Interview: Hannah Stevens, Head of Retail, The Point.1888
‘Our retail first model; working 360 degrees with retailers and licensees‘
At The Point.1888, we pride ourselves on a retail first model. Our founder and MD, Will Stewart, has over 15 years of retail buying experience, buying everything from nappies to KitKats in some of the UK’s biggest retailers, including John Lewis, Kingfisher and Woolworths. With this knowledge and experience, retail is the driving force and backbone behind our company’s rise.
With the UK retail market currently in a time of extensive change, more so than ever, brand licensing programmes need to possess a deep understanding of retailers’ needs and desires to succeed. It will be how brands make a difference, and truly align themselves to the customer trends of this roaring 20s.
But what does our retail first model mean? Put simply, we sign brands we know have a retail home. We know what our retailers are looking for, the trends that are appearing, the brands that are working, and we aim to fill the gaps at retail with innovative, long term sustainable brands.
As the next generation of brand licensing, our team is ahead of the curve in more ways than one: by understanding what products retailers want, and what they are able to market where (and for whom), it becomes much easier to identify the outcome as well as the partnership with a brand.
When presenting a brand at retail, we ensure we have the retail interest, buy in and belief right from the off. Without them, there is no programme. The brand MUST align to their customer, to their direction, and bring them something above and beyond.
In an increasingly digitalised economy, where people swipe right for partners and tap Instagram posts to shop for clothes, consumers want to see products and services that hold meaning. In short, in such a fast pace lifestyle, the only brands that will succeed in this generation are socially conscious, environmentally friendly, and in tune with consumer’s desires. The youngest generation is less focussed on brand name, but more on the brand ethics. They are open to spending more if they know they are buying value. They are far more in tune with sustainability. They want to be involved and are more aware of how they can make a difference. The products we make aren’t just a consumable good; they also have a story that means something.
We aim to give our retail partners unique brands. Brands they can be first to markets on. Brands that their customers will adore. Brands that are for the long term for every customer base. Millennials and Gen Zs through to your Gran shopping for her garden. With the UK’s most loved sports brand through to the Metropolitan Police, our diverse clientbase has it all.
What is then quintessentially important is that we work closely with retailers’ preferred licensees to launch the agreed products to market. More so than ever licensees are being challenged by retailers on margin, and likewise retail buyers are challenged internally on space, brands and supply base. As a result, we have to ensure that we are joining the dots for both the buyers and the licensees.
Making this streamlined is key to the success of the programme. Retail buy in and preferred licensee for each department signed. Gone are the days of buyers being presented a full 50 strong licensee list and having to work around being set up or not. (Although, we are frequently asked by our retailer contacts to recommend some of our wonderful licensees to them- and very often we delightedly see set ups happen!)
We work closely with our licensees and retailers together in a three-way partnership to ensure a smooth process throughout and that the brand looks exceptional instore for launch.
As an brand extension company, we are also here for licensees or retailers who are seeking brands that they want to sign. We recognise the power held by each partner in a brand licensing programme and will work to find the best outcome for all.
In summary, as the industry expert Andrea Yorston told me recently, the fact that we collaborate first and foremost with retail means “it’s possible to find the best partners to interpret the brand’s unique selling proposition”.
This is why our model works.