Price Wars: Mulberry Down, Coach Up.

Mulberry V's Coach

Two luxury brands with very similar identities, totally at odds on strategy, so which one has the right idea?

Mulberry announced earlier this month that following other luxury brands by rapidly  increasing prices as the brands popularity grew, has left them out in the cold with the British customer. While the Eastern European market in still buoyant in the luxury sector, it seems the loyal British customer has been priced out of the market- ironic as it was in the UK where Mulberry (carried by Sienna Miller, Kate Moss & Keira Knightley) initially found fame. A large proportion of customers sought out Mulberry for the unrivalled craftsmanship, quality and timeless design present in each handbag. Being on-trend was less important than owning a bag that works with everything in your wardrobe and doesn’t buckle at the first sign of wear. The product remained ‘right’ but the price was ‘wrong’. Acknowledging the error of judgement, Mulberry will be introducing a more affordable range (£495-£700) in June.

Mulberry Alexa

(Alexa Pickle Green tote £1,100)

On the other side of the pond Coach is also experiencing a downturn in profit. In a bid to step outside the shadow of its competitors, Coach plans to raise prices. Maybe the fact the luxury market is over-crowded isn’t a problem that can be easily solved by changing your competitor. Looking at why your competitors are succeeding would surely be a better solution? A brief look at Kate Spade’s fearless approach to design and quirky styling quickly provides the answer to why this brand is growing so swiftly. Michael Kors isn’t quite so radical in design but boy this brand has embraced social media in BIG way.

Hopefully Coach has studied the mistakes Mulberry made and has a fool-proof plan to convince loyal customers that the extra cost of owning one of their lovely handbags is truly worth it.

Vestiaire Collective- Second Chance Saloon

Vestiaire

A second chance to own the ‘one that got away’ or a posh eBay?

Remember the ‘one that got away’? I bet you do- the beautiful shoes fit for Cinderella, permanently on hold until payday or the Mulberry bag nestled under your style crushes arm that completely sold out? In my case a pair of Isabel Marant Soono boots which would have pretty much bankrupted me back in 2009. The chunky gold chain and black suede beauties are etched on my mind but I had begrudgingly excepted that they would never be mine.

Isabel Marant boots

From time to time a pair would appear on eBay at twice the RRP but I’m always nervous of spending anything more than loose change on eBay. So many fake designer products flood the market each year, I honestly wouldn’t be confident splashing out hundreds of pounds on a product I couldn’t unequivocally verify.

I confess to regularly searching Shopstyle for the next edition to my bulging boot collection and to my surprise a pair of Isabel Marant Soono boots appeared for sale on Vestiaire Collective. I couldn’t resist taking a look. Vestiaire Collective acts as the middle man between the seller and buyer, guaranteeing quality, good service and authenticity. Taking all the risk out of buying second-hand products online. I joined and promptly placed a reasonable bid on the boots of my dreams but then nothing. So I upped my offer and again heard nothing, after a few days I re-visited Vestiaire Collective to check on the boots but they had totally disappeared- gone! For the second time these little lovelies have got away from me. Am I disappointed- yes, would I have appreciated notification that the product had been withdrawn- yes, would I try my lucky again with Vestiaire Collective…… most definitely (I already have my eye on a Mulberry mini Alexa).

*Update: Since publishing this post Anna from Vestiaire contacted me to let me know that my comments had been noted. Vestiaire Collective are looking in to sending notifications out to customers when a product you have placed an offer on has sold. I give full marks to any brand that listens to customer feedback and responds. 10/10 Vestiaire Collective!