Boutiques have a unique place in retail by servicing their areas as a one-stop-shop for a curated range of high-end brands. As online shopping continues to dominate, a number of boutiques are enticing customers in store by developing exclusive ranges.
By mining their wealth of direct customer knowledge, boutique brands are delivering high-quality and sought-after pieces straight to their customer base through their ‘home brands’, which are both designed and delivered in-house.
One New Zealand retailer familiar with creating their own products is Superette. Kicking off NZ Fashion Weekend at the end of August, Superette has garnered a loyal following due to its exclusive ranges of both apparel and homeware.
Despite their extensive offering, Superette brand manager Brianna Kirkham says the Superette team found there were gaps in their stores that were not being filled: “As a multi-brand retailer, we were reliant on what other designers [were] creating”.
They set out to design a line that was specifically tailored to the Superette customer, and filled the gaps in their product lines.
“The Superette range is very much designed with all our stores, customers and staff in mind,” Kirkham says. “We take a lot of feedback from our customers and produce styles that have come from these conversations.”
The resulting product range has been well received by both the Superette team and its customers. The Superette own-brand’s seasonal staples are born from styles or prints that the team are naturally drawn to – including the brand’s distinctive leopard print and popular boyfriend shirts.
“We would never produce a style that we didn’t absolutely love,” Kirkham says.
Superette has been dabbling with its own product lines on-and-off since the store’s inception in 2002, but the line has become a core focus for the team in recent years. In 2018, their offering expanded to include a curated range for children – a venture that has been well received by their wide range of fashion-conscious customers.
Apart from the positive customer response, one advantage of creating their own line is the quick turnaround of the process, compared to purchasing outside brands.
“Our buying team [has] to buy from other brands months and months in advance, so we do have more freedom when producing our own label.
“The two work great together, as we can look at what our buying team has purchased and then work our Superette ranges around this to see what we need, and add in bits and pieces.”
When coming up with new ideas for the Superette label, staff can also quickly channel feedback from customers in store and through social channels, delivering high-demand product in a much quicker turnaround.
“The brand is naturally evolving season after season,” she says. “We are constantly looking for new things to include in the range.” And with a 100,000+ following on Instagram, customer feedback is guaranteed.