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.

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When brands rebrand…

H&MH&M announced the new Conscious and Conscious Exclusive Collection will launch on April 10th. The ethos behind the ethical collection is sourcing/using sustainable materials.

No one in their right mind can honestly be comfortable with the concept of ‘fast fashion’ and throw away products, with the vast amount of negative information about mass producing excrushingly low cost products and the impact this type of practice has on our our environment. The far to frequent media coverage of women and children fighting their way out of collapsed factories making cut priced good has only compounded the general concesous that ‘someone, somewhere will be paying for your cheap purchase’.

H&M

I won’t go on about a subject that has been well documented else where but I will point out that a higher RRP doesn’t always equate to ethically sourced, sustainable products.

What I really want to talk about is brands that re-brand and why it isn’t always a good idea. As consumers/customers become familar with a brand they come to expect a certain level of continuity. Repositioning a brand is a risky business, you risk alienating your current customer base who no longer resemble your new target customer. H&M have, in my eyes alway been a fun, trend-led brand, stocking quirky pieces, perfect for testing out fresh looks without worrying about getting it wrong.

Mulberry Alexa

Look at the current fortunes of Mulberry, a brand I adore and much admire for their use of quality materials and heritage techniques. A brand that has shifted from producing beautiful, reasonably priced handbags (around £500-800) to selling items retailing at well over £1000’s. The famous Alexa satchel now commands £1100 plus. As a result, over the last couple of years profits have dropped significantly, despite the brand soaring in popularity. Both creative director Emma Hill and CEO Bruno Guillon have left the brand. It’s a huge shame and reminds me of the old saying ‘if it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it’. We only have to look at the fortune of M&S over the last 20 years to see the effect ignoring your customers can have on your business.

Which leads me to question why a successful business would be intent on change when history has taught us that change isn’t ‘always for the best’.

Fashion News Round Up

Mulberry

Gosh it’s been a rather frantic week, a mixed bag of shockers.

– Kimye finally get their first Vogue cover… and it’s actually very tasteful. Unlike the reaction on social media. Fashionista.com.

– Bruno Guillon steps down as CEO at Mulberry after two years in the role, which saw the retailer lose two thirds of its market value in the same period. BoF.

– Tamara Mellon launches online store. The Fash Pack.

– With a great idea and expert advice, your business could become a reality, thanks to Virgin Start Up. Scarlett London.

– It’s official, tequila is ALWAYS a good plan and the Mexican favourite can help you lose weight too- yes, really!! Handbag.com.

Mulberry, Cara & Me…

Mulberry Cara Delevingne

Mulberry launch the Cara Delevingne collection at London Fashion Week…. oh I wish I’d been there!

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned how wonderful a Cara Delevingne collection would be…. just putting it out into the fashion ether. Turns out Mulberry and I are in sync, perfect fashion harmony- today Mulberry presented the Cara collection. Whippets wondered the stage, as Cara swung elegantly, twizzling around on a wooden swing. The whole extravaganza had a Mulberry, enchanted forest feel with Cara playing a naughty but nice pixie.

Mulberry handbags

The collection designed by Cara works an urban vibe, practical but elegant. The signature Mulberry luxe continues with quality craftsmanship, lush leather and iconic hardware. The collection which features quilting and camouflage, is also functional too. Three styles which can be worn in three ways (backpack, shoulder and clutch) comes in three sizes. Cara has added her own rebellious touches; iron rivets and heart-shaped patches inspired by her own tattoos hide inside, waiting to be discovered. On the base of each bag ‘Made in London’ is embossed, just like the tattoo on Cara’s foot.

So to all those haters who wondered what would become of Mulberry without Emma Hill…. this is your answer.

Saturday Fashion News Catch Up

Mulberry 2014

A match made is fashion heaven… model of the moment Cara Delevingne and Mulberry team up for Spring/Summer 2014. And did I mention Dusty the pony….?!! Mulberry.

Business of Fashion breaks down the best of 2013. BoF.

2014 digital media trend predictions… you heard it here first. Filemobile.

Olivia Palermo and her beau are tying the knot, just imagine the wedding dress! Coco’s Tea Party.

With weather like this, it’s time to invest in a new pair of cosy pyjamas. Who What Wear.

Jaeger spotted on This Morning

This Morning

Casually watching This Morning last week I spotted my latest Jaeger purchase on TV. It’s a weird thing when you spot something you own on TV. It’s a kind of ‘oh that’s a nice dress…. hang on a minute, that’s MY dress!’ type moment.

Jaeger dress

News presenter Rachel Round was wearing a Breton stripe, navy and white knitted dress teamed with chunky heels. Here I’ve styled it with a red quilted bag and Mulberry flats for a cute winter work look. My dress is sold out but Jaeger have a cute navy stripe dress available here.

My Mulberry Fairy Tale…

Mulberry CompetitionAnyone wondering why I am so obsessed with online just needs to take a look at this….

Mulberry is giving one lucky lovely the chance to win a Mulberry bag of their choice…. the stuff of online fairy tales! Part of the bewitching Festive Fairy Tale campaign, all you need to do is name the Christmas story Allen Leech is reading, then select the handbag of your dreams- simple.

Mulberry Festive Fairy Tale

I haven’t had a chance to feature the winter campaign designed by Shona Heath until now. The illustrations are beautiful, snowy woodland scenes to celebrate the brands iconic English heritage. Nestled in the enchanting forest are gifts fit for even the pickiest snow queen. I’ve made my selection…. which one will you choose?

Saturday News Review

Nina Ricci & Laudree

Nina Ricci & Laudree combine their collective deliciousness to create a macaroon and fragrance inspired by each other. Luxury Launches.

All Saints take us downtown to NYC.

Landmark $1.2 million dollar lawsuit involving photo’s removed from Twitter sets a social media president. Mashable.

Mulberry

Mulberry goes all festive, think ruby-red and glimmering gold. Handbag.com.

5 new online retailers to keep your eye on for 2014 Fashionista.com.

Happy hunting…xx

How to wear winter white…

This post is dedicated to all the list making lovelies out there. Peer inside your handbag and if there’s a crumpled to-do list tucked into one of the pockets, it’s a pretty safe bet you’re a list making lovely!

A couple of times a year I try to bring order to the chaos that is my wardrobe. I’ve tried arranging by colour, type and even grouping together items I think would work well together. Fortunately a nifty little app called Cloth is about to go all Cher Horowitz on my wardrobe. Take a snap of your outfit with Cloth and save it with a tag, e.g work, date-night or weekend wear. Instead of checking your wardrobe, just open the app and scroll through your favourite looks. Or you could make it really simple and go for a one colour, winter white wardrobe. Here’s my favourite winter whites this season…
Winter whites

From Top Right… Pearl Necklace, Jaeger, £65, White Glitter Snowflake Bauble, Liberty London, £3.95, True Gift Deluxe, Bare Minerals, £50,  Drina Cardigan, All Saints, £128, Shoes, Charlotte Olympia, £975, Candle, ESPA, £45, Coquette Teddy, Mimi Holiday, £115 and Small Suffolk Bag, Mulberry, £1,350.

The ‘IT’ bag’s back….

Totes Amaze

Dust off your totes and much-loved ‘IT’ bags…. luxe handbags are back in style.

Legions of fashion editors heave a sigh of relief, it’s finally ‘o.k’ to carry serious arm candy again without being accused of being frivolous or out-of-touch with reality. The ‘IT’ bag phenomena turned sour as recession took hold of the UK and filthy rich WAG’s stalked the streets with this seasons ‘must-have’ bag in a different shade for each day of the week. A style statement quickly became the ultimate display of vulgarity in an era of austerity.

Jaeger Bags

The admiring glances I had once received turned into sneers and ‘she’s got more money than sense’ jibes but neither would deter me from carrying a little slice of leather luxury. Instead I view my not so little collection (maybe 10 in total and some were gift) as a testament to my ethos regarding money. It’s pretty simple- buy the best you can afford. I can’t quite figure out when saving has become such a dowdy thing to admit to? Growing up in a family who don’t really ‘do’ credit, you learn to save until you can afford to buy what you want and then treasure the item when it finally becomes yours.

I’m looking forward to carrying my lush totes again but more than that, I can’t wait to see this trend in action and all the lust worthy bags instore.