One name doing the rounds at next week’s Brand Licensing Europe is Brands In, a streamline company of four specialists looking to shake up the fast fashion space with the promise of lightning fast route to retail for its partners.
By name alone, this is an outfit with a big agenda, and Licensing.biz is reliably informed by none other than the company’s managing director, Rick Lowe, that even on the selection process of the outfit’s moniker, the ‘In’ of Brands In is representative of its “speed and culture to get things done.”
The manner in which Lowe talks about the company’s ambitions for the licensing and fast fashion space, you could easily thing you’re talking to Mr 5G in a room full of carrier pigeons. But, with current capabilities standing at 200,000 screen prints per week on cut and sew garments, you can understand the note of surety about them.
“Essentially if we get an order on Monday, we can ship on Friday – fully processed to go in store,” states Lowe. “Our DTG set up can flex up to 5000 prints per day. We hold a vast range of different blank garments in stock, ready to go to print.”
When Lowe and the Brand In outfit, consisting of Sue Stanley (licensing director), Jason Thomas (sales executive), and Will Durzu (business development) talk about fast-fashion, this is how fast ‘fast’ really is. It’s pretty fast.
“Speed and design,” responds Rowe to the question of what it is exactly that sets Brands In apart from the many others operating in this same market of fast fashion. “We focus on leveraging our vertical production operation – screen print as well as DTG with our growing commercial design resource to offer retailers unrivalled speed to market on licensed fast fashion.”
While a relatively new name among the trade, Brands In already has long-term relationships in place with both Disney and Warner Bros, offering all of the studios’ franchises across all apparel categories, including personalisation – a project the team is currently working on.
“Additionally, we have strong partnerships with most of the music merchandising companies across a wealth of their artists, which is something many people may not be aware of as we have been somewhat under the radar on this side of the business,” adds Lowe.
And most recently, tapping into modern movements amid licensing, the unit has approached licensors across various sectors such as gaming and retro brands, as more and more these sectors find increasing relevance to the fashion market.
On top of this, Brands In has built what it calls strong relationships with a number of fashion retailers, including New Look, who over the past year “has returned to licensed product in a big way,” signalling ‘huge successes’ in a number of Brands In’s licenses. The company also works closely with a variety of online retailers, tapping into new routes to market.
“They have found our ability to drop ship directly to the consumer a real asset to their business,” explains Lowe.
“I believe retailers require flexibility to trial newness regularly supported by a partner that can help them maximise on winning designs by supplying quickly. Brands In offers this.”
The past two years have seen all manner of issues arise and the retail landscape has certainly taken somewhat of a knock. In fact, it’s no secret that the space has suffered some pretty brutal blows, while the market has only continued to get harder. But, for some reason, Brands In is thriving.
“We are definitely in an up period at Brands In,” beams Lowe. “As the market has got harder and retail has suffered, only those businesses that can adapt and play to their strengths will survive. Brands In has experienced its biggest growth in the last two years – probably the most difficult trading times in retail in recent times.
“We believe we have a very strong foundation to fuel continued growth. We are well positioned with a vertical operation, the biggest IP and a trusting relationship with retailers where we have a reputation for delivering. The whole team at Brands In is committed to working closer with our license and retail partners to offer them a point of difference in the market.”
In fact, Lowe is even talking about international expansion.
“Europe is a territory we are steadily growing in and with our DTG production we are experiencing an explosion of drop shipping direct to consumers worldwide. Retailers are turning away from stock risk and working with us to give them the flexibility. This is just the beginning.”