies may potentially follow. The best option is to continue to grow influencer marketing and build a loyal customer base to retain customers, but to also show potential customers who are loyal to other brands, if they see their preferred businesses copy, they will know the original and potentially purchase from SHAH instead.
The overall focus of the marketing plan is to grow the brand awareness both domestically and internationally, which will see the fundamentals such as sales and revenue increase also. Being small allows for SHAH to work based of reactions with consistent analysis for every step taken, a trial and error concept. A concept is drawn up, marketed to its followers, depending on their response. With online marketing, it is easier to track how followers engage. If a new concept is released and engagement is down, this is an indication that changes need to be made or possibly a new concept to be created.
Strategically, SHAH’s focuses are based on two products currently. The initial launch was highly successful, it is now about creating as much awareness and hype over these two products before new additions. This allows diversification because where big companies have so many lines and products, they mostly focus on the newest lines. This allows customers to be spoilt for choice which can be good, but there is no clear focus which can sway a customer’s interest in purchasing. With SHAH, all energy, marketing, and funds are based on all available products.
SHAH’s short term goal is to increase the brand exposure in the UK and France, utilising the natural hype around the brand. Currently, have 650 followers on Instagram and have had over 30 orders within 2 months. Within the next 4 months, expected to have obtained at least 1,000 more followers and to have processed over 100 orders either domestically or internationally. Regarding France, within the 4 months, will work towards establishing relationships with French influencers to gain that initial foothold in France.
Long term is global exposure. SHAH has already started email blasts to stylists for celebrities in the US. Gaining the trust and familiarity of celebrities’ stylists will further SHAH’s recognition. SHAH already has an exclusive feel to the brand, especially with the coverage established with influencers. If celebrity coverage were then to increase, not only would sales begin to soar, but the value of the brand’s features will also speak for itself and gain global traction, as the US is the staple piece in fashion globally. Objectively speaking, ending of 2021 will hopefully see SHAH products circulating over 5 countries consistently.
Primary Target Market
SHAH the label. Simple, luxurious, and understated. The clothes and marketing speak for itself. The consumers it resonates with the most, who are the primary targets are millennial women aged 18-30. Millennial meaning that SHAH are targeting not just women in general but want to progress with women of a certain mindset, those that are in tune with themselves whilst embracing the culture, prioritise style, and leading the urban evolvement. These women want to express their sense of being and their style through clothing. With women of today’s age, their wants are simple, when purchasing from retailers, they want to feel valued throughout the whole transaction. From feeling like their thoughts are being heard and targeted through organic marketing, to feeling like they are valued as a customer to the brand through first class customer service when purchasing, as well as after-care etiquette.
Consumer preferences include simplicity, they require instant gratification. A long, complicated buying process does not interest them. Their focus does not tend to last and will disappear quickly as this group is easily distracted. They require ease of access. They want to be able to see an engaging piece of marketing material, purchase in one or two clicks, and receive their parcel with minimal effort. This is what will entice them to come back as a returning customer again and again.
With regards to their buying habits, familiarity is key. This consumer group prefers shopping where they have previously shopped before; more times than not this is online. They like the feeling of being “loyal” to a brand – they enjoy feeing like they are investing their time and money into a brand that continues proving them with new clothing. They want to feel safe and secure when shopping; like they are tapping into something they believe in. With this consumer group, they require gratification in all elements.
- Product Strategy
The name of the brand is a symbol of the fusion established and blossoming between two well-rounded creatives in the influencer and marketing world. This makes marketing the brand and its products that much easier as they have been successful within this industry continuously outside of SHAH. Through experiences in gathering primary data via focus groups, interaction and engagement, SHAH have been able to identify how to package their products to ensure exclusivity to both regular customers and influencers. Before receiving the package, SHAH will send a confirmation email detailing the product(s) that were ordered, with confirmation of shipping time. This creates trust with a customer as they are reassured and have binding information just in case anything was to ever go wrong. Once shipped, they will receive a dispatch email, this shows transparency and thoroughness. When they receive their order, they will find their orders in a custom made branded mailing bag, which will include either the SHAH bodysuit, or SHAH joggers, or both. Also included is a thank you print out inside designed to show appreciation for the order, but also to create further excitement for the product(s) inside. There is also a customised orange tag that matches the brand identity, which is provided for the customer to use at their discretion. These things way seem like standard procedure, but for a small business to have already established such an easy and clean process for customers this early into its establishment speaks for itself. The feature of exclusivity covers many areas, from its differentiation from other smaller brands, to its being SHAH’s core value.
- Pricing Strategy
SHAH’s pricing strategy is to be competitive with competitors, but to also exercise price penetration strategies also. Despite the quality and features that come with purchasing SHAH products, realistically SHAH is a start-up and has to work towards establishing loyal clientele. This is why customer’s connection to the value of SHAH’s product(s) has been a number one priority. Depending on the customers’ preference or current financial status during purchasing from SHAH, if they were to order the full set, this would cost approximately £80 with delivery included. To charge such a price, SHAH ensured that quality was the main physical feature. With this formed, comes high operation costs which means a high amount of supply is important to safeguard profit margins. Currently, the profits made are being reinvested into the brand. With the speed at which SHAH is being recognised and sold, growth has great potential to be steady and allow greater marketing strategies to be formed. Discounts are at this time being tied closely to popular national holidays that consistently sees people within the industry spend a significant amount of money during this period. For example, for small business independence day, or for the well-renowned Black Friday, SHAH offered discounts to show participation with these holidays, as a tool to entice customers that as they are spending their money, to consider and spend with SHAH.
- Distribution/ Supply Chain Strategy
As a start-up, it is important to establish a supply chain that does not funnel money made from sales to be contributed mostly to supply. SHAH source their materials and garments from an external company. From this acquisition, SHAH will then go to another source and have their custom-made labels stitched. Once this process is finished, products are shipped from local mailing stations to customers dependent on which type of shipping rate they decide to pay for. A home address is used currently as the base of the company. All orders are packaged and shipped from this address. As operations grow, SHAH will then work towards solidifying their distribution strategy, before finding ways to declutter and simplify the process. This could mean potentially finding a supplier that can do both whilst still meeting the requirements needed to be consistent on quality.
- Integrated Marketing Communication Strategy
The importance of influencer marketing is consistent from start to finish for the SHAH brand. Not only is this the where the expertise comes from for both individuals in the business, it is also one of, if not the most powerful marketing tool on social media currently. What makes influencer marketing so important and essential is the use of social media, it has become integrated into everyday life. So, instead of trying to pull people aside to market to them, why not market to them through what they already know and are accustomed to? Another great benefit through this strategy is that relationship within this strategy can be more influential than payment. For example, the two models that have been used to kickstart the promotion of SHAH, have a great amount of followers on Instagram, and are usually paid to promote brands on their pages to get their followers to go and engage with brand pages. These models, along with a growing clientele of influencers have agreed to and have publicly endorsed SHAH on their pages, at no charge. The acceptance of gifting these influencers SHAH products highlights the feature of exclusivity that comes with the SHAH brand, which in return converts to sales from followers. This marketing strategy is the most effective for the industry and has the highest success rate. The feeling of exclusivity that is consistently maintained with customers, and to have such a vast experience in the most successful marketing strategy, is the recipe for success with SHAH The Label.
This is just the beginning of SHAH The Label and the success keeps growing. Influencer marketing is and will continue to be the key to successful reaching more customers, so the aim is to create and release more products, give customers a range but to also keep the range limited at the same time. The exclusiveness of the brand is what is maintaining its success with influencers, the longer that can be upheld, the more influencers will want to be apart of the Label. With growing relationships with influencers, means more customers. More customers will not only bring in more revenue, but this could also then give SHAH freedom to start paying major influencers to endorse the brand and achieve its long term goal of global exposure.